Irish ‘more than ready’ to prove themselves on national stage
Nate Moller | Friday, February 18, 2022
The Irish men’s lacrosse team comes into 2022 with high expectations after a disappointing 2021 season that saw the team lose to Maryland in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The Irish are currently ranked fourth by Inside Lacrosse, and they will look to prove that ranking over the course of the year against one of the toughest schedules in the country.
When asked about goals he has for his team this season, head coach Kevin Corrigan spoke about how his team’s sole focus is to continue to improve as the season progresses and win as many games as possible.
“Our only goal is to get better everyday and get as close to our potential as we can,” Corrigan said. “I have never really been big in setting goals because the goal is to win every single game.”
Corrigan is pleased with the work his veteran players have put in during the offseason, and he believes this will set his team up well for the upcoming season.
“We have a number of accomplished players who have worked like they never have before,” Corrigan said. “They set their best tone for our guys everyday, and as a result, I think we have had a good, hard-working team that gets about their business everyday and does everything they can to improve everyday.”
While Corrigan acknowledged his team has some well known players, he also mentioned a group of athletes who fly under the radar nationally, but are some of the best players in the country at their position.
“We’ve got some knowns in a guy like [junior attacker] Pat Kavanagh, who had a terrific year last year, but he is not the type of kid to rest on his laurels,” Corrigan said. “But we’ve got some guys that I don’t think have gotten the attention that are as good as anyone in their country at their position. Guys like [graduate student midfielder] Wheaton Jackoboice, [graduate student] Ryan Hallenbeck as a short stick midfielder, [graduate student midfielder] Morrison Mirer, [sophomore midfielder] Eric Dobson and [senior attack and midfielder] Griffin Westlin are playing the best lacrosse of their careers.”
Corrigan mentioned that he is very impressed by the play of graduate student defender Arden Cohen, who has acted as a leader for the team’s defense.
“He is just so good right now. He’s just so solid in every aspect of what he’s doing. He’s leading the defense along with a new graduate transfer in Jason Reynolds,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan also believes junior goalie Liam Entenmann is ready for a breakout season.
“He has elevated his game to a point where he can be as good as anybody in the country, and all our guys have confidence in him,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan is confident his team will be successful if everyone does their assigned job.
“If they do their job, we can be really good if everybody just stays focused on that. Nobody has to be extraordinary or feel the pressure to do something extraordinary,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan hopes his team can put aside last year’s disappointing quarterfinal loss and focus on what lies ahead this season.
“I hope they’re more motivated by a chance of what they can do this year than with anything that happened in previous years. I feel like we have enough to worry about with what is on our plate right now, and the fact is that we have a team that is good enough to win the national championship if we play at the level we are capable of playing at,” Corrigan said.
The Irish have one of the toughest schedules in the country with their ACC conference play and a challenging non-conference schedule. The Irish have games scheduled against No. 3 Georgetown, No. 1 Maryland, No. 2 Virginia, No. 5 North Carolina as well as two games against No. 9 Syracuse and No. 8 Duke apiece.
Corrigan knows that this schedule will prepare his team for the tournament, but he also knows that the Irish will have to win a lot of tough games to even make it there.
“We know that this schedule can prepare us, but we also know that we need to manage this schedule to even be in the tournament,” Corrigan said. “The key for us is not to look ahead of us and not look behind us but to stay focused on exactly what we need to do everyday.”
Corrigan hopes his team can rise up to the moment this season and play well in challenging games.
“I hope that we can be at our best when we need to be,” Corrigan said. “It’s not to put pressure on anybody, but one of the things about being the last team standing is you have to meet the moment.”
The Irish have already played two exhibition games, and Corrigan is pleased with what he has seen so far.
“We learned that we’ve got a lot of different areas that we are good at. I was really happy with our play in the middle of the field, but that will get more challenging. Both offensively and defensively, we did enough to know that we are capable of doing a lot. We weren’t always as consistent in doing that as we would like to be,” Corrigan said. “I was happy with our scrimmages, but with the challenge of our schedule, we will continue to learn about ourselves and refine our sense of ourselves over the course of the year.”
The Irish will open their regular season schedule this Saturday against Detroit Mercy.
Corrigan looks forward to seeing his players come out excited to play and show the work they have put in this preseason.
“I just want them to come out and play,” Corrigan said. “I think our guys can’t wait to get going. We’ve had five weeks of preseason, and we are more than ready to start the year. I just want to see us come out and compete at the level we are capable of competing at.”
Saturday’s game at the Loftus Sports Center will begin at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on ACC Network Extra.