Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
May 25, 2012
Notre Dame lacrosse isn’t just unique to the Final Four, it’s unique to the entire NCAA tournament. When the Irish arrived at Gillette Stadium on Thursday afternoon, they brought a balance unprecedented in college lacrosse this season.
Every program that made the postseason rode scoring specialists there, with at least two players ranked among the nation’s Top 150 in points per game. Except Notre Dame.
Sophomore All-American Jim Marlatt led the Irish (13-2) with 30 points in 15 games, which puts him behind 46 different players in the 16-team tournament. Only nine of those players are still alive heading into Saturday’s semifinal against Loyola (16-1). The Greyhounds have two players with 45 goals or more. The Irish have just one with at least 20.
The Irish believe that unpredictability makes them a difficult matchup this weekend as the program seeks its first national title.
In the regional final against Virginia last weekend Pfeifer posted his first hat trick of the season while midfielder Steve Murphy scored a career-high four points. Murphy entered that game with eight points all season.
“It’s really hard to prepare for teams like that,” said attackman Sean Rogers, who leads the Irish with 21 goals. “A lot of teams want to focus who they want to pull on the first line, the second line, the third line. I think our depth helps us a lot because everyone’s fresh because we have nine midfielders who are out there to contribute and we play five attackmen.
“A lot of teams can get confused because they’re changing their style because of match-ups, but we don’t do that. I think that’s why it helps us.”
Following Rogers in goal scoring is Marlatt (18), Westy Hopkins (16), Ryan Foley (13), Conor Doyle (13) and Pfeifer (11). Foley’s availability for the Final Four remains in question after an apparent head injury suffered against Virginia.
Notre Dame said it doesn’t draw up plays for the hot stick, although the players said they’ll look for who might be entering the zone. For Pfeifer last week that meant getting an early goal and facing the Cavaliers as a Virginia product. For Rogers it comes with an early goal. For some players it’s a long pass or a big check.
Even if the coaching staff doesn’t try to exploit specific matchups with individual players, Notre Dame has found all the scoring it’s needed this season.
“People aren’t sure how to defend us, they aren’t sure who the key guy is, who the trigger guy is,” said head coach Kevin Corrigan. “I hope that’s because there really kind of isn’t one. I think everybody’s involved in creating those opportunities for each other. I think we’re a very hard team to scout right now.
“I think the book is you better defend all of them.”
Notre Dame NEWS