Notre Dame not worried about serving as an example
This year’s Notre Dame team is just the second squad outside of the Eastern
time zone seaboard to advance to the Final Four.
The first one to do that? The Fighting Irish in 2001. The school’s appearance would seem to validate the expansion of the sport.
But when coach Kevin Corrigan was asked about his team being a non-Eastern program to make the national semifinals, he had a humorous answer.
"I guess I’ll feel like we’ve really gotten to the point of people accepting the growth of the game when I no longer get this question," he said with a laugh. "I feel like we’ve been around for a while now, and I feel like the game has expanded incredibly in the 22 years I’ve been out here. I don’t think anybody anticipated what was going to happen over this past 20 years. And so I feel like I’ve been very lucky to be where I am and kind of have a great bird’s-eye view of what’s going on around the country. It’s fantastic for the sport, and we’re excited to be a part of it. But I don’t think it’s at this point a very new phenomenon to say that in college lacrosse, you’ve got people outside of the traditional powers. I think everybody has seen this for a decade or more."
That seems to be a sentiment shared by the players as they spent the week preparing to tangle with No. 7 seed Cornell on Saturday at 4 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Senior midfielder Grant Krebs said Notre Dame has just as much of a chance at capturing the NCAA crown as the other Final Four participants.
"Obviously, we’re not Virginia, Syracuse or Hopkins, but we have the talent," the Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate said. "It’s a dream come true and it’s something that maybe a month ago, we didn’t even think we were going to get into the tournament. But we’re given the opportunity to play, and we just really elevated our game and began playing like we should have been playing all year."
*Corrigan had another pretty funny reply when he was asked what the team learned from enduring a 7-6 record in the regular season. "I don’t think there’s anything you can learn from a loss that you can’t learn from a win," he said. "My opinion of it is, you’re supposed to learn from everything. Every day, you’re supposed to learn – whether that’s in practice or in a game or anything else. So the losses will benefit us because they were another day of competing and another chance to find out more about ourselves. But do I look at it like some great advantage that we have six losses right now? Not particularly."
*On Saturday, Corrigan will come face-to-face with one of his biggest regrets. You see, Ryan Hurley, a native of Eagan, Minn., attended lacrosse camps at Notre Dame and could have been a member of the Fighting Irish. But Corrigan said the coaching staff didn’t pursue aggressively, and Hurley committed to Cornell, where he became only the second player in school history to score 40 goals in three consecutive seasons. "I still kick myself because he’s a kid from Minnesota that we had at our camp here when he was young," Corrigan said. "I’m a big fan of his and the way he’s played and the way he puts himself in position to score goals. They’re unafraid to find him in pretty much any situation." Asked if he had recruited Hurley, Corrigan said, "Yes, but probably not as hard as we should have or as early as we should have."