Remaining undefeated not a top priority for Notre Dame

Notre Dame and Syracuse – the top two teams in The Sun’s latest rankings – are the only two teams left in Division I without a loss.

Ordinarily, that might be something to crow about, but Fighting Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said being undefeated is not something that weighs on his mind.

“We’re just in the middle of it all and fighting day to day to try to stay on top of what we have to do today and what we have to do to be ready for the next one,” he said. “So to be honest with you, it doesn’t feel any different than anybody else at this time of the year. We’re certainly gratified to be undefeated, but you’re so busy trying to prepare for the next one and get your guys ready that it’s not the time to sit back and take a look at what your record is.”

Notre Dame (7-0) has defeated ranked opponents in Duke, Denver, Villanova and Drexel with upcoming showdowns with the Orange and North Carolina. It’s a far cry from 2009 when the team went 15-0 in the regular season despite criticism from observers about a weak schedule.

The Fighting Irish’s success this season would seem to refute doubters who wondered whether last year’s run to the NCAA tournament final was a result of fortunate circumstances. But Corrigan pointed out that the program had gone 13-2 in 2008 and 15-0 in 2009.

“So while last year was clearly a breakthrough in the tournament, I didn’t think it was the first time we had been competing at a pretty high level,” he said. “I’d like to think that for our guys, this is what they expect and this is why they’re coming to Notre Dame, to be a part of competitive teams like this.”

Even more remarkable is that the team has persevered despite a spate of injuries that have shelved senior midfielder Zach Brenneman (ribs), senior defenseman Kevin Ridgway (unspecified) and senior long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving (calf) for various stretches of the season.

“I think this team has shown a lot of resiliency and has done a great job so far of staying focused on the task at hand and worrying about who’s there to help out on that day,” Corrigan said. “No question, that’s a good trait to have in a team, and I think we’ve shown that in spades.”

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