Notre Dame’s habit of living dangerously backfired on the team. After registering back-to-back overtime wins against Penn State and North Carolina, the No. 3 Fighting Irish dropped an 8-7 decision to No. 20 Hofstra last Saturday.
It is Notre Dame’s first loss in four contests, but coach Kevin Corrigan – and perhaps his health – would prefer a few games where the outcome isn’t as tight.
“If you said to me that I could win every game between now and the end of the year and never come close to anybody, I’d take it, but I don’t think that’s the case,” he said Monday morning. “We’re going to take these games and what they are giving us, which is great experience in close games. Our guys having to execute in end-of-game situations under pressure and all that, that’s good stuff for a team to learn. But it’s certainly not our goal to play close games. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
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Renowned for their defense, which entered last weekend ranked 10th in Division I after surrendering 7.7 goals per game, the Fighting Irish has unveiled a more potent offense. The unit has scored 40 goals this season compared to 22 goals in the first four games of last year.
But Corrigan said the offense – which starts two sophomores and one freshman among its top six attackmen and midfielders – is still experiencing growing pains.
“We’ve got the ability to make a lot of plays, but we can’t simply rely on our playmaking,” he said. “We’ve got to play more patiently and selectively and then make plays when they present themselves – as opposed to forcing ourselves into situations to make plays. There’s a fine line there. You don’t want guys being tentative and not being aggressive, but you want them confident to make plays. But you don’t want guys to be so aggressive and so confident in their ability to make plays that they’re not being selective and patient and working for the best opportunity. That’s a typical early-season problem for a team to have, and I think we’re falling into that trap right now. So I think we’ll keep working at it.”
Notre Dame faces No. 8 Denver and No. 6 Ohio State before diving into its Big East schedule, but Corrigan said he expects the players to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to the Pride.
“Our guys are very resilient, but more than that, Monday morning is when we reassess with them where we are and what we did well and what we didn’t do well and what we need to do next, and that doesn’t change,” he said. “I don’t come in screaming at them after a loss or hugging them after a win. We come in and we try to be real clear about what we think we did well and what we didn’t do well and where we need to go from here. The one thing our guys have shown is that they’re going to compete every second of every game. And so I don’t think any of that is going to change. But have we got to get better in some areas? Unquestionably, and I think they knew that, but I think they knew that after some of our wins, too.”