Irish Knocked Flat by Hofstra, 15-5

Irish Knocked Flat by Hofstra, 15-5

Irish Knocked Flat by Hofstra, 15-5

Irish Knocked Flat by Hofstra, 15-5

How do you write about this game? Great Expectations? A mean wind from the Dutchmen's sails blows away the Irish? Club ball redux? Taking nothing away from Hofstra, but the Irish that played today at Moose Krause field in Notre Dame were not the same Irish that played nip and tick with Dirrgl's Greyhounds last week. Notre Dame has had a tough year, coming into this game with a 1-4 record, losing four games by five goals. Hofstra has had a similarly bad year. Losing two games to Cuse and the Hop by a goal apiece and getting pounded by Princeton. Today Notre Dame put on an exhibition of what not to do in playing Division I lacrosse, getting hammered by Hofstra 15-5.

Hofstra and Notre Dame have had an odd rivalry going, with Hofstra owning the Irish for the past three years, winning each of the last three games by a goal. The total goals scored by the two teams in the last eight meetings was Hofstra 69, Notre Dame 70. By looking at the statistics, these teams should have evenly matched up today. No way. Hofstra thoroughly pummeled, pounced on, embarrassed and whatever other verbs you may think of, the Irish. Notre Dame had a bad case of the should ofs.....should of done this, should of done that. The weather in South bend was expected to be bad and the game was initially scheduled to be played indoors, but the sun broke out so the game was moved outdoors. Whatever the reason, the game was played with the bad weather balls that are a bright greenish-yellow. Almost the same yellow as Hofstra yellow, and the Dutchmen honed in on the ball today, contesting every ground ball, riding every man on the face and so on.

Hofstra coach John Danowski was looking to get the Dutchmen to click, " I think that we have been underachieving in the past few games. We have played hard but not really smart." Hofstra did not spend a great deal of time scouting the Irish and preparing for their style of play. Rather, they focused on their own problems according to Danowski, "This week, we had to concentrate on ourselves and the style of play that suits us best. Instead of making two passes and drawing two slides, we have been passing once and drawing only one slide, looking to hit a home run. Our goal today is to score with a lot of singles, not home runs". And score they did, spreading the wealth among six of their players .

The game started off on the wrong foot for the Irish as their faceoff brute, Chad Debolt, tried to jump a second too early and got caught, turning the ball over to the Dutchmen, who moved quickly on the Irish and Scott Dooley, senior attacker took the ball behind the cage and came out, slipping inside of Irish defender Eric Simon, and let off a slow roller at 14:25 that snuck to the right of Irish Goalie Nick Antol, who let 15 shots into the cage today. In the next face-off, Hofstra got called for jumping too early, and many of the faces were marred with procedure penalties.

Nothing was working well today for Notre Dame, who at times looked like an average club team. Their offense was plagued with numerous instances of holding the ball too log, giving the Dutchmen the opportunity to double and triple the Irish, resulting in stripped or dropped balls. Many passes were dropped by Notre Dame on both the offense and defense. Hofstra had 56 ground balls to Notre Dame's 26. This was not the team that had played Loyola very tight last week. The Irish looked sloppy and tentative in their ball handling. Many players stood for passes and failed to come to the ball, and other times, they (mostly the middies) failed to dump the ball off on clears and let Hofstra players ragride them bloody from the back and sides. Notre Dame begins Great Western Lacrosse league play next week at Denver and Air Force and if the Irish want to salvage their season, they must do so by running through the GWLL like they have in years past. The problem is in that in such "years past," Notre Dame has played as if they were having fun playing. That look was gone today. The Irish were hesitant, tentative. Hofstra, on the other hand, were playing as if they were having too much fun. They were riding and ragging on the Irish; their passes were smart and crisp; they ran to the ball, got open and passed off to a teammate having a good look. The Irish have also decreased in the number of shots they have taken, tossing the ball at the net 16 times today to Hofstra's 34.

Hofstra worked often out of a 2-2-2 and 3-2-1 and succeeded in forcing the Notre Dame defense into the hole, and clogging the field of vision for Antol. This permitted a lot of door knocking for Hofstra, and successful knocking at that for at least 6 of Hofstra's 15 goals were from a foot off the crease. In the first quarter, Notre Dame was playing well, stripping the ball when needed, and one such strip was recovered by Travis Wells for the Irish. He bobbled the ball for a second and popped it to Irish freshman attacker Chris Richez, who crossed the midfield line, bobbled the ball, stopped and recovered, drove right, put a spin move on his man, and pushed the ball past Dutchman netminder Jack Alaimo, who moved on Richez, but too slowly at 8:25. DeBolt won the next face-off and took the ball straight to the crease, popped it to the right to Owen Asplundh, who turned and fell sweeping the ball into the net past Alaimo to give the Irish their second and only leading goal. (They wished!). However, Asplundh's foot was in the crease and the goal was disallowed. This took the wind out of the Irish sails. Both teams were patient in their possessions in the first quarter, working it around the cage and probing, but the Irish spent (no, wasted) much time running around the goal without taking a shot. This made the Hofstra longsticks more agressive and they would routinely strip the Irish of the ball. At 3:46, Hofstra senior Tom Kessler went on the attack and notched an unassisted score. Kessler finished with two goals and two assist for four points, as did Dutchmen attacker Steve McTigue. Dooley for Hofstra led all scorers, tallying 3 goals and two assists for a five point performance. DeBolt won the next face with a forward rake, but the Irish dropped the ball and a push gave it back to Hofstra. Adam Hananel brought it across for Hofstra and ran to the point where he wound up to shoot, and Irish middie Steve Clagett nailed his stick with his for a strip. The Irish could not hold onto the ball for long, and Dooley fed Kevin Dougherty up top, who wound up at 1:19 and nailed the left top corner. Antol never saw the ball because he was screened by all the bodies in the hole. In their next possession, McTigue fed middie Bryan Walker at 0:14 near the right of the goal. Walker jumped in the air, pulling Antol one way and he shot over Antol's other shoulder to put Hofstra up 4-1 at the quarter.

Notre Dame won the face off and worked the ball around the net, and again and again. Owen Asplundh was fed and had a good look, but his shot was wide. Devin Ryan took the ball up top and let loose a shot, but Alaimo deflected it. Hofstra recovered it but lost it on a 10-second violation. The Irish lost the ball on their possession and the two teams traded two possessions. At 11:23, Hofstra went up 5-1 on a solo score by junior Jim Femminella from the right side. Antol easily stuffed the next Hofstra shot and brought the ball out past the restraining line and passed to DeBolt, who took it and ran into a three man ride and lost the ball. At 10:05, defender Eric Simon was called for a minute and the first of Hofstra's two extra man opportunities occurred. At 9:43, McTigue passed from behind the net to Kessler, who stutter-stepped to freeze his defender, and curled to the center and shot to ring up the 6th goal of the game for Hofstra. At 8:54, Dan Berger curled around the crease and let loose a low ball past Alaimo to cut the lead to 6-2. Antol was sharp in his passes on the clears, but once caught, many of them were bobbled giving Hofstra an extra-needed second or two to jump the Notre dame player in possession. The word must be out in Division I, that the Irish can be easily ridden at the midfield stripe. Hofstra rarely let a clear or face go unridden. The were riding hard today, even right off the face. Simon registered his second penalty of the game (and the only two for Notre Dame). Twenty seconds into the penalty, Dooley fed McTigue at the same spot where Kessler had scored. 7-2, Hofstra. The Irish were called for 10 seconds on the next possession, but recovered the ball and scored their third goal of the day when Berger fed freshman attacker Dan Strayka. At 0:59, Hofstra went up 8-3 on a solo score from Mike Allain. Notre Dame responded 30 seconds later as John Flandina fed Owen Asplundh from behind the cage to cut the deficit to 8-4 and end the scoring for the half. Asplundh used an ankle-high shot to beat Alaimo. All of Notre Dame's scores had been on low shots in the first half.

Whatever was said by both coaches appeared to have worked, with the Dutchmen Dmen denying the Irish of any scores in the 3rd quarter. Likewise, the Irish D gave up only a single goal in the quarter. The rest of the quarter was a snorer. The first two clears by Notre Dame in the third quarter were marred by consecutive offsides and numerous strips. A push penalty gave Notre Dame its only extra man opportunity of the game, and it went without merit. At 5:39, Dooley scored his second of the game, unassisted, of a strip of the ball from Flandina, leading to a fast break. Both teams and the spectators, estimated at 800, managed to stay awake to see time elapse and the score at 9-4, Hofstra. Notre Dame had made many mistakes in the quarter, from the consecutive offsides on clears to dropped passes. But the four goal deficit was within reach. Sort of. If the Irish could of, would and should of in the fourth quarter, the tally may have been different. Instead, the Dutchmen smelled the demoralized blood of the Irish and kicked their effort into overdrive.

An offsides call against the Irish gave the ball to Hofstra and Kevin Dougherty beat Antol with a solo score to put the Pride up 10-4. At 10:57, they went up 11-4 when Rich Mekeel fed Adam Hananel, who beat Antol with an odd bouncer that went up and over Antol's shoulder. A bad pass put the ball in front of the Irish net, but Antol stuffed it. At 8:24, Mike Allain notched a solo score. At 5:38, Hofstra went ahead 13-4 as Kessler fed from behind the goal to Ryn O'Donnell at the crease who jumped and was plastered with a body check but managed to let loose the ball into the net. At 4:57, Hofstra went up 14-4 with a solo score by Dooley for his third of the day. At 3:54, Kessler fed McTigue, who ran across the crease and launched a low roller that dribbled by Antol to give Hofstra their 15th and last goal of the game. At 0:21, Devin Ryan took the ball up top, took three steps and two cradles and pull the ball high into the opposite corner to end the scoring of the game and the second half drought for the Irish at 15-5

Afterwards, Danowski was pleased, "Today we rode the ball very well, we did a nice job on the ground balls, turned people back and doubled people off the face off, even thought we lost the face. We showed a lot of hustle. And today a lot of the shots dropped, which hasn't been the case." He didn't want to have his two best players lead in scoring. "Our goal is to be unselfish, we want to spread the ball, we want to make one more pass, and when we don't do that, we have to rely on Tom Kessler and some others and if they don't play well, the we won't score a lot of goals. In order for us to be effective everybody has to touch the ball and be a threat."

Hofstra moves to Drexel this week, while Notre Dame travels west to confront the Denver Pioneers and Air Force Falcons. Both games are must wins for the Irish as they are GWLL games. The winner of the GWLL goes to the big dance, and with 5 losses, that is the only way the Irish can hope to come close to last year's performance. They need to go back to fundamentals and lose their tentativeness. Run to the ball and catch the pass, and shoot, shoot, shoot.

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Check your facts
    by (#21207) on 3/24/02 @11:12PM
It's nice to see a story about Hofstra for once, but try to be a little more accurate with your info. Hofstra has not played Syracuse this year.
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And another thang...
    by (#2700) on 3/24/02 @11:38PM
They're Dutchmen no more. In the interests of accuracy, try Hofstra Pride.
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stick a fork in 'em
    by (#5458) on 3/25/02 @11:26PM
ND is done. they graduated all their talent last year. at least now the west is up for grabs.
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about f'in time
    by (#1384) on 3/26/02 @1:17AM
Notre Dame dropped out of the rankings...

And, to those of us with any Pride, Hofstra will always be the Dutchmen...
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They ain't dead yet, well maybe..
    by (#3319) on 3/26/02 @8:34AM
It's hard to opine that ND is done this year. They have been playing hard in close games vs. Penn state, Penn, UVA and Loyola and have lost thos games due mostly to unfamiliarity among their offense. As the incumbent GWLL NCAA rep, all they have to do is go 5-0 or 4-1 in the GWLL, which they have the potential to do, and they go to the big dance again. Only OSU and Denver may present a challenge, but ND looks better than both on paper. But given their performance against Hofstra (only 16 shots!), the Irish team could finally go to graduation this year instead of being on the road. This Saturday's game against Denver will tell us who is right. If the Irish go back to having fun whilst playing, I think its a good bet that they will recover.
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Nicky Polanco is a stud
    by (#10433) on 3/26/02 @3:47PM
Hofstra's Polanco is the defeseman Player of the year in the making. AA last year and he is terrorizing every team all over the field.
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