Notre Dame Offense Catching Up To Its Defense
Everybody knows Notre Dame knows defense. In recent years, it's hard to argue anyone has defended better, and this year's unit, led by junior goalie John Kemp, has been nothing short of brilliant. But now the Irish, the kings of the low-scoring, tight victory, may have finally broken out with the kind of shooting and scoring its coach and players have felt coming for some time.
Last week's 13-7 first-round smackdown of Yale wasn't surprising on the surface. The Bulldogs were in the tournament for the first time in 20 years, and Notre Dame has become a postseason mainstay with that nasty defensive identity.
The shocker was how flat-out deadly the Irish were with the ball in their sticks.
Notre Dame converted 13 of 23 shots, including stunningly economical, 7-for-11 shooting in the second half. Where in the name of South Bend did that come from? After all, Notre Dame entered the NCAAs as the worst-shooting in the field. It wasn't uncommon for the Irish to shoot under 20 percent at times in 2012. Even after Sunday's explosion, Notre Dame is shooting just 27 percent, has only scored eight extra-man goals, and has put only 58.4 percent of its shots on cage.
"We've run very good offense for most of the year, but you've got to start making more of the good shots you get," said attackman Jim Marlatt, whose five points led the Irish against Yale.
"We've missed our share of good shots. Canning the shots [against Yale] was the big thing," added Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan.
If this is the start of something new for the Irish, it could be bad news for the rest of their opponents in May.