John Heisler | January 21, 2017
It's a long haul from now until May when the University of Notre Dame men's lacrosse team hopes to be making headlines in the NCAA Championships.
How best to make those springtime dreams come true?
Irish coach Kevin Corrigan is trying a new wrinkle.
Corrigan normally schedules a pair of preseason games. This year there are four-beginning Sunday with Notre Dame's outing in Bradenton, Florida, in Team USA's Spring Premiere event and continuing the next three weekends in South Bend against Bellarmine, Air Force and Detroit.
"It's totally by design," said Corrigan Sunday. "We've been a certain kind of team and we need to determine under fire if we're still that kind of team or if we need to make adjustments and what those adjustments are. Those decisions are hard to make practicing against yourselves.
"The last couple of years we came into the spring with an identity we knew and understood. It was easy to work toward that identity. This year it's just not the case. Forming that is hard-that vision of what you want be."
That process began at IMG Academy on a partly cloudy 76-degree day on which the Irish overcame a sluggish start to go toe to toe with Team USA after halftime. Notre Dame actually outscored Team USA 7-6 after the break before the best American players in the country posted a 16-11 triumph in front of 1,867 fans.
"I'm only concerned about the things we can control," Corrigan told his team before the start. "They've got great players and they are going to make a certain number of great plays. Let's just play with great awareness. And no matter what happens it's on to the next play.