March 10, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Saturday's showdown between Notre Dame and Denver at the inaugural Pacific Coast Shootout drew 5,870 fans to LeBard Stadium in Costa Mesa, Calif. While the outcome (a 10-7 setback) wasn't what the Fighting Irish had hoped for, it was another opportunity for the program to help grow the sport.
This was Notre Dame's third regular-season game in Southern California and the first since 2005. Including that trip to Carson in 2005, the Irish have played nine neutral site games in four "non-traditional" lacrosse states - Illinois (3), California (2), Georgia (2) and Texas (2) - in the last 10 seasons. The average attendance at those contests has been close to 5,000.
G.W. Mix, the father of Fighting Irish senior attackman Ryan Mix, organized Saturday's event, which also showcased UC Santa Barbara taking on Loyola Marymount. The UC Santa Barbara squad featured Ryan's younger brother, Casey.
"The atmosphere was incredible," Notre Dame attackman John Scioscia said. "Ryan Mix's dad put together a great environment for a lacrosse game. I think there were around 6,000 fans out here and that's pretty crazy for California. It's been great weather and they've been taking care of us while we've been here; we've had great meals and we're staying in a great hotel. Everything has been great so far, but I'm just upset we couldn't come out with a win to make it that much sweeter."
"This was a terrific event," Fighting Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said. "I'm glad it was a good game for the fans, but it was a disappointing result for us."
With the loss to Denver, Notre Dame slipped a bit in the national polls. The Fighting Irish now are No. 9 in the Lacrosse Magazine rankings and they are 11th according to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA). Notre Dame is 12th in the Warrior media poll.
In the national statistics, Notre Dame boasts the top faceoff unit with a .684 winning percentage. Senior Liam O'Connor has been leading the charge with that group, winning 56 of his 83 attempts (.675) this season. O'Connor, who ranks third nationally in the category, took every attempt on Saturday against Denver and finished 15-of-21.
Notre Dame has the country's second-best man-up offense percentage (.647). The Fighting Irish have scored on 11 of their 17 man-up opportunities this season, including a 3-for-5 effort versus Denver. Freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic has a team-high five man-up goals, while senior attackman John Scioscia has four.
IRISH STAY IN CALIFORNIA WITH AN EYE ON THE CAVALIERS
The Fighting Irish remained in California following Saturday's game as the trip coincided with the University's spring break. The team will take part in various activities, including a trip to the Navy SEAL base in San Diego, before departing for South Bend on Tuesday.
Even though they are in the warmth and sun of the West Coast, the Irish know there is a lot of work that needs to be done before playing host to ACC foe Virginia on Sunday (5 p.m. ET on ESPNU). The Cavaliers peak at No. 5 (Lacrosse Magazine) in this week's polls.
"We have a game on Sunday to get ready for. We'll enjoy being in California for a couple days, but our focus is going to be preparing our team for Sunday against Virginia. That doesn't change no matter where we are," Corrigan said.
"We're going to relax a little bit and enjoy ourselves over spring break, but we're also going to have to put in some really solid work," Scioscia said. "We're going down to the Navy SEALS training center, which should be fun. We should get a good workout down there and focus on getting where we need to be for Virginia."
SCIOSCIA JOINS HAT TRICK CLUB
Senior John Scioscia became the latest Fighting Irish attackman to notch a hat trick this season with his three-goal, one-assist effort against Denver. Sophomore Matt Kavanagh has three hat tricks this season, while junior Conor Doyle has one.
For Scioscia, it was the third time he's netted three or more goals in a game during his career. Last season, he scored six versus Marquette and four against Villanova.
"Even though I got a hat trick, it still was a loss for us," Scioscia said. "I can't be that happy about it. I thought we put together a pretty decent game, I just think if a couple shots fell here or there we could have had them (Denver). We have to work on our sticks and shooting and put some more shots on net."
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