February 20, 2011

Zach Attack: Brenneman Gives Notre Dame Its Revenge on Duke

by Dennis Bergin | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Notre Dame midfielder Zach Brenneman acknowledges the crowd at EverBank Field after one of his three goals Sunday in the Irish's 12-7 win over Duke.

© Gray Quetti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Notre Dame and Duke men's lacrosse teams are used to playing in big games.

Sunday wasn't any different.

Zach Brenneman scored three goals, while Westy Hopkins, Sean Rogers and Andrew Irving added two goals each to power sixth-ranked Notre Dame to a 12-7 victory over fifth-ranked Duke in the inaugural Moe's Sunshine Classic before 8,152 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

This was a repeat of last year's NCAA championship game in which Duke prevailed 6-5 in overtime. The Irish defeated Duke 11-7 in Durham, N.C., during regular season last year.

"I was pleased with the way we played over the last three periods," said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "I liked the way we finished plays, and our defense and goalie play was great."

After both teams played a scoreless opening period, Duke (1-1) moved out to a 2-0 lead with 7:34 left in the half on goals from Tom Rynn and Josh Offit.

The Irish (1-0) answered with four goals over the next 3:55, keyed by Rogers (two goals) and one each by Max Pfeifer and Irving to gain a 4-2 lead at halftime.

"We found more room to move on offense," said Corrigan. "That opened up our offense."

The Blue Devils cut the lead to 7-5 with 12:57 left in the game on a goal by Zach Howell, but Notre Dame answered right back with two goals each from Brenneman and Hopkins to go up 11-5 with 7:13 left.

"We took advantage of their goalie being in the sunlight," Brenneman said. "We thought we could score on long shots, and it worked to our advantage."

Notre Dame's sophomore goalie John Kemp was stellar in goal, recording seven saves, while seniors Kevin Ridgeway and David Earl led a spirited defensive effort.

"It was a total team effort," said Brenneman, who also added two assists. "We all stepped up big today."

Duke, which won its season-opener 20-6 over MAAC opponent Siena, was led by Justin Turri, who had two goals and an assist, while Josh Offit added a goal and an assist.

Notre Dame outshot Duke 28-20 and held a 13-7 advantage on faceoffs.

The Fighting Irish enjoyed the playing surface at EverBank Field.

"It was nice to play on green grass," Berenneman said. "There isn't much green grass in South Bend right now."

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