Feb. 6, 2018
By: Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The lacrosse season is upon us as the Irish take the field at Loftus Sports Center at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, against Detroit to open the year. The attack looks to be an area of strength for Notre Dame entering the 2018 campaign.
The Irish feature a nice mix of veterans and newcomers in the attack that have a lot of upside and room for growth throughout the year.
“We have some young, inexperienced guys mixed in with some older, experienced guys,” said Baumer Family Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Kevin Corrigan. “If you look at it that way it is a pretty balanced group. It is hopefully a group that has a large learning curve in front of it that can continue to improve throughout the season.”
Garnsey is coming off a 43-point season that consisted of 20 goals and a career-high 23 assists. The junior took on the role of creator last year and excelled in the role early before being hampered by an injury in the latter stages of the 2017 campaign.
Last season’s third starter was junior Brendan Gleason but Corrigan may move the dynamic playmaker to the midfield.
“Garnsey and Wynne have a lot of experience and we have Brendan Gleason with the chance to contribute there, although we have been using him primarily in the midfield this preseason,” Corrigan said.
After battling to stay healthy in his debut collegiate season, sophomore Brian Willetts will likely see an increased role in the Irish offense. The 6-4, 200-pound attackman has all of the physical tools to have a breakout season if he can stay on the field.
“We have Brian Willetts who has really been hurt a lot of the last two years and hasn’t played a lot of lacrosse the last two years,” said Corrigan. “Freshmen Connor Morin and Wheaton Jackoboice are also guys who are competing for a spot right now.”
The Irish have not completely escaped the injury bug this preseason but all-in-all the team is in good shape for the weekend opener.
“We’ve had a couple of guys in the attack get hurt,” said Corrigan. “Through preseason we have been pretty thin up front but in terms of game-day depth I feel pretty good about where we are right now.”
PLAYER HIGHLIGHT: Mikey Wynne
No player on the 2018 squad has more experience than Wynne, who has started every game (45) during his tenure under the Golden Dome. The attackman is ruthless in front of the goal, as the Sykesville, Maryland, native ranks seventh in program history for career goals scored with 107.
What makes Wynne great is not just his ability as a clinical finisher but also his knowledge of the game and ability to elevate the play of teammates.
“Mikey is a really smart lacrosse player,” said Corrigan. “He knows how to play the game. There is just no substitute for that. I would take IQ over anything any day because guys like that just know how to put themselves into position to make good plays and winning plays.
“It’s not just the goals he scores, its his ability to be in the right place when a guy needs an outlet or his ability to recognize when he should make certain decisions in a riding situation or a ground ball situation. I think Mikey is a very smart lacrosse player and one thing about smart players is they make everyone around them better and Mikey does that.”
Wynne will take on an even bigger leadership role this upcoming season and is already making an immediate impact with his work ethic.
“It’s always good when your best players are your hardest working players and your smartest and most selfless teammates and Mikey is all of those things,” said Corrigan.
NUMBER TO KNOW: 80.4
The Irish return 80.4 percent of its scoring output from the 2017 season, as 127 of the team’s 158 goals scored last season came from players on the 2018 roster. Eighty-two of the goals came from Mikey Wynne (33), Brendan Gleason (25), Ryder Garnsey (20) and Brian Willetts (4), all of whom played in the attack last season.
Stay tuned for season previews on midfield/face-off and defense/goalkeepers later this week.
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The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team pursues excellence on and off the field through the three pillars in which the program is built: Character, Culture & Community. These three foundational values guide the promise of the program, which is to provide its student-athletes with the most compelling and enriching experience in all of college athletics. Through academics, competition, service and travel, the program aims to immerse its players in situations that enhance their student-athlete experience to help them become the people, students and teammates they aspire to be.
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