May 26, 2012
Notre Dame Quotes
THE MODERATOR: Welcome. Starting off Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. Next to him, Sean Rogers, and on the far end, John Kemp. If we could have an opening statement from the head coach and then questions from the audience for the student athletes.
COACH CORRIGAN: I want to congratulate Loyola. They played well, and I thought they made enough plays and made more plays than we did and deserved to win. I didn’t think we played very well. There was no quit in our guys, but we just didn’t play well today.
Q. Sean, can you talk about what was happening on offense for you guys? There were times when you were cold. Was it hard to find a rhythm like that?
Sean Rogers: It was. They did a good job on defense today. They really got out and pressed us when we were trying to dodge. We have become accustomed to those runs like that.
I think the biggest problem was we didn’t shoot well. We’ve been playing really good offense thus far through the tournament and our shooting was the main reason for that. Today we didn’t shoot in the right spots.
The goalie played well. He made a couple big saves down the stretch, and I think that’s what really hurt us.
Q. John, could you talk about Lusby and his success in the game, what makes him such a challenging shooter?
John Kemp: He’s shown all year he’s a great scorer. I don’t know how many he ended up with today, but I knew he found the back of the net a few times.
I think they know what they’re good at. They have a couple of good shooters. I don’t know if Sawyer actually scored, but he had a couple of good looks. Obviously, Lusby started off hot. He was their go to guy today, and he got it done.
Q. After some long droughts with no scoring, you were able to score back to back goals twice. What was it they were doing in those long periods that enabled you to score?
COACH CORRIGAN: It was almost inevitable that if we were going to score, we were going to score in spurts because we didn’t possess the ball well. We weren’t patient. We weren’t protective in our shots. I think when you take poor shots, you shoot poorly generally, and I thought we settled most of the day for average attempts at the offensive end.
We just weren’t patient and selective enough. We pride ourselves on working hard and having good possessions, and I don’t think we have a bunch of great scorers. That’s not who we are as a team. But we have a lot of guys who can score when we play good offense.
If we don’t score, it’s not because a guy had a bad day or didn’t shoot the ball. It’s generally because we didn’t play good offense, and I thought that was the result today.
Q. How big was their goal?
COACH CORRIGAN: I don’t think that mattered. Quite honestly, if it had been four three, they would have been kicking themselves in the pants, 5 3, didn’t make a difference. There were still plays to be made in the second half and we needed to make them.
So I don’t think that goal is as big as most people are going to think it was. I think 5 3 was probably more reflective of the play in the game in the first half than four three was.
Q. How do you reflect on that?
COACH CORRIGAN: Yeah, I would have thought, honestly, if we could have had that many possessions coming out of the face off, that that would have translated into us playing smart, patient offense. When you’re getting the ball after every goal, generally that’s a calming thing for everybody, and it relaxes everybody.
We’ve had a lot of games this year where we’ve had people kind of hold the ball on us and stuff like that, so we’ve gotten used to having the other thing happen to us, which is not getting the ball for long periods and being able to keep our poise. I just don’t know that we did a good job of keeping our poise offensively today, even though we were getting the ball on the face off. That’s a little bit of anomaly to me. I’m not sure why that’s true.
Q. Sean, do you think, you as a team, rushed on the offensive end?
Sean Rogers: A little bit. I think we had good opportunities. We didn’t have great ones. As Coach said, I think we settled a little bit, because on a lot of the redodges we had, in the first 30 seconds we’d get a good look, but in a minute you get a great look. In 90 seconds, you’d get a phenomenal look; and I think we tended to settle for the 30 second looks today. I think that’s really what the problem was on offense.
Q. Coach, Lusby and Sawyer were the big guys coming in. What were you trying to do defensively against them? And what did you see from Lusby on such a big day?
COACH CORRIGAN: It’s a little bit the same as the offense. When somebody has five goals, it’s not because we game planned to get them five goals. It’s the same thing defensively. We tried to defend their team. There are a number of things that they do very well.
They’re very dangerous in transition, and part of that is Lusby and Sawyer are such good shooters that in transition. They get a little time and space, and they’re dangerous there. And those guys are really good on the back side.
If you notice their offense, one or the other of those guys is on the back side of the field almost. When they can skip the ball and get those opportunities, those guys are going to get the same time and space they get in transition. Just as John said, they’re really good shooters. Those are tough saves further to make. We hope to limit those numbers with skips and those kinds of things and be able to rush the shot. And we weren’t able to do that as successfully as I want.
But you’re not going to win many games this time of the year with five goals. I think Notre Dame Lacrosse is a testament to that. Since we sit here for the third year in a row without a trophy, we simply have to do a better job at that end of the field as well.
Q. Is the defense that came together there?
Sean Rogers: Yeah, they came out with that fairly quick goal. It was like ten seconds in or something. After that second one, I think we kind of came together and kind of knew offensively we’re having a little bit of trouble, so we needed to clamp down and stop them. We didn’t give up any goals the rest of the game. We were able to get a couple more opportunities late in the game, get a couple takeaways. So we did what we could for the team.
THE MODERATOR: We have Loyola head coach Charley Toomey, Jack Runkel, Eric Lusby, and on the far end, Scott Ratliff. We’ll start off with an opening statement from the head coach.
COACH TOOMEY: What a great day for the Greyhounds. I’m proud of these guys, proud of our institution, proud for our alumni. It’s a special feeling as a coach when you get to coach a group of guys that give you everything every day. We’re having fun out there.
I want to thank the NCAA because this environment is second to none. This is a great weekend for every student athlete that’s involved in it. Win or lose, there are memories that will be cherished forever from all these student athletes.
Want to give a lot of credit to Notre Dame. Obviously they came out with a tremendous game plan today. Didn’t want to let us run. They took us out of what we like to do, and they made it a battle out there for sure. We’re just so fortunate to advance. We’re excited about the opportunity. We’ll go back to work tonight and looking forward to seeing what the outcome of this next game is.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Jack and Charley, during the week Charley said something along the lines of wanting you to be big and play big this week. What were you seeing out there that kind of led to this sort of game? At what point did you realize this was going to be a big day for you?
JACK RUNKEL: I think the first save I made was up top. It kind of got me into a rhythm. My defense was giving me shots to see a very clear line from the shooter. So any goalie, I think, would gobble up those saves; and credit to my defense because they helped me out and let me see the shots I wanted to see.
COACH TOOMEY: I watched the big student athlete I knew we had a goalie that was ready to play today. He was big. He’s as big as he’s ever been in there for us. When there was a break down, Runkel was right there to pick up the pieces.
But more than that, I think the behind the scenes stuff is how much he organizes us as a leader down there. Definitely played his best game as a Greyhound for me.
Q. Can you talk about your game with five goals? Did you know that was going to be it for you guys?
ERIC LUSBY: Going in, we knew Notre Dame had a great defense, so we gave them credit for their game plan and everything. I just was lucky today. I found myself on the receiving end of hard dodges from our middies and Justin Ward and everybody. Notre Dame plays such a help defense that they like to suck down inside.
So that opened up some skip passes. If you get back to the back side quick enough, you’ll have some dodges from in close.
So I guess I was receiving a lot more than usual today. But no, I did not know the last two goals would be the last we’d have today. I thought we’d get a couple more in the third quarter and end of the third. But we came out on top, so we didn’t need anymore.
Q. Scott, what was it like to not have Eric last year, and what’s it like to have him back?
SCOTT RATLIFF: It’s a completely different thing when you can have two guys that can shoot as well as Eric and Mike can on opposite sides of the attack. It completely changes the dynamic for our offense. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Eric. So it’s just head and shoulders better with him out in the field.
Q. Charley, can you talk about the same thing?
COACH TOOMEY: Absolutely. I think not only did we miss Eric’s shot, but we missed his leadership. It’s tough to lead when you’re on the sidelines. Eric endured every practice with the team, though he was in the training room rehabbing, he was in that locker room.
I think as a student athlete, he’d be the first one to tell you it’s tough when you can’t help your teammates. There were opportunities where we probably needed Eric out there; but, again, I don’t think Eric would change a minute of his decision to go back and rehab and to be shut down for the successes that we’re having this year.
Q. Eric, can you talk about outside of how you’re being set up for these scores, what kind of a zone are you in right now in terms of see a spot, hit the spot? It looks really easy from where we’re sitting how you’re finishing the ball.
ERIC LUSBY: I’m playing confident right now. The past few games I’ve had a pretty good shooting percentage. I see net and I shoot for net. I don’t try to pick the corners. When you try to aim in an exact spot, that’s when you start messing with your head. So I try to shoot for net, and when I see an opening, I’ve been putting the ball where I want to, so that paid off.
Q. Eric, how gratifying is it to come from where you were to being in the tournament game, to now being in the championship game and seeing the process work out?
ERIC LUSBY: It’s an unbelievable ride. Definitely couldn’t see the picture playing out this way. But I give credit to all the guys. All the pieces came together this year. Everybody’s matured from the year last year. So I gave credit to the whole team. For myself personally, just coming back from the knee injury has been great. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Q. Were upset last year about not being able to play?
ERIC LUSBY: I’m pretty level headed to begin with. I don’t try to get too high or too low. I just stay the path.
Q. Scott, Notre Dame had been shooting really well in the tournament. What did you guys do and how did you prepare to get them to shoot as poorly as they did today?
SCOTT RATLIFF: What’s so hard to defend about them is they’ve got their first two midfields and their four attack men deep that they can beat you at any given moment. We talked about not just trying to shut down one guy or stop one set. They go to three or four different sets that we’re prepared for, and then just supporting each other.
It’s hot out there. And we have such good D from Josh and Pat, but when we ask so much of them, we have to make sure we’re ready to spot. And play like their defense does. Have your second and third slide, and that’s what we did today.
We gave Jack some looks from the outside and he was just saving everything. That was a big part of it.
Q. Scott, can you talk about the troubles you guys had with the face off backs today?
SCOTT RATLIFF: Yeah, their face off guy was doing a good job. He was winning a lot of clamps, but JP was tying him up for the most part, and making it how we typically like them, 50 50 ground balls. We usually win those battles.
But their wings were hustling and making great plays off the ground. Their face off guy was making great plays off the ground. So you have to give credit to their whole face off community. There is a team effort for them winning that battle. So that is something we need to focus on going into Monday.
Q. Scott, what was it that you guys were doing? You managed to put up a whole Notre Dame score twice in this game. Can you talk about what you were seeing on the field in those long stretches? Obviously with Jack making some saves behind you as well?
SCOTT RATLIFF: They’re a patient offense. It’s really about matching that patience, and not pressing out and giving them an opportunity by making a stupid play. Getting focused, getting ready when they dodge hard down the alleys. Then they’ll shoot and rotate behind and dodge hard again.
So all the way around, all six guys on the field were staying focused. Not getting impatient, trying to put the ball on the ground and letting them come to us and making them shoot the shots we wanted to see. What’s always huge is getting the ball up off the ground. The first time they put it down, you get it up and get it down, and that’s what we were able to do.
Q. Coach, I wanted you to talk about Josh Hawkins and his play today. Seemed like he was all over the field today, both ends of the field.
COACH TOOMEY: Absolutely, we see that everybody day in practice. Josh Hawkins is a ball hawk. When the ball is around Josh, he’s going to try to make a play. He’s just so dog gone athletic between the lines. That was a big goal for us. We had given up two and talked about not giving teams runs. It’s something we try to do is stay in a run. When we score goals, we want to score multiple goals.
I think Notre Dame had scored two goals in a row, and Josh had that opportunity to pick up a tough ground ball. Knowing Josh, he probably looked up at the board to see himself run down the field, and so he saw the clock. But he made an athletic play that, like I said, we see every day in practice. Again, stopped a run.
That’s who he is. That’s who we see every day in practice. That was a big goal for Loyola University.
Q. Did you think about calling timeout there or were you going to let Josh figure it out?
COACH TOOMEY: Not with that kind of time and with this team that likes to run. I wasn’t going to take them out of an opportunity to run. That’s when we’re at our best, we feel like.
Q. Charley, you mentioned earlier just the fact that they kind of took you guys and slowed the pace down a little bit and whatnot. How impressed and happy were you that you were able to win a game that way? I know you won a couple earlier in the season. But to win a couple that way as opposed to how you typically won them this season?
COACH TOOMEY: That shows the character of this locker room right now. They’ll recognize the situation and play to it. Where Scott, I think you hit the nail on the head, we had to stay disciplined defensively. We talked a lot about our approaches this week to the ball. We talked about being organized behind it because we felt like it was going to be one of those types of games.
So whether or not it was on the offensive end or defensive end, I felt like we just did a good job of digging in. Notre Dame wasn’t going to allow it to be a game where we were able to run and have 40 shots. They wanted to make it this type of game.
Again, for credit to the guys, they were able to win a game that probably Notre Dame’s game plan type win.
Q. Were you looking at the short pole matchups? Is it something you saw to take advantage of before going into the game?
COACH TOOMEY: You’re talking about defensively?
COACH TOOMEY: Well, we’re willing to let all of our middies dodge. We’re not a team that’s going to bury the pole on the crease and ask guys to dodge short sticks alone. We’ll dodge the ball and dodge short sticks. We try to get our guys an opportunity to dodge. We’re very comfortable with Chris Layne. We’re very comfortable with Sean O’Sullivan or Davis Butts dodging out there.
It was a game where Notre Dame probably played a few more guys than Loyola did, but our guys kept coming. We’re going to always ask our middies to initiate and not so much one guy in that midfield.
Q. Charley, coming into this season generally, did you feel like you had a group that was capable of making it to the final game of the year? Has this run surprised you as well?
COACH TOOMEY: It may have caught me off guard just a little bit. We felt like we were a 12 to 15 as a coaching staff team. We watched ourselves play in the fall and these guys have embraced the philosophy of playing faster.
We’re very fortunate to have a couple new faces in our locker room, so we knew we were a little more athletic between the lines.
But what you can’t account for in the fall is the team chemistry that develops throughout the season. These guys have the right chemistry. They have the right work ethic, preparation, and so as the season went on, we weren’t surprised. We just kept going week to week with that same work ethic, with that same philosophy that we’re going to take care of each other. So obviously we’re very happy to be here, but we’re not done.
Q. Can you talk about this is the second game in a row where you had a little trouble at the end of the game trying to beat the double and kill the clock. What particular challenge does that present and how do you resolve that on Monday?
COACH TOOMEY: I hope to be in the same position on Monday. The toughest thing to do with Lacrosse is to hold the ball with two minutes to go. We changed it up a little bit and put some short sticks out there so if the ball did hit the ground, we could get back and defend. It’s just so hard to keep it in the box with 6 versus 7 guys while they’re chasing you around.
Our philosophy is if that net is open, we’re not afraid to shoot it. But it wasn’t going to be today. They weren’t going to let us get above the goal. So we’ll go back to work on it and hopefully have a game plan that’s going to allow us to kill a game down there if that’s what it takes on Monday?
Q. I guess this is the first time that Loyola’s had two 50 goal scorers in a season. We haven’t talked about Mike Sawyer in the last two games press conference wise. What is your relationship like with him? And you mentioned how good a shooters you both are. But what works for you offensively having such good shooters and such good goal scorers? ERIC LUSBY: Mike and I are good friends off the field. We get along. Offensively we draw up plays and there are motions that are geared toward getting Mike and I, our hands free. So offensively we have a lot of set plays, but we also have a lot of sets. The sets kind of feed off one another.
So usually they’re taking away one side of the field or the other, and that gives the guy the opportunity to get his hands free. When you can stretch the field, it opens up everything for all the other guys on the offense.