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No. 3 Notre Dame tops Penn State in battle of Malvern Prep grads

Monday, 1st March 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  

By Mike Camarda
Special to, Posted 3/1/10

SOUTH BEND, IN – Notre Dame senior co-captain Mike Creighton saw some familiar faces when Penn State came to visit Sunday in a men’s Division I lacrosse game.

Creighton, a Malvern Prep graduate, first saw former Friar teammate Matt Mackrides wearing a Nittany Lions uniform. Then he noticed PSU junior defenseman Matt Bernier, another Malvern Prep grad.

After saying his hellos, Creighton went about his business of leading the defense on a team ranked third in the country. Creighton managed two caused turnovers and a groundball to help the Irish defeat the Lions, 12-8, and improve to 2-0.

Mackrides, often matched against Creighton, did score twice for Penn State (0-2) and uncorked 12 shots, but the Lions struggled for offense in the first half and never recovered from a 9-3 deficit.

“I actually got matched up against Mackrides a couple times yesterday which is always fun for bragging rights when we go home,” said Creighton, who is joined at Notre Dame by Malvern Prep grad Tim Bemer, a junior reserve. “Tim and I actually got to catch up with those guys after the game before they headed back to State College.

“PSU is so talented on offense and we were happy to limit their production with how long we spent on defense.”

Coming off a big win at No. 2 Duke in their opener, Creighton and his defense had to work without injured All-American Sam Barnes.

“It’s definitely been a challenge playing these last two games without Barnes,” said Creighton, “When you lose one of the best defenseman (if not the best defenseman) in the country you have to make some changes. The nice thing about how we play defense and how (assistant) coach (Gerry) Byrne has taught us to play is more based around a team defense than any one player in particular.”

Creighton and the other Irish defenders worked as a cohesive unit, making Penn State work for its goals. The Irish defenders communicated well, slid quickly and adjusted to changes in personnel with ease.

“I started yesterday matched up on #26 Dolik, who is a freshman and has done some nice things for PSU already,” said Creighton, “They ended up rotating through a couple of different guys – #26 (Dolik), #25 (Anthony Basciano), and #44 (Will Donley) – towards the end of the game so I ended up playing inside and off ball a lot yesterday.

“PSU has so many good players and athletes on the offensive end that you’re going to end up guarding a couple different guys throughout the game just because of the way they play offense.”

Regardless of his assignment, Creighton played staunch defense and turned back PSU dodgers that tried to attack the goal. Dolik’s lone goal came dodging against an Irish midfielder and Basciano’s goal came on an off-ball play, while Donley went scoreless in the contest.

Creighton credited Irish junior defender Kevin Ridgway, who hounded Mackrides and has filled in admirably for Barnes.

“Kevin Ridgway has stepped up big time against both (Duke’s Ned) Crotty and Mackrides, who are easily two of the best offensive players in the country,” said Creighton.

“PSU is so talented on offense and we were happy to limit their production with how long we spent on defense.”

Creighton was quick to point out that they have a lot of work to do before taking on Loyola next weekend.

“The coaches will go in and break down the film of the game and we’ll watch that as a team early this week,” he said. “I think we need to improve on some small things like our clearing game and winning the ground ball battle every game. Loyola has had two nice wins to start the season and we all know it’s going to be a battle on Saturday like it has been for the past three years.”

NOTES – Grant Krebs (three goals, one assist) and Neal Hicks (three goals) led the Notre Dame attack while Scott Rodgers made 11 saves in goal. Chris Hogan paced PSU with two goals and an assist and freshman goalie Dave Baker (Haverford High) played strong after being inserted in the game last in the first half, making seven saves and yielding just four goals.



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