South Bend, Indiana will be the home of the Detroit Titans first NCAA Men’s D1 Lacrosse tournament appearance agains the number 2 ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
The Titans will travel three hours and over 200 miles to play this game. In the MAAC championship, the blue and red took on Siena in a rematch of the 2011 MAAC Championship game where the Saints went on to win 12-3. It looked as if the game was going to end on the same note when Siena jumped out to a big 8-3 lead. Detroit would not suffice to the same outcome as they climbed their way back to within one heading into the fourth. It took eleven minutes for Alex Maini to notch the game at 11 all. Heading into overtime, Siena won the ensuing face-off, but threw a wild pass that gave the ball to their opponent, who produced a successful clear and a settled offense. Mike Birney ripped a shot past Siena goaltender, Matt Sharp, and lead the Titans to the programs first MAAC Championship and the programs biggest win in it’s five year period of being at the division one level. Titans goalie, AJ Levell, recorded eight saves on the day, letting in 10 goals and helped his team to a 5-9 regular season record.
Levell is a great keeper, but has to strut his stuff against one of the best goalies in Men’s NCAA D1 Lacrosse, John Kemp. AJ likes to crouch low and explode high, which the Saints figured out and tore him apart with high, well aimed shots. Kemp can read a shot before it’s really even released, making him hard to shoot against. Midfielders is where Detroit gets most of it’s scoring from. Birney (30G, 8A) and attackman Alex Maini (23G, 14A) will have to make some magic happen and get help from Scott Drummond (14G, 12A) and Tom Masterson (12G, 10A).
His defense will have to work together to stop a fired up Titan offense that shredded the Siena defense with flurries of goals time and time again. A little pressure defense from the Irish may smug the Detroit offense, a team in its first NCAA tournament, the stage may be too big for the Titans going up an experienced Notre Dame team.
Coach Kevin Corrigan’s team is coming off two big back to back loses [both] to Syracuse that saw the Irish let up 19 goals and only score 7 in two games agains the Orange. After they had been scoring over 10 goals a game the past five games. Having time to watch film and realize their mistakes, Corrigan will have his team battle ready come Saturday.
Biggest threat to the Detroit defense is Irish freshman attacker, Matt Kavanagh, who has 38 points so far this season (25G, 13A). Fellow attackman, Sean Rogers (Senior), has 21 goals and eleven assists this season. Put him and Kavanagh together, one deadly machine. Jim Marlatt and Conor Doyle combine for 50 points and will be key factors when the Irish are on offense and will have to help take pressure off of Rogers and Kavanagh. In their game agains the Orange, the offense pushed themselves into forced situations and couldn’t produce. Will have to settle down and possess the ball. Defensively, Detroit must clog the middle and then double team the ball carrier if/when they see the backside of his jersey.
Ball possession, turnovers, face-offs, defense and goalie play, will be the main points of focus going into this game. Both teams know that the offenses can score, but the team with the best defense and goalie, will come out victorious.