Q1. College Crosse: What has impressed you the most about both teams so far in 2016?
A. Paul Carcaterra: I think Denver if you look at what they have back on offense it’s no surprise what they’re able to accomplish in the numbers and varieties of ways they’re getting production. They have headline players Connor Cannizzaro, Tyler Pace, and Zach Miller. It’s the contributions from the freshman that have really stood out to me. There are five freshman headlined by Austin French and Dylan Johnson who are playing starters minutes. The future is bright for Denver.
Notre Dame is essentially playing Notre Dame lacrosse they’ve been strong now—top echelon in defense for the last couple decades and they continue to blank opposition. The thing that’s impressed me the most for Notre Dame this year would be the way that they are playing off their superstars. Sergio and Matt feel like the other players on offense are assuming huge rolls and starting to take the burden off those two superstars.
Q2. CC: No one has scored more than 7 goals on the Irish. However, the Irish have yet to face an offense like the Pioneers this season. What are the keys to the Irish containing Denver's potent offense?
A. PC: Off ball defense is critical—defending the 2 man game from Denver which ultimately allows great spacing and strong angled shots. Notre Dame’s biggest task of the season defensively will be this Sunday not only based on the star power that Denver has, but their movements and patterns offensively are so difficult to defend. Holding Denver under 10 goals is becoming a rarity.
Q3. CC: Denver demonstrated great resiliency in their OT win over UNC and they also took care of the Blue Devils in February. Are they the #1 team in your opinion?
A. PC: I think they are, however with what they have back from their championship team and being the defending National Champions is good enough for me to vote them number one every week of the season this far. But when you look at Denver’s strengths and you look at Notre Dame’s strengths it really is the perfect match-up and really you can flip a coin on who you would favor for that matter. They’ve played 1 goal games 5 of the last 6 times for a reason.
Q4. CC: Notre Dame's Sergio Perkovic has been excellent this year. But I'm really impressed with Mikey Wynne's sophomore season as well. What about the Irish attack makes them so difficult to defend?
A. PC: We have the ultimate ball carrier and dodger in Matt Kavanagh who is a lefty feeding to a right-handed goal scorer in Mikey Wynne, that’s what you want to draw, a lefty dodger feeder into a righty finisher. Those two in their second year playing together have great chemistry and when you add the third attackman Ryder Garnsey into the mix, that is a tough unit to defend not only on the ball, but Kavanagh feeding to those two scorers off the ball.
Q5. CC: What will Denver have to do to beat Notre Dame's ride?
A. PC: Notre Dame’s ride is difficult to plan for because the pressure 10 man comes off in times where you least expect it. The pressure will be a wrinkle throughout the game, not a consistent theme. I would think the best way for Denver to counter the 10 man ride is for quick strikes in the clearing game with goalie Alex Ready consistently looking for streaking middies to get to the offensive zone.
Q6. CC: Do you think these two will make it back to the final four?
A. PC: Next question …..(yes)
Q7. CC: What's your favorite spot to eat in Philly?
A. PC: Off of a strong recommendation from Alex Duckenfield from ESPN I’m going to go with Pat’s over Geno’s.
Thanks so much, Paul!