Henry Williams sporting our new look
Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team visited the Air Force Academy this weekend highlighted by a scrimmage against the high-flying Falcons. It was to be the conclusion of fall ball 2013 and the Fighting Irish were shot down by Air Force by the score of 10-9 after five quarters of play.
If you say that the Air Force kids were characteristically spirited then the opposite would be true for Notre Dame. We came out sluggish and looked a step slow the first four quarters of the scrimmage. By my count, we trailed 10-6 after regulation.
Notre Dame came out sporting new look uniforms – clad in white helmets, jerseys and shorts with bright green accents. Socks and shoes in most cases matched the accent. It was a look not previously seen – both the new uniforms and the lackluster play. The new look jerseys, I was told confidentially, may end up at auction for a fundraiser to support a trip after the season. More on that to follow.
Matt Kavanagh scored a pair for the Irish
Give the Air Force kids all the credit. They just came through what had to be a traumatic time with their head coach’s tragic accident two weeks ago. Air Force was a step quicker throughout the game and noticeably more patient and efficient on the offensive end. Good for them.
Here are my notes. At the opening face off we had Ossello taking the face, Kelly in goal, Kavanagh, Doyle and Runyon at attack, Buglione, O’Hara and Landis on defense. Marlatt, Perkovic and Corrigan at midfield, Ryan Smith was on a wing for the opening face. Yes I know that is 11 but work with me here.
The first quarter was to end 2-0 Air Force. AF won the opening face off and scored at 14:11 to make it 1-0. They scored their second at 7:34 on a pretty fast break goal. The Air Force Academy, by the way, is nestled in the shadows of Pike’s Peak and is gorgeous.
The third period wasn’t much better. AF scored the first two goals to make it 8-2 before Jim Marlatt scored off of a deflected pass on man up at 4:31. Matt Kavanagh scored again at 2:16 to make it 8-4 and the third period was to end that way. Editorially, I noted that ND was played a better brand of lacrosse by the middle of the third and had several chances to close the gap, none better than a Johnny Sciosica point-blank shot late in the period.
Notre Dame was to continue that trend early in the 4th period and closed the gap to 8-6 with goals from Sergio Perkovic and Scioscia. Air Force however answered those goals with two of their own and the first 4 quarters ended with a 10-6 AF lead.
On a positive note, we “owned” the 5th quarter of play. Marini had a pair of goals and Lubo added another and that quarter ended 3-0 ND. By my count, the final score was 10-9 Air Force.
Steven O’Hara takes the “Leap of Faith”
As always, the coaching staff had arranged for a complete travel experience which included a game of box lacrosse, and visit to a local children’s hospital and several trips to the academy for some military training and conditioning. Oh yes, and the Notre Dame v Air Force football game which featured a decidedly different result than our lax matchup.
The Notre Dame parent group arrived throughout Thursday and Friday. Most of us wandered around the palatial Air Force campus for 15 or 20 minutes before finding the lacrosse field and our tailgate. The Healy’s barely avoided an international incident after approaching the AFA through the wrong gate. “Make a U-turn or things could go very badly for you”.
Yes we’ve got our work cut out for us with this freshman group.
We had a nice turnout of parents and had our typical pre-game gathering. Air Force, it should be noted, inspects the contents of the trunk of your car prior to admittance which was a tad embarrassing for your blogger. Thankfully I was waved through in spite of enough bloody mary mix to serve the Academy. Post-game we were to meet up with the boys and enjoy some BBQ. post-game was understandably subdued – not to mention delayed. But this is fall for everyone I guess.
Birthday Boy Jack Near, dad and mates
Jack Near turned 21 on Saturday and several of us ventured out to a local Mexican joint to celebrate. We brought down the house with our rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
And that brings the 2013 fall ball campaign to a close.
Next up will be the 2014 schedule and our parent planning. We’ve got a couple of games already on the calendar – Penn State at ND on Saturday, February 22nd according to the PSU web site and ND at North Carolina on March 1st according to the UNC web site. There will be more on this shortly. Can’t wait. Go Irish.