Winner Take All

For the second time in three weeks, Notre Dame will host a battle of top ranked teams when they welcome second-ranked North Carolina to Arlotta Stadium. ESPNU will broadcast Saturday’s 4:00 contest.  ND retained it’s place atop the national rankings with a 14-7 win at home against #15 Marquette.  Carolina moved up to number two after defeating #2 Syracuse in Chapel Hill, 17-15.  The Tar Heels had been ranked #4.  Two weeks ago, the Irish handed then-unbeaten and top-ranked Syracuse their first defeat, 13-12 in overtime at Arlotta.

Matt Landis and goalie Shane Doss lead a defense allowing eight goals per game.

Matt Landis and goalie Shane Doss lead a defense allowing eight goals per game.

Both teams enter Saturday’s match up undefeated in ACC competition, each winning three games. The winner will earn the top seed of The ACC Tournament, being held April 24-26 at PPL Park outside of Philadelphia. The top seed will face #4 seed Duke, who defeated Virginia on Sunday. The loser of Saturday’s ND/UNC game will earn the second seed and face Syracuse in the first game.   We all remember last year, when ND entered the tournament as the #4 seed. Late game heroics against Maryland put the Irish in the final versus Syracuse, where ND won a slugfest, 15-14. The game wasn’t over until Conor Kelly’s save on the doorstep in the final seconds.

Senior Conor Doyle was recently named ACC Offensive Player of the Week.

Senior Conor Doyle was recently named ACC Offensive Player of the Week.

This year’s Carolina team is averaging  16 goals per game, led by one of the nation’s best attack duo of Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey. Quick and tenacious, they’ll pose a unique challenge for  ND’s defense. Sankey became the Tar Heels all-time leading scorer last week against Syracuse. The Tar Heels will also bring their traditional depth of midfield talent, which can score and defend with anyone. Their defense continues to improve, led by goalie Kieran Burke, who was the difference versus Syracuse.

Tewaaraton Nominee Matt Kavanaugh makes others better.

Tewaaraton Nominee Matt Kavanaugh makes others better.

Mikey Wynne put five past UVA's Matt Barrett.

Mikey Wynne put five past UVA’s Matt Barrett.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Irish represent a balanced offense that reflects three attackmen averaging two goals per game, with midfield snipers, who can dodge and bang. Defensively, Notre Dame has held Syracuse, Denver and Virginia three goals or more below their scoring average while shutting out an Ohio State team that defeated Denver a week earlier.  The experts will position this Carolina’s offense versus ND’s defense, but the Irish are scoring more than 13 goals per game. There’s also ND’s Bruise Brothers, Nick Ossello and Sergio Perkovic,  physical  middies who bang, dodge and shoot with the best of them. Jack Near leads a stable of  defensive middies who allow less than eight goals per game, while enabling a lethal transition. Both teams are hovering just north of 50% on face-offs and have enjoyed success on man-up opportunities.  Carolina will travel well, so the Irish nation will be needed.    This will be the last regular season home game for seniors Nick Ossello, Will Corrigan, Kyle Runyon, Henry Williams, Jack Doyle, Ryan Smith, Logan Connolly and Connor McCollough, along with captains Jim Marlatt, Jack Near and Conor Doyle.

Our Senior Parents………….

DSC_5569DSC_5508

DSC_5657DSC_5600

DSC_6961DSC_5579

DSC_5609DSC_6959 (1)

DSC_5680DSC_9632GTwonTailgate4DSC_5509

DSC_5500DSC_5534

Far from done.  See ya Friday……..

 

Trailing on Tuesday

Top-ranked Notre Dame got four goals from senior Conor Doyle and hat tricks from two others en route a 14-7 win over #15 ranked Marquette on Tuesday in South Bend. Doyle’s career-best goals performance followed Saturday’s career best points effort versus Duke, where he registered four assists and three goals. He was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week.  Goalie Shane Doss made seven saves, climbing out of an early two goal deficit.  Doss was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week for his 17 save performance versus Duke.

Senior Conor Doyle scored three goals in the first quarter against Marquette.

The mid week contest posed a challenge for many to attend the  pregame bonding. A dedicated contingent gathered at Brothers to prepare for a chilly, weekday game at Arlotta Staudium.  Former Irish captain Nick Beattie,a three-year starter,  was invited to join the ESPN broadcast crew to provide color.

DSC_5817DSC_5820

IMG_0289DSC_5819 (1)

 

DSC_5821DSC_5701

 

 

 

 

Coming in from his wing position on the game’s opening faceoff, Marquette’s Liam Byrnes  scooped up a ground ball and raced with urgency to goal, firing and scoring with his long pole seven seconds into the game. On a rainy, chilly Tuesday, eyes were opened. Marquette 1, Notre Dame 0. The Irish have trailed their opponents for a total of 11 minutes all season.  The Golden Eagles won the ensuing faceoff, with ND goalie Shane Doss forced to make a save up high on a point blank save. A follow-up shot went wide.  Marquette was in South Bend  to win and improve their #15 ranking, the program’s best.  Turnovers and infractions over the next few minutes by both teams would give Marquette the ball, where junior Blaine Fleming would score at the 8:49 mark to put the visitors up 2-0.  Six minutes into the game, the Irish had registered one shot.

Irish Goalie Shane Doss made critical stops early versus Marquette.

Irish Goalie Shane Doss made critical stops early versus Marquette.

ND’s PJ Finley won the ensuing faceoff but a turnover on offense would lead to a transition opportunity, where Doss would be forced to deflect a shot wide to keep the score at  2-0.   A Marquette turnover gave ND the ball and senior Conor Doyle cashed in. Picking up where he left off from the Duke game, Doyle streaked from behind the net, turned his shoulder and fired high to put the Irish on the board, still trailing 2-1.  Finley would win the faceoff, with the ball ultimately handed back to Doyle coming through the box.  In a mirror play from the previous goal, Doyle dodged left and shot high, far corner to tie the game at two with 6:30 left. The eight minutes the Irish had played behind nearly equalled the time they’ve trailed all year.  They would trail no more.  Minutes later, a crease violation on Marquette was contested, leading to a penalty. The Irish defense began clamping down on the quickness of Marquette’s attack.  Taking the ball up high in the offensive zone, senior midfielder Nick Ossello created space and fired low to the far corner, giving Notre Dame their first lead 3-2 with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter. Ossello’s dodge left caught the defense by surprise, leading to his ninth goal of the year.  Marquette’s next possession was more than two minutes and included five shots, but few were on net. With 21 seconds remaining, the Irish transitioned to offense, where Sergio Perkovic found Doyle twelve yards up the slot. Doyle held the ball while being hacked, then released a shot quickly and scored high, short side with 0:01 remaining.  An early 0-2 start had been replaced with 4-2 lead, despite being outshot for the quarter 11-7. For Doyle, a hat trick – in the first quarter and the second game in a row where he scored three goals.  After nine games, he has 18 goals, 11 assists.

Sophomore PJ Finley gave the Irish the ball, winning 12 of 19 faceoffs.

8 Sophomore PJ Finley gave the Irish the ball, winning 12 of 19 faceoffs.

Thirty-five seconds into the second quarter, midfielder Sergio Perkovic would step into one of his patent high to high lasers with the Irish having a one-man  advantage. Another PJ Finley win on the ensuing face off would put Perkovic galloping to goal with little contention. One dodge brought him to net, where he went high to low, far side for his second goal in 13 seconds. The Irish fight song played as Marquette called time. A 2-0 Marquette lead was now a 6-2 deficit.  Another man up advantage would open the way for Jim Marlatt, who stepped into a pass from Perkovic and with time and room, went top shelf to finish a 7-0 Irish run. The Irish now led 7-2.

Senior Jim Marlatt scored twice against Marquette.

Senior Jim Marlatt scored twice against Marquette.

Tight defense had opened the door for the ND offense, where they were now outshooting Marquette 15-11. Doss would make a couple more saves off shots from the wings. The Warriors got one back when a rebound was shoveled in off a rebound, 7-3.

Finley won another faceoff, but a turnover forced Doss to make a point blank save.  Marquette scored again on an open shot from the wing, beating Doss to bring Marquette within three, 7-4.  Notre Dame would strike back, with Perkovic dodging, forcing a slide and hitting Ossello, who quickly released a shot far post, restoring a four goal lead.  A minute later, Senior attackman Kyle Runyon dodged right and heading to goal, found Jim Marlatt back door on the crease. Marlatt caught and finished from a tough angle, his second of the quarter, and the Irish led 9-4.  Credit Runyon on vision and execution.

Kyle Runyon drives to goal, setting up an Irish score.

 

Marquette got a goal back on a man-up advantage. Again, a side-arm shot from the wing.  Freshman John Travisano took the ensuing faceoff, which the Irish secured. The attack now included Eddy Lubowicki, Kyle Runyon and Doyle. Good ball movement led to a quality shot by junior Cole Riccardi with a minute remaining.  The half would end with the Irish defense denying Marquette and preserving a 9-5 lead. After losing the initial faceoff, Notre Dame had won 13 of the next 15 faceoffs.

Marquette began the second half in possession, looking to score quickly. Credit Nick Koshansky, Garrett Epple, Eddy Glazener and Matt Landis for physical defense. After Shane Doss made a save down low on a wrap around,  the Irish tranisitoned down field, where Nick Ossello faked a shot, dodged and bounced a low shot far side two inches inside the far post.  Ossello’s 11th goal of the year extended the Irish lead 10-5. The middie line of Ben Pridemore, Jim Marlatt and Cole Riccardi just missed minutes later, with two Riccardi shots missing high and wide.  After a Marquette turnover, Sergio Perkovic put the ball in play, quickly transitioning to offense and Matt Kavanagh.  Unselfishly, Kav took one step, created space and fired to the crease, where Mikey Wynne would catch, fake and shoot for an 11-5 Irish lead with 9:01 remaining. Connor McCollough, Brendan Collins, John Sexton, Bobby Collins and Pat Healy were playing tight defense until Blaine Fleming scored cutting in on Doss, to close Marquette within 11-6.  Fleming, a high school teammate of  ND’s Anthony Marini, would score again three minutes later, his third of the game, to get Marquette within 11-7.  The third quarter would end with PJ Finley winning the faceoff and both teams making stops.   The Irish were outshooting Marquette (34-31), largely due to the success at the faceoff X, where Finley and Travisano had won 15 of 20 faceoffs.

Matt Landis and the ND  defense held Marquette to a pair of goals in the second half.

Matt Landis and the ND defense held Marquette to a pair of goals in the second half.

The fourth quarter began with Jack Near transitioning and setting up  Jim Marlatt on a fine offensive run that just missed.  With just over 10 minutes remaining, Eddy Lubowicki spotted Sergio Perkovic creaping into that wing slot he covets. Perkovic caught and fired high to low, finding the five hole of the Marquette goalie for 12-7 lead.  Perkovic’s hat trick was his second in two games. Mikey Wynne would add his second of the game and 23rd of the season, stretching the Irish lead to 13-7 after a nasty face dodge put him alone on goal.   The Irish continued to apply pressure, with the defense continuing to force Marquette into contested shots. Enter Jack Sheridan on defense, with Pierre Byrne and Bobby Gray entered the game at midfield. The fresh legs brought quickness against a tired Marquette team.  With 1:21 remaining, Doyle, Kavanagh, Lubowicki and Perkovic strung passes together, with Kavanagh precisely finding Doyle backside on the crease. Doyle would finish for his fourth goal and a 14-7 lead.  Cue the band, timeout Marquette.  Senior Logan Connolly joined an attack line of Lubowicki and Runyon, with Anthony Marini joining Gray and Byrne at midfield.  Connor Kelly was now in goal. Travisano picked the faceoff clean, with the fresh lineup passing almost uncontested.  Time would expire…………

DSC_5912

 

Notre Dame will rest in preparation for their final Atlantic Coast Conference Game, home on April 18th against #4 North Carolina.  Both teams are undefeated in league play, with the Tarheels scheduled to host Syracuse on Saturday.  North Carolina’s offense averages more than 15 goals a game. Their lone defeat was in the Pacific Shootout in Southern California versus Maryland. The Irish would clinch the ACC Tournament’s top seed and host the 8:00 game with a win.  Video highlights from the Marquette game are available below. Photos for the year on the photo link at the top of the page. My thanks to Liza Near for bearing the weather and Tuesday travel to provide the photos and color of a celebrated win.  Updates and plan for the UNC game to follow next week. Go Irish.

Notre Dame vs Marquette Highlights

 

 

 

 

 

Momentum and Milestones

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notre Dame goalie Shane Doss recorded a personal-high 17 saves while four Irish scorers recorded hat tricks en route to 15-10 defeat of seventh ranked Duke in Durham. Seven different players scored for ND, who snapped Duke’s 21 game home winning streak while improving to 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, 7-1 overall.  The victory was the fifth in the last six regular season games versus Duke and the lacrosse program’s first as the nation’s top ranked team.

Conor Doyle had a milestone day with seven points.

The weekend began with planes, trucks and automobile’s navigating creative routes to Durham. Stories of cancelled flights and traffic snarls were exchanged Friday night at Venable Rotisserie Bistro in Carrboro. The evening ended with Liza Near securing  Durham’s last container of chocolate milk….for the team. Saturday’s pregame tailgate was the season’s warmest and largest.  The Connolly’s staked the location in the stadium parking lot with a spacious motor home, complete with barbecue smoker.  Their efforts, along with those from the Epple and Finley families resulted in a festive spread of crispy chicken, gourmet sandwiches,  sausage, salads and rich assortment of desserts. Special thanks to the Marlatts for coordinating while vacationing  and the McCollough’s for agreeing to “store” the leftovers.

DSC_5656DSC_5648DSC_5681DSC_5686DSC_5687DSC_5685DSC_5657DSC_5671DSC_5670

Saturday’s contest was Notre Dame’s fourth against a top 10 program. The Irish defeated top-ranked Syracuse and seventh-ranked Virginia, while losing at fourth-ranked Denver in overtime. Duke entered the game ranked seventh, coming off a 15-14 loss to second-ranked North Carolina. The Irish used a recipe from those previous games, jumping to an early lead.  Against Syracuse, ND  scored in the first 25 seconds. Against Virginia, ND scored first at the three minute mark. In the loss to Denver, the Pioneers scored first, 90 seconds in.  So when Matt Kavanagh scored 87 seconds into the game versus Duke,  high fives swirled among the Irish faithful on the sunny side of Koskinen Stadium. Kavanagh deposited a cross-crease pass from Conor Doyle, who drew the attention of the defense before threading a perfect pass – one of four assists for Doyle.

Matt Kavanagh got the Irish on the board early.

Matt Kavanagh got the Irish on the board early.

 

Goalie Shane Doss saw his first test with 11:15 remaining, standing tall on a high shot point blank. The Irish would transition via sophomore Bobby Collins, moving the ball to Conor Doyle, who came from behind the net, fired and scored, short side, top shelf for a 2-0 Irish lead.  Doyle came into the game with five goals in his last two contests.  Moments later, Tanner Scott got one back for Duke at the 9:27 mark, reducing ND’s lead to 2-1. The Irish got the ball back on the ensuing faceoff, thanks to PJ Finley’s tenacity.  With the defense watching Sergio Perkovic and Nick Ossello, someone forgot to cover two-time All American Kavanagh.  He took the ball from behind the net, faking high, depositing low for his second of the game and a 3-1 Irish lead with 8:22 remaining.  Seven minutes into the game, Notre Dame had three goals on four shots.   Enter Ben Pridemore, Cole Riccardi and Jim Marlatt.

 

Freshman John Sexton leads the transition after stripping Miles Jones.

Freshman John Sexton leads the transition after stripping Miles Jones.

With four minutes remaining, Doss made his third save up high, immediately spotting and hitting a streaking Jack Near, who fed Mikey Wynne on the door step. Duke goalie  Danny Fowler made the save, but the Blue Devils showed a vulnerability to transition.  Doyle restarted play from behind the next, stopping momentarily, before circling and launching airborne while depositing his second goal of the game.  While Duke was attacking from the midfield, the Irish were leading 4-1 with goals from their attack.  Doss would come up with another save with :037 remaining to preserve a 4-1 Irish lead.  While Duke outshot (13-8), won faceoffs (4/6) and ground balls (7-4), Notre Dame led 4-1. The Irish have outscored their opponents 32-9 in the first quarter this season.

Goalie Shane Doss and defenseman Matt Landis held Duke five goals under their scoring average.

Goalie Shane Doss and defenseman Matt Landis held Duke five goals under their scoring average.

Quarter two began with Duke scooping up a ground ball off the faceoff and sending Justin Guterding in on Shane Doss, where Doss stuffed him up high on a point black shot. It was Duke’s 14th shot. On Duke’s 15th shot, Jack Bruckner snuck in tight for Duke to close the gap to 4-2 ND. But PJ Finley and John Sexton helped secure the faceoff and less than a minute later, Doyle would thread a pass across the crease to a locomotive named Ossello. The senior midfielder wasted no time, catching and pitching high to the far corner for a 5-2 Irish lead.  Doyle had the defense on their heels, playing his best half of the year.  Freshman Mikey Wynne would score his 22nd goal of the season at the 7:34 mark. Wynne showed his ability to shrug a short stick, coming from behind the net and scoring short side. It was ND’s sixth goal on 10 shots.  Just 32 seconds later, Doyle would register a hat trick, shooting high to low  on a feed from Wynne. Duke’s defense had just seen Wynne burn them, so they collapsed on him, creating time and room for Doyle, who unleashed from in close for a 7-2 ND advantage. Duke would strike twice in the final two and half minutes,  seeking to retake the momentum into the lockerroom. Enter Eddy Lubowicki, coming into the game on a time out.  He caught a low pass from Kavanagh and quickly fired high to low in tight for an 8-4 lead with 0:04 remaining.  Time would expire with ND scoring eight goals on 20 shots, while Duke scored four goals on 26 shots.  Notre Dame’s Shane Doss made nine saves, while Duke’s Fowler stopped five. Duke entered the game averaging 14.9 goals per game.

Senior Connor McCollough kept Duke scorers on the perimeter.

Connor McCollough kept Duke scorers on the perimeter.

PJ Finley won a personal best 16 faceoffs against Duke.

PJ Finley won a personal best 16 faceoffs.

The third quarter began with Doss making a save, then quickly launching a pass to his long poles, starting with Eddy Glazener, who crisply moved the ball upfield.  Doyle took control up high, before spotting Mike Wynne down low.  Wynne wasted little time, burying his second goal of the game, 9-4 ND.  Miles Jones would answer for Duke, his 27th of the season, for his only goal of the game. Matt Landis, Garrett Epple, Patrick Healy, John Sexton and Eddy Glazener  were smothering the Duke attack.  Nick Koshansky, Bobby and Brendan Collins, Jack Near and Connor McCullough and  were pushing, prodding and sliding against the Duke’s highly-regarded midfield.  After Jim Marlatt buried a bullet stick side, Duke scored twice to close to within 10-7.  Enter sophomore Ben Pridemore, taking a pass up high from Conor Doyle, stuck a laser high to high, just under the far crossbar, to restore a four goal lead, 11-7. It was Doyle’s fourth assist, seventh point of the game.  The quarter would end with Duke totaling 36 shots, forcing Doss to make 13 saves, his personal best.

Nick Ossello was one of four to score three ver.

Nick Ossello scores one of his three goals.

Mikey Wynne tallied three goals and an assist.

Mikey Wynne tallied three goals and an assist.

Nick Ossello would get the Irish going in the fourth quarter, running down the right side, he continued around the net before turning and shooting low, far side to return the lead to five goals, 12-7.  Some pretty ball movement on man up just a minute later, would finish with Marlatt feeding Kavanagh. The crafty lefty dropped down to side arm delivery with a low line drive goal, pushing ND to their largest lead at 13-7.  It was Kav’s third joining Doyle with a hat trick. Others would follow.  After Duke scored to cut the lead to 13-8, Ossello finished his hat trick on a tough angle shot from the right side.  Duke would add two more goals late in the quarter, the second on a man up to get within 14-10 with 3:27 on a high shot under the crossbar.  With 1:58 remaining,  Duke’s goalie pressed out to help his defense and Mikey Wynne made him pay, scoring his third goal of the game, the fourth Irish player to do so. In all, seven different Irish scored.  Defensively, Doss had just registered his 17th save, a personal milestone.  And after using five different face-off specialists last week versus Syracuse, PJ Finley went solo this week, wining 16/29, with a team high of six ground balls – more personal bests.  See all of the highlights from Durham via the link below.

#1 Irish defeat #7 Duke Highlights

The Irish celebrated Easter while returning to South Bend and preparing for Tuesday’s matchup with Marquette is in South Bend. The 4:00 game will be streamed on ESPN3.  Marquette is having their best year, entering the game ranked #15. The link for that game is below. Many thanks to Liza Near and Rob Kelly for more quality photos.  View these and photos from all of the games via the link at the top of this page. Special thanks to Karl and Pat Stephan, for their generous Easter contribution.

Notre Dame versus Marquette link via espn3

Go Irish!

Go Irish!

 

 

 

 

A Golden Moment

Notre Dame’s Jack Near scored his second goal of the game with 2:54 remaining in the second overtime to deal top-ranked Syracuse their first defeat of the season, 13-12 in South Bend.  Matt Landis led an Irish defense that held the Orange four goals below their average, while nine different players scored for ND.  With the win, the Irish were rewarded with the number one national ranking and sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Jack Near comes from behind the net to score the game winner in double overtime.

ND’s Jack Near storms the net to score the game winner in double overtime

Hot breakfast sandwiches, tropical fruit and margarita’s greeted the Irish faithful assembled in the ACC Room at The Ivy Court. With a noon faceoff,  the parents’ pregame exercise began at 9:30 am. The bustle went idle when ESPN began broadcasting a rare, pregame lacrosse segment live from their Bristol studios. Parents and friends quieted to hear the experts predict the outcome of two of the nation’s premier programs. Many thanks to the Glazener, Collins, Goins and Brosco families for putting the event together. The Marlatt’s and Near’s ensure we’re never short of horseradish, limes, Tito’s and authentic Bloody Mix. Liza Near captured the pregame color. Rob Kelly’s game pix will be shared online.

DSC_5646DSC_5627

DSC_5638DSC_5642DSC_5644DSC_5634

DSC_5645DSC_5632

A crowd of 3,602 streamed into Arlotta Stadium, bundled, but electric. The Orange traveled well, but the hometown support did not disappoint. The boisterous bleachers overflowed, extending along the grassy berm six rows deep. ESPN’s well-advertised showdown portrayed the vaunted offense of Syracuse versus the shutdown defense of Notre Dame. The last time the two teams met, the Irish claimed an ACC Championship in Philadelphia.  Saturday’s duel was mid season’s  #1 vs #2  and a ticket to return to Philly for this year’s conference tournament.

DSC_8487

An epic battle, fought on a glorious day in the shadows of an icon.

Upon the completion of Maria Stingley’s stirring national anthem, the Irish landed the first punch, winning the first face off, contrary to the prediction of the experts.  Just 24 seconds into the game, midfielder Nick Ossello would pick up where he left off versus Ohio State, scooping up a ground ball, dodging right and shooting high to high for a 1-0 Irish lead. The Orange would land a body shot of their own a minute later and we were tied, 1-1.  Staying offensive, Ossello would collect another ground ball, with Conor Doyle threading a pass to freshman Mikey Wynne. Faking high, depositing low, the Irish reclaimed the lead on Wynne’s 20th of the season, 2-1.  A leprechaun began launching apparel.

Freshman Mikey Wynne put the Irish up 2-1 on a feed from Conor Doyle.

Freshman Mikey Wynne put the Irish up 2-1 on a feed from Conor Doyle.

Syracuse’ Dylan Donahue would tie the score with just under eight minutes remaining, and expectations of a shootout began circulating.  Four minutes of stops and turnovers would give way to Will Corrigan’s pump fake and release of a high to high shot that found the back of the net with two minutes remaining.   The tension tightened, #1 versus #2 was living up to the advanced billing.

Will Corrigan launches Notre Dame to a 3-2 lead.

Will Corrigan launches Notre Dame to a 3-2 lead.

Two minutes into the second quarter, midfielder Sergio Perkovic, emulating Ossello, bumped his defenseman into retreat, creating space to launch a missile top shelf for a 4-2 Irish lead. Five minutes later, Ossello would score his second of the game, capping a 3-0 run with 6:40 left.  Credit Perkovic and Matt Kavanagh, the team’s assist leader, with a tic-tac-toe sequence.  Kavanagh’s presence froze a defender, creating space for Ossello and a 5-2 Irish advantage. While Syracuse was finding some success at the faceoff X,  the Notre Dame defense had tightened. Matt Landis clamped down,  discouraging dodges and causing turnovers.  An offense that includes the nation’s top attack,  had gone more than 18 minutes without scoring. Credit Landis, Garrett Epple, Eddy Glazener, Patrick Healy, John Sexton, Brendan and Bobby Collins, Connor McCullough and Jack Near.  Goalie Shane Doss was forced to make a few stellar saves, looking equally impressive high and low. But quality shots were limited and Doss continued to enable clears and transitions.

On his toes, Matt Landis quieted the nation’s top attack.

 

The midfield line of Ben Pridemore, Pierre Byrne and Bobby Gray took the field after an ND timeout, showing good ball movement and quickness.  Eddy Lubowicki was now at attack.  A turnover would put Syracuse back on offense, where Kevin Rice would find a mismatch behind the net and score to get Cuse closer at 5-3.  It should have been 5-4 with 1:10 left, when Tim Barber stepped in front of Doss to finish on a well-run sequence.  But Doss stuffed him up high on perhaps his best save of the year.  The half ended with Notre Dame leading Syracuse 5-3 despite being out shot 17-13 and trailing in face offs 8-2 and  ground balls 19-9.

Irish Goalie Shane Doss comes up big late in the first half.

Goalie Shane Doss came up big late in the first half.

The third quarter began with modifications at the face off, with close defenseman Garrett Epple playing on the wing.  Nick Ossello would take the draw, but Epple would field the ground ball.  On the day,  Ossello, PJ Finley, John Travisano, John Sexton and Trevor Brosco would all take faceoffs versus Syracuse’ Ben Sherman, who entered the game winning 68% at the X.  It was Ossello who found Conor Doyle just 45 seconds into the quarter, patiently waiting, shooting and scoring to put the Irish back up by three at 6-3.  Freshman Mikey Wynne put the Irish up 7-3,  when vintage Matt Kavanagh drew a crowd, dodging and weaving around the net.  It was a shining example of why Kavanagh leads the team in assists with 17 in seven games.  No good deed goes unnoticed with Ossello feeding Kavanagh who fired from a sharp angle, 8-3.  The leprechaun’s arm was holding up well, with more apparel flying through the air. Cue the fight song. Two-way threat Jack Near would finish a 4-0 Irish run, going to net reminiscent of his junior days playing attack.

.

Matt Kavanagh distributes while drawing a crowd.

With 8:06 remaining in the third, the home team had shut down a team averaging almost 16 goals, leading 9-3.  Syracuse got one back on a Doss save that popped high into the air before being batted in on the way down.  Two more Orange goals, one on a man up and one with the shot clock turned on suddenly reflected a 9-6 game.  The Orange faithful got loud, while memories from Denver and Virginia started to surface.  Sergio Perkovic calmed many with his second goal of the game, on a blistering high to low shot with 3:16 remaining. The third quarter appeared to be at end, when Dylan Donahue struck for his fourth goal of the game, with just :06 remaining. Syracuse would finish the quarter out shooting ND 15-11, while scoring five of the last six goals.  While the Arlotta scoreboard read 10-8 home team, the visitors had momentum.

Syracuse won the face off to open the fourth quarter, with both teams sensing the stakes. After an Irish turnover, the offense got the ball back and through the first five minutes of the quarter, reeled off six shots without scoring. Enter Dylan Donahue, who would score his fifth of the day, 28th  on the season, cutting the ND lead to one, 10-9.  The assist would come from Kevin Rice, who Matt Landis had neutralized long ago. The Irish responded less than a minute later when Conor Doyle found senior Jim Marlatt, who fired a low laser far side. A two-goal lead was restored, 11-9.  The crowd exhaled while the leprechaun found more shirts.  Syracuse would win the faceoff and after some irrelevant ball movement, Donahue struck again with 8:28 remaining to get Cuse close at 11-10.

Jim Marlatt unloads a low liner that gave the Irish some breathing room.

Jim Marlatt unloads a low liner to restore a two-goal lead.

Five minutes of banging,  scrums and strategic ball movement would lead to  a Syracuse timeout.  Scripted and prepared,  Syracuse executed with Tim Barber tying the score at 11 with 3:55 remaining.  For the first time since the 3:00 mark of the first quarter, the game was tied.  Two tense minutes gave way to Donahue’s seventh goal of the game and with just 1:06 remaining, Syracuse had their first lead, 12-11.  A timeout would prove memorable.  With Coach Corrigan providing instruction, a confident voice would suggest, “I got this!”  PJ Finley, one of five to faceoff against Ben Sherman, proclaimed his confidence, trotted to midfield, swirling arms, enticing the crowd.  Finley and friends had won three of six faceoffs in the fourth quarter after Sherman had won 14/20 through the first three.

Sophomore PJ Finley..."I got this!"............

Sophomore PJ Finley…”I got this!”…………

As the crowd stood, the referee backpedaled and whistled. Finley launched forward like a thoroughbred from the gate, picking the ball clean. Sprinting directly to the net, he launched a high to low shot past a frozen netminder for the first goal of his Notre Dame career. The Irish danced,  the crowd hugged, music blared and the visitors sunk.  With 0:59 remaining, it was 12-12, #1 vs #2, in front of live national audience, without a cloud in the sky.  More Disney, than Hollywood. The Irish would would get possession with 0:33 remaining, but a pass into the crease for Mikey Wynne would go astray……..so we went into overtime!   With both teams had fielding opportunities, neither would score.  The game almost ended with 0:10 remaining when Shane Doss stopped Donahue’s bid for an eighth goal.

picked, sprinted and scored with 0:59 remaining to force overtime.

In the second overtime a Syracuse shot went wide, giving the Irish the ball on a hustle play.  A successful clear led to a streaking Jack Near heading to goal before being directed behind net.  No sooner had Near stopped and the defense relaxed, he took off, wrapping around the crease and forcing a shot high over an outstretched defense.  His second goal of the game would clear the Irish bench and pave the way for a new number one atop the collegiate lacrosse world.  The undefeated Orange were no more, 13-12 Notre Dame.

Captain Jack Near strikes to end a double overtime thriller against undefeated Syracuse.

Captain Jack Near strikes to end a double overtime thriller against undefeated Syracuse.

Can’t believe it?  Watch the highlights again and again, via the link below.

Notre Dame upsets Syracuse Highlights

A home-made #1 sits atop Grace Hall on campus, recognizing a teams’ top ranking in the national polls.  Lacrosse continues in the ACC this Saturday, with the Irish traveling to Durham to reconnect with defending national champion Duke.  With the Blue Devils loss to North Carolina on Saturday, they’re 0-2 and needing at least one win to qualify for the ACC Tournament with two games remaining.  Until then, enjoy a golden moment.  Go Irish!

 

A History Lesson

DSC_8392

Not since President Reagan was re-elected, Apple rolled out the Macintosh and Michael Jackson recorded Thriller had a Notre Dame lacrosse team shutout its opponent. This past Saturday, Irish goalie Shane Doss stopped 11 shots while his teammates forced 22 turnovers en route to 9-0 victory over Ohio State in South Bend.  Sophomore Garrett Epple led an air-tight defense, causing four turnovers, while midfielder Nick Ossello paced the offense with a career-best three goals in Notre Dame’s second shutout in school history.

DSC_5613

Parents in South Bend gathered for a pregame hosted by the Sheridan, Finley, Borbi, Travisano and Near families at The Ivy Court.  John Borbi provided the chicken,  while John Travisano personally tested the chicken’s temperature, seasoning, crispiness and tenderness. Lori Travisano served rich, but smooth chocalatines.  Mary Ann Sheridan pulled it all together, with salads, sandwiches and desserts to feed a late afternoon gathering.  Liza Near captured it on film.

DSC_5600

DSC_5605

DSC_5593

DSC_5611

DSC_5604DSC_5603

In New York City, Bob Rogers recruited more than 60 alums and parents to TirNaNog to watch the #3 ranked Fighting Irish take on the #15 ranked Buckeyes.  The photos reflect what makes Notre Dame special.  Thanks to Bob for pulling this together. Few schools secure 110 pre-gamers in two cities for a non-football event.

ND Alumsmore nd alum moms

ND young alums

IMG_0199IMG_0201

The 40th lacrosse game between Ohio State and Notre Dame followed the women’s battle between the two schools, with Notre Dame prevailing 13-5. The ND men entered Saturday’s contest having won the previous 12 games against OSU, while owning a 30-9 series record.  The Buckeyes came into Saturday’s game after defeating #16 Towson on Tuesday in Baltimore, 7-6.  Saturday’s 4:00 start accommodated an ESPN broadcast with a near capacity crowd, sunny skies and new chrome domes worn by the Irish.

Nick Osello drove through OSU defenders to get the Irish an early lead.

Nick Ossello drove through OSU defenders to get the Irish an early lead.

Senior Nick Ossello returned to action, facing off and immediately banging bodies.  He would pick up a Buckeye turnover and drive through a defender, firing and scoring to put Notre Dame on the board two minutes into the game. Additional turnovers caused by Matt Landis, Eddy Glazener, John Sexton and Pat Healy would enable Notre Dame to stay offensive.  Posting a 5-1 shot advantage, the Irish increased their lead when junior Matt Kavanagh unleashed a low shot, through congestion, that skipped into the net with 5:55 remaining in the quarter. While OSU had some success with faceoffs,  the first period ended with the Irish forcing eight turnovers and out shooting the Buckeyes 11-1 en route to a modest 2-0 lead. Irish goalie Shane Doss did not register a save in the quarter, a feat the defense has achieved now twice this year.

Goalie Shane Doss deflects an OSU shot, with support from Nick Koshansky 38) and Matt Landis 43).

Goalie Shane Doss deflects an OSU shot while Nick Koshansky and Matt Landis provide support.

Forty five seconds into the second quarter, Doss made his first save, on a low shot he short hopped.  Senior Connor McCullough and sophomore Pat Healy entered the game, replenishing the Irish defense. Matt Landis frustrated OSU’s leading scorer Jessie King, who entered the contest with 21 goals. After Conor Doyle rang a shot off the post near the ten minute mark,  the Irish would come calling again with a man advantage via  Eddy Lubowicki.    Slick passing and unselfish ball movcment would create a cross-field seam.  With an assassin’s eye, Matt Kavanagh saw the seam and threaded a pass to Doyle alone on the Buckeye doorstep. Doyle caught, faked and finished and with 4:09 left in the first half, the Irish led 3-0.  Shots on goal favored ND 19-6. OSU would challenge Doss, particularly with 2:30 remaining on a guided missle targeting a high corner. But Doss stood tall, showing equal skill with an outlet pass to a streaking Eddy Glazener.  The half would end with both teams making stops, ground balls and saves almost even, but the Irish had the lead and control.

Senior Conor Doyle has scored five goals in the past two games.

Senior Conor Doyle has scored five goals in the past two games.

Nick Ossello removed any thought of a let down, opening the second half like an Express Train departing from the station. Picking up the ball from an OSU faceoff violation, the senior middie raced down the middle of the field, banging, spinning and shooting with a trail  of defenders behind him. Ossello’s second  goal of the game was vintage and gave ND a 4-0 lead. He wasn’t finished. A little more than a minute later, he  became the sixth different Irish player to register a hat trick this year, pushing the lead to 5-0. Kids on the berm and parents in the bleachers responded with 12:45 remaining in the quarter. A television timeout would follow. The window for an OSU comeback was closing.  Ossello would finish the day with three goals, 3/7 faceoffs won, while picking up three ground balls.   With 0:59 seconds remaining in the quarter, Conor Doyle would score his second of the game, following a rebound from a Jim Marlatt rocket, to give the Irish a 6-0 advantage. It was Doyle’s fifth goal in two games. Ohio State would post 10 shots in the quarter, forcing Doss to make three saves. Still no goals.  Focus slowly, but cautiously began shifting from the score to the clock.  Notre Dame’s only shutout came over Mount Union in 1984.  This was #15 Ohio State, defeaters of #3 Denver just a week ago.

Freshman John Sexton turned in another veteran performance.

Freshman John Sexton turned in another veteran performance.

Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Sergio Perkovic would score his 12th goal of the year, courtesy of a well-placed pass by Conor Doyle.  Two minutes later, junior midfielder Cole Riccardi unleashed his fifth goal of the year for an 8-0 Irish advantage.   Fresh legs began appearing with Jack Sheridan, Bobby Gray, Kyle Runyon, Pierre Byrne, Anthony Marini and Ben Pridemore in position.  The defense wasn’t finished, as the possibility of a shutout began to register with the visitors.  First, Garrett Epple collected his seventh ground ball.  Coupled with four caused turnovers and a pair of sound hits, the sophomore defenseman turned in an all-star performance.   With 7:03 remaining, freshman Brendan Collins thundered, dodged and shot low to high for his second goal of the season.  Another highlight for the defense….but there was one more.

Sophomore Garrett Epple turned forced four turnovers while picking up seven ground balls.

Sophomore Garrett Epple turned forced four turnovers while picking up seven ground balls.

With 4:25 remaining,  Conor Kelly would replace Doss in goal, with the Irish set to go one man down.  Kelly would make two sterling saves, including one immediately as he entered.  On the day, the Irish defense went five for five in killing Buckeye penalties, ended Jessie King’s 45 game scoring streak and registered the first shutout in 31 years, winning 9-0.   Unselfish offense and smothering defense translated into a historic result.  A recap of the highlights can be seen in the link below. Continued thanks to Rob Kelly, who contributes the photography each week.

Notre Dame shuts out Ohio State

Notre Dame will host #1 ranked and unbeaten Syracuse this coming Saturday at Arlotta Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU beginning at noon.  The Orange are 7-0, with a 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference record. They feature one of the top rated attack, along with outstanding faceoff talent.  Syracuse is coming of a 19-7 thrashing of Duke in the Carrier Dome.  The Irish enter the game ranked #2, with a 5-1 overall record and 1-0 in the ACC.     We’ll need fans from all generations at Arlotta.  See you Friday!

Go Irish!

Go Irish!

Defense Reigns

DSC_6959 (1)   Mikey Wynne scored three of his five goals as part of a 7-0, first-half run and Notre Dame held off  Virginia for an 11-9 victory in Charlottesville.  While Conor Doyle contributed three goals and Matt Kavanagh two, it was goalie Shane Doss and a smothering defense that enabled Notre Dame to improve to 1-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, 4-1 overall.  Virginia is now 0-2 and 5-2, respectively.

DSC_5567DSC_5560

DSC_5557DSC_5569
DSC_6961DSC_5536

DSC_5586
DSC_5546The weekend began with dinner in Charlottesville at The Tin Whistle Irish Pub.  Later, some ventured to the palatial Boar’s Head Hotel to wish the team well.  Others headed to the parents’ hotel to catch the ND basketball team defeat Duke in the ACC semifinals. Saturday’s pregame in the parking lot of Klockner Stadium was hosted by the Marlatts, McCulloughs, Williams and Healy’s.  Liza Near led the happy birthday chorus for Liz Finley.  It was great to see alums Rick Andersen, Eric and Nancy Miller and George and Jean Cotter attend.  Donna and Phil Pfiefer hosted the post game barbeque at their beautiful home in suburban Charlottesville.  Nobody departed hungry or without butterscotch cookies.

DSC_5576DSC_5579

As for the game, the rain joined our walk into the stadium and would intensify during the first quarter. Injuries put young faces front and center, with more to come.  Sophomore PJ Finley took the opening faceoff,  with each team possessing once.  The Irish offense struck first, with attackman Matt Kavanagh coming from behind the net and scoring his 11th of the season three minutes into the game. Finley would win the ensuing faceoff, but a crease violation would hand the ball back, with Doss having to make a tough save up high.  The offense was methodical with each catch and throw, water spraying each time the strings stretched at ball’s impact.  Kavanagh would stretch the lead to 2-0, alternating the stick in each hand as he closed in on the Cavalier net, firing low to the far side. Freshmen Mikey Wynne would extend the lead on an assist from Conor Doyle with his 15th goal of the season and with 7:48 left in the first quarter, it was 3-0 ND.  Suddenly, the rain didn’t quite feel so wet.  Conor Doyle would score his first goal of the day, sixth of the year to make it 4-0, before Mikey Wynne’s second of the day on a clever assist from Sergio Perkovic would push the score to 5-0.

Freshman John Sexton continues to make big strides on D.

Freshman John Sexton continues to make big strides on D.

For the second consecutive week, the Irish had played up tempo  in the first quarter, on the road versus a top seven opponent,  building a commanding lead.  And for the second time in as many weeks, the defense was physical and agile, holding a quality offense to shots from the perimeter. Credit Matt Landis, Garrett Epple, Eddy Glazener, Jack Near, John Sexton, Brandon Collins and Nick Koshansky. Shane Doss registered three  saves in the quarter, forcing others high and wide.  Matt Landis delivered the first crunching hit.

Garrett Epple had Virginia retreating.

Garrett Epple had Virginia retreating.

Interestingly, down 0-5 with 0:37 remaining in the first quarter, Virginia would receive the game’s first stall warning. The quarter would end with ND leading 5-0 and fans puzzled by the call. The defense reigned! Quarter two began with ND triggering their first stall warning, only to see Sergio Perkovic score his 11th goal of the season,  a laser, on a beautiful pass from Kavanagh. Mikey Wynne would add his third of the game, high to low,  on an assist from Marlatt, with 10:41 remaining in the half.  Enter Pat Healy at close defense, while Ryan Smith tried painfully to stretch himself back into the game.  Enter Freshman John Travisano at X.   With 7:34 remaining in the half, Virginia broke their drought, ending a 7-0 Irish run with a man up goal.  After both goalies mades saves, Coach Corrigan would call timeout with 2:24 remaining in the half.  What followed was Mikey Wynne’s fourth goal of the half on a pass from Perkovic with just 55 seconds remaining.  ND was leading 8-1 on 17 effecient shots.  Virginia had one goal on 11 shots taken.  UVA would get their second goal with 12 seconds remaining to account for an 8-2 ND lead at intermission.

Mikey Wynne put five past UVA's Matt Barrett.

Mikey Wynne put five past UVA’s Matt Barrett.

Conor Doyle opened the scoring in the second half with a scorcher off a pass from Jim Marlatt.  That’s where UVA responded, going on a 4-0 run of their own, including a pretty transition goal.  UVA would take 10 shots in the quarter, only getting two goals.  The Irish would take five shots, scoring once. Doss and Barrett each recorded three saves. The quarter would end with Garrett Epple tatooing a Cavalier.  The rains returned for the fourth quarter, with he Irish leading 9-6. After a critical faceoff win by PJ Finley, Conor Doyle would strike for a 10-6 lead.  The two teams would exchange shots and turnovers to the five minute mark.  That’s when senior Will Corrigan strung a fine pass to Mikey Wynne and a 11-6 lead. Notre Dame had scored 11 goals on 26 shots, while the Cavaliers had six goals on 29 shots. UVA would use a three goal run, narrowing the gap to 11-9.  Suddenly, ND was clinging.  But after Cavalier goalie Matt Barrett made two  point blank saves,  including a highlight gem on Mikey Wynne, Koshansky and Healy clamped down one more time to seal an 11-9 conference win. Exhale!!  Denver the sequel avoided.  You can see the full compliment of highlights in the link below courtesy of ESPNU.

Defense Reigns

The carivan returns to South Bend on Saturday, where the Irish will battle Ohio State in Arlotta Stadium at 4:00. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.  ND will enter the game ranked #3, where they began the season. Ohio State is ranked #15, with a 6-2 record. They knocked off #3 Denver last week, 13-11 in Columbus.  Erin Go Braugh! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Go Irish!

Go Irish!

 

Outdoors and Overtime

DSC_7298

Sophomore attackman Zack Miller scored four goals including the game winner in overtime to lead The University of Denver past Notre Dame 11-10 in Denver.  Three of Miller’s goals came on a 4-0 Denver run in the fourth quarter. This was the third time in four years Denver and Notre Dames settled in overtime, with seven goals separating the two teams in the last five games.                                     DSC_5501Denver Spanky

DSC_5481A progressive happy hour in downtown on Friday was capped with a warm dinner  at Red Square Bistro.  Many thanks to our  generous host, Steve Osello, who welcomed, sponsored and served as ambassador all weekend. Saturday’s pregame at Spanky’s Road House featured an overflow crowd,  a make-your-own Bloody Mary Bar and plenty of pregame optimism.   A three block walk followed to Barton Stadium, where grills sizzled, music blared and players stretched on a  sun drenched field.  Our first outdoor game of the year was a beauty.

DSC_5529Denver corrigans

DenverpregameDSC_5504

The tone would be set early, with  Denver gaining an early advantage on Irish faceoff infractions that would lead to a 1-0 lead. Few in the sold-out crowd at Barton Stadium could interpret the infraction, one of five violations for the Irish.

Nick Osello battles at X

Minutes later, Sergio Perkovic bull-rushed a Denver defender, gaining enough separation to rear back and fire, tying the game at one with 9:25 remaining. Senior Jim Marlatt put the Irish in front, faking a shot and then stepping aside the fallen defender to finish in tight.  A young Denver fan sitting next to me provided the color commentary……”that was sick!”

Marlatt's face dodge left one Pioneer backpedaling.

Marlatt’s face dodge left one Pioneer backpedaling.

Progressing through the first quarter, Denver’s fleet offense grew impatient.   Matt Landis, Garrett Epple and Eddy Glazener were physical and held the attack in check. Jack Near, Nick Koshansky and freshman John Sexton kept pace and anticipated well. The defense was making a statement early, exemplified by Landis, who caused a turnover that led to a sprint up field, Matt Kavanagh’s first goal and a 3-1 Irish lead.  Kav would then feed Sergio Perkovic on a man up effort from behind the net.  Perkovic stepped in from the perimeter and ripped for a 4-1 lead, quieting the overflow  crowd.  The Irish faithful were vocal.  Kavanagh would finish a 5-0 ND run, coming from behind the net and unleashing a laser from an impossible angle.  It was an explanation point and seemed to crush the spirit out of an edgy crowd.   Denver would get a goal back, when a shot appeared to hit Matt Landis in the helmet, with an unlucky rebound finding it’s way to a Pioneer stick for a goal. The ensuing faceoff would be more unfortunate, as Nick Ossello was called for a third faceoff infraction.

Faceoffs were perplexing, even for PJ Finley, who entered the game with a 77% winning percentage.

Faceoffs were perplexing, even for PJ Finley, who entered the game with a 77% winning percentage.

Denver would cash in on the man up and with 12:32 left in the second period, it was 5-3 ND.  After a Conor Doyle shot rang off the post, Denver would gather the rebound and score to get within one.  A penalty on the play would bring the Irish another man down challenge, but the defense was stout and the penalty killed without further damage. John Sexton, Ryan Smith, Brendan Collins and Jack Sheridan shined.  With 5:03 left in the half, Coach Corrigan called time out.  What ensued was crisp passing and a magical move by Kavanagh that put him on the doorstep alone, but with no room to shoot.  Ever the magician, he quickly flipped a shot behind his back and into the net, stopping a 3-0 Pioneer run. Cue the bagpipes,  as the Irish danced.  The replay on the jumbo screen brought flashbacks from last year’s Albany game.  Kav wasn’t done, scoring less than 20 seconds later on a shifty outside, then inside move that brought him to the doorstep and a 7-4 Irish lead.  Denver’s super sophomore Connor Cannizzaro closed the gap, but Irish goalie Shane Doss and the Irish would deny further scoring, taking a 7-5 lead to intermission.  ND’s seven goals came on 14 shots, with the Pioneers’ five goals coming on 21 shots. More amazingly, Denver goalie LaPlante recorded just one save, while Doss had four.  Denver turned the ball over eight times to ND’s four, but faceoffs were the equalizer with Denver scrambling to control 11 of 18.

Matt Kavanagh's second goal in 20 seconds.

Matt Kavanagh’s second goal in 20 seconds.

The second half was a slugfest, with Denver scoring first before Mikey Wynne answered on an Irish hustle play. Shane Doss would make saves low and high, with the Irish turning the ball over three times in the third quarter.  Following a clever trail check by Matt Landis , Denver would score on a man up after a questionable holding call on the Irish defense with 5:31 remaining. The third quarter ended, with the Irish extending their halftime lead by a goal to 10-7.  Optimism prevailed among the faithful.

The fourth quarter began with Denver scoring their fourth man-up goal and closing the gap. As the questionable unsportsmanlike-call was non releasable, it led to a second Pioneer goal despite some energetic defense by Jack Sheridan. It got quiet with 9:26 left and the Irish clinging to a 10-9 lead. Doss made two point black saves, including one in self defense  on Zack Miller that richochetted high and far out of play.  Two more turnovers at the five minute mark forced Doss to make a save down low, with the Irish taking possession.  The tenion was apparent, as the players were methodical with each move.  With 2:34 left, the Irish rejoiced when Conor Doyle’s perimeter rip apppeared to extend their margin. However, the shot caught the side of the net, versus the back of the net and possession was suddenly in Denver’s hands.  A minute later,  Miller tied it, coming from behind the net on a low wrap around.  Wow, 10-10, Denver picked up possession of another zany faceoff and quickly called a timeout.  Hall-of-fame coach Bill Tierney laid out a play that the character of this team would shut down, holding Denver without a shot to end regulation play tied at 10.

Irish Goalie Shane Doss answered when called upon.

Denver would secure possession first, spreading out the Irish, looking for the mismatch.  Once again, Miller gathered speed before stopping, spinning and shooting with precision for an overtime goal and celebration.  The season’s best performance deserved a better fate.  Onto to Charlottesville, where the fourth ranked Irish will open their Atlantic Coast Conference season as defending champions. Virginia is ranked seventh with a 4-1 mark.   Drama?  We’re just getting started. See you in Charlottesville.

Go Irish!

Go Irish!

Winning In Honor

hesburgh

Visionary, Educator, Communicator.

A moment of silence was observed Saturday in The Loftus Center.  The President of Notre Dame for 35 years, Father Theodore Hesburgh, passed away at the age of 97.  The lacrosse team honored Father Ted with a sticker on their helmets.

Upon the conclusion of the Hesburgh tribute, Matt Kavanagh set up five goals while scoring two others, leading third-ranked Notre Dame  to a 20-5 defeat of Dartmouth in South Bend.  The 20 goals scored represented the largest Irish offensive in a decade.  It was the second consecutive game that Notre Dame registered 10 different goal scorers. Shane Doss got the start in goal and made six saves in 42 minutes.  The Irish improved their record to 3-0.

The Irish will honor Father Ted.

The Irish will honor Father Ted.

Not since Notre Dame scored 22 goals against Butler in 2005 had an Irish team scored 20 goals in a game. Against Dartmouth, Mikey Wynne, Sergio Perkovic and Cole Riccardi each scored three goals.  Kavanagh, Nick Osselo, Trevor Bosco and freshman Pierre Byrne each scored twice. Byrne’s first goal was his initial collegiate tally.  Just 45 seconds into the game, midfielder Sergio Perkovic scored to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Mikey Wynne scored his 11th of the season, before Dartmouth would use a set play out of a timeout to score and cut the lead to 2-1.  Grad Student Ryan Smith entered the game at long stick middie, which the Irish faithful acknowledged.  Dartmouth then tied the game at two, before the fireworks….. Junior Cole Riccardi snuck a low scud missile through a maze of bodies for a 3-2 Irish advantage with 4:23 left in the first.  Next,  Kavanagh forced several slides, distributing to Ossello, who finished for a 4-2 lead. It would be one of five assists for Kavanagh, who leads the team with 10 for the season. Kav would follow with an unassisted goal of his own and a 6-2 Notre Dame lead, followed by Riccardi’s second and Trevor Bosco’s first of the day. Enter Kyle Runyon at attack, with period one ending  and the Irish leading 7-2, out shooting Dartmouth 19-3.  The Big Green struggled clearing, repeatedly retreating against an athletic 10-man Irish ride.

Sergio Perkovic collected three goals versus Dartmouth.

Sergio Perkovic had a hat trick versus Dartmouth.

Ossello opened period two with a signature crushing hit, as junior Eddy Lubowicki entered for the Irish attack.  Goals by Kavanagh and a rip by Perkovic would make it 9-2. Enter Patrick Healy at close defense.  Brosco would then score his second on a fine pass from Lubo.  It was Lubo who appeared poised to shoot, only to feed Brosco, who fired from 14 yards.   The Irish would take the ensuing faceoff, winning 19/27 for the day.  Ossello went ( 8/12 ), while sophomore PJ Finley won 7/9 and freshman John Travisano won 4/6.   Turnovers caused by the 10 man ride, led to possessions. Winning faceoffs  led to more possessions.  Cole Riccardi would net his first career hat trick, followed by Ossello’s second goal for a 12-2 Irish lead.  The first half would come to an end with Doss making one of his more difficult saves on Dartmouth’s Don Stephan from in close.  Doss and Stephan were summer teammates.

Nick Osello scored two goals and won 12/19 faceoffs.

Nick Osello scored two goals and won 8 of 12 faceoffs.

Conor Doyle opened the second half scoring, before Wynne tallied on a crisp pass from midfielder Will Corrigan.  A swift midfield trio of Ben Pridemore, Bobby Gray and Pierre Byrne entered and struck quickly, with Byrne scoring on a side-winding missile for his first collegiate goal. A subsequent goal by Wynne put the Irish up 16-2.  Notre Dame had now scored 14 straight goals.  But the roar from the home crowd was loudest upon the sight of senior Connor McCullough, who made his 2015 season debut.   Bobby Gray made it 17-2 with 6:58 remaining in period three.  Enter Anthony Marini at attack, Jack Sheridan at close defense and Conor Kelly in goal.

Conor Doyle drew a crowd on Saturday.

Conor Doyle drew a crowd on Saturday.

ND’s Pat Healy and Dartmouth’s Jack Connolly were high school teammates.

Minutes later, senior captain Jim Marlatt would score his second on a fine assist by Kyle Runyon. It was 18-3 after three.  The fourth quarter began with a Dartmouth goalie change. Sergio Perkovic greeted the new netminder 11 seconds into the quarter, taking a  pass from Lubo and finishing for a 19-3 ND lead.  Pierre Byrne scored his second goal with Patrick Hadley, Zach Bartolo, Kyle Borbi, Kyle Trolley. Jordan Walter, Alex Hurdle, Tyler Ruhle, William Young and Chris Carter now on the field.   My bad if I missed anyone. Several of the freshman were making the collegiate debuts.  Dartmouth would post two goals to end the scoring and the game at 20-5.  ND outshot the Big Green 50-18.   Dartmouth was 14/24 on clears, while ND was 12/15.

See all of the Irish goals in this link:  Irish blitz Dartmouth in Loftus to go 3-0, with 10 different scorers.

The schedule intensifies with Saturday’s game at #4Denver.   We’ll be outdoors for the first time at Barton Stadium. Game time at 1:00 (MT).   Denver (3-1) suffered their first defeat last Saturday, losing at snowy UNC 12-10.  Saturday’s forecast calls for sun, 45 degrees and a lot of offense.  See you Friday! Go Irish!

Going On A Run

Notre Dame used a 9-0 first-half burst, accompanied by a career goaltending effort  to defeat rival Michigan 17-8  in Ann Arbor.  It was the inaugural lacrosse showdown in a sports rivalry begun in 1887. Freshman Mikey Wynne scored four times, while linemate Matt Kavanagh tallied three and set up three. Sophomore goalie Shane Doss recorded a personal high 13 saves in his first start of the year.  The third-ranked Irish improved to 2-0.

Shane Doss registered a personal best 13 saves.

Shane Doss registered a personal best 13 saves.

An early-rising crowd unlocked the doors of Conor O’Neil’s Irish Pub  in Ann Arbor for the pregame tailgate. There was much a buzz about the gourmet deli sandwiches Vasko and Kristina Perkovic had supplied the team on Friday. Once again, Jane and Geoff Marlatt organized a splendid affair, with the Landis, Collins and Perkovic familites assisting. It was an express event, with folks scurrying out by noon to secure seats in cozy Oosterbaan Field House.  Thanks to Charlotte and John Borbi for reserving the midfield section.  Tracy Byrne provided timely updates on out of town upsets, played in frigid temperatures and snow.  Continued thanks to Liza Near and Rob Kelly for the colorful supply of photos.  Lastly, thanks to the boys for opening doors to The Big House.  Empty, with much of the field snow covered, it’s still impressive.

DSC_4912(1)

DSC_4908

DSC_4918 DSC_4914(1)

DSC_4909DSC_4917Michtailgate 6

Osello thundering from X

Nick Osello stampeding at X.

The game began with Senior Nick Osello setting the tone,  driving his 6-1 frame through two Wolverines in the game’s initial faceoff.  While Michigan would leverage the subsequent man-advantage to take a 1-0 lead, Notre Dame got offensive, forcing the Wolverine goalie to make four splendid saves, with two more dingers clanking off pipes.  Despite a low scoring quarter, the Irish controlled the tempo. With a little more than two minutes remaining in the first quarter,  freshman midfielder Brendan Collins scored his first collegiate goal to get the Irish on the board and tie the game at one.  Proud parents beamed. Shout outs came from every direction.   Following a save up top by Shane Doss, the ball was summoned to Matt Kavanagh, who held court in the right corner with less than 30 seconds remaining.  Kavanagh surveyed and with 14 ticks to go,  the Irish All-American darted, dodged and flicked and suddenly, it was 2-1 ND after one period.  The full house adjacent to the Big House, got quiet.

Brendan Collins scored his first collegiate goal.

Brendan Collins scored his first collegiate goal.

With the start of the second quarter, Junior Midfielder Cole Ricardi would extend ND’s lead to 3-1. Following another forced turnover, the Irish strung several short passes to reach Mikey Wynne, home alone on the UM doorstep.  Poised and clever, Wynne would pull the goalie out of the net with a quick fake before feeding Kavanagh, who waved his stick with one hand, placing the ball magician-like in the back of the net to extend the Irish run. Wynne would be repaid, taking a pass seconds later  from Connor Doyle  to put Notre Dame up 5-1 with 11:23 remaining in the first half. The play started with a nifty defensive steal by sophomore Bobby Collins. Kavanagh wasn’t done.  Tracking down a loose ball in the corner, he lofted a high, arching pass to center fielder Jim Marlaat, who caught the lazy pop fly and quickly ripped a low laser past the Michigan netminder, 6-1 ND!   Eddy Lubowicki entered the game and quickly contributed, scoring his first of the year at the eight minute mark.   Wynne would strike again, this time on the man advantage before home-grown Sergio Perkovic would finish a 9-0 Irish run with an eight goal lead. Kyle Runyon and Jack Sheridan entered the game at attack and defense, respectively.  Michigan would end a 23-minute drought, scoring with 47 seconds remaining.  The first half ended with Notre Dame in front, 9-2.

Mikey Wynne scored four versus Michigan

Mikey Wynne scored four versus Michigan

While the offense clicked, the defense stifled, with Michigan struggling to clear.  Matt Landis, Garrett Epple and Eddy Glazener disrupted  movement and intercepted passes. LSM’s Henry Williams and John Sexton denied cutters and collected loose balls. Middies Jack Near, Nick Koshansky and Bobby Collins bumped and poked, keeping Wolverine shooters on the perimeter. A contrast of two offenses – the Irish were buzzing around the net while Michigan shot from downtown. In the second quarter, ND outshot UM 15-7 while forcing five turnovers. The Irish offense converted on 40% of their possessions compared to UM at 21%.

The second half began with Wynne scoring on a pass from Osello.  Michigan would answer and threaten again with a two-man advantage.  The Irish defense, that now included Pat Healy, was up to the task. With the Michigan trailing 11-5, Connor Doyle extended the lead back to eight, coming from behind the net to tuck one in low while in full flight.   Opting not to turn this into a track meet, Michigan slowed the pace on the next few possessions, which the officials welcomed by turning on the 30-second timer.  UM would show good ball movement, scoring and closing  to 12-6.  Enter Kavanagh, from his corner, going right to left, he fired a low to high laser, his third of the day, netting the Irish a 13-6 advantage.

Matt Kavanagh scored three and set up three.

Matt Kavanagh scored three and set up three.

PJ Finley, picking up where he left off from last week, won the ensuing faceoff to close out the quarter.  He went 6/8 for the day, with Nick Osello finishing 10/19 and freshman John Travisano winning one out of two.

Connor Doyle  extends the Irish lead.

Connor Doyle in flight to extend the Irish lead.

The fourth quarter began with another crushing hit by Osello and goals by Doyle, Trevor Bosco and Perkovic from downtown.  A 16-6 lead brought about a UM goalie switch, which sophomore Anthony Marini greeted with his first collegiate goal. He was the 10th Irish player to score on the day, the 13th player to score this year. Through two games, the Irish have netted 31 goals while allowing 20.  Two late Wolverine goals would finish the scoring in a 17-8 victory.  Next up for the Irish is Dartmouth on Saturday in South Bend at 1:00.  ESPN 3 will broadcast.  The Big Green dropped their season opener to Ohio State in Columbus, 15-5.  See ya Friday! Go Irish.

DSC_4913DSC_4986(1)

Irish Wynne Opener

NDpiper

Piper Ed Glazener led the Irish.

Notre Dame rode a record offensive performance en route to a 14-12 Wynne over Georgetown in The Loftus Sports Center this past Saturday. It was the season opener for both teams. Freshman attackman Mikey Wynne scored six goals in his Irish debut, tying the record for most goals scored in a home game. He likely established a new team mark for goals in a collegiate debut.  The day was filled with subplots.

The contest was moved indoors due to temperatures in the teens and whiteout conditions. Cancelled flights and treacherous highways delayed and stranded parents en route to South Bend.  We’re grateful Kevin Doyle arrived.  Our first tailgate, hosted by the Kelly, Travisano, Near and Marini families, was warm and welcoming.  The ACC Room at Ivy Court bustled, with food, photos and anticipation. The journey across the street to Loftus was halted momentarily by swirling winds and a white wall of snow. Visibility  was zero.

GTwonTailgate4NDGtowntailgate2 Inside Loftus, Eddy Glazener led the team onto the field for the first time as the Piper, with the Irish sporting new Under Armour apparel.  While the home team carried the game early, Georgetown scored first with some unwelcome traffic in the crease.  ND would answer, with three quality shots before Wynne took a pass from Sergio Perkovic and scored to tie the game, 1-1.  The Irish would never trail again.

Consecutive goals by Wynne on assists from Matt Kavanagh put the Irish up by two before Jack Near fed Perkovic, who’s howitzer scorched the net for a 4-1 ND lead. NDGtowntailgate

 

With three minutes remaining in the first quarter and Goalie Connor Kelly yet to see a second shot, the outcome appeared to be following the script predicted by the experts. But this Georgetown squad had other ideas,  executing precisely to score and close to 4-2 at the end of the first quarter.  Kelly would then face three consecutive shots in the second quarter, as the Hoya offense moved well without the ball, leading to their third goal,  4-3.  A CK stop point blank preserved the  lead, with the transition in full gallop.  A precise pass from Kavanagh to Perkovic, who side stepped two Hoyas, before firing his second goal of the game. Again, Georgetown answered immediately, 5-4.  Faceoffs and subsequent ground balls were in the hands of Nick Osello, PJ Finley and freshman John Travisano.  But the Hoyas were picking up 50%  of the loose balls and moved quickly to tie the score at 5 with 8:27 remaining in the first half.  Will Corrigan answered on an unselfish pass from Connor Doyle to put the Irish back in front, 6-5.  Finley, who picked the subsequent faceoff clean, got on a roll that would serve the offense well the balance of the game.  After two point blank saves by the freshman Georgetown goalie, the Hoyas showed a transition game of their own, tying the score at 6-6.  Exploiting a man advantage, junior Eddy Lubowicki threaded a laser to Mikey Wynne, who deposited quickly for a 7-6 Irish lead.

Finley

PJ Finley won critical faceoffs in the second half.

Matt Kavanagh followed,  dancing to separation before firing a sidewinder the Hoya goalie never saw with just four seconds left in the half….8-6 Notre Dame at the intermission.

Kav's side-winding buzzer beater/

Matt Kavanagh’s side-winding buzzer beater at the half.

Credit Georgetown, they wouldn’t go away and would score first in the second half, despite a crushing hit that middie Nick Osello delivered along the sideline. Doyle would then score, unassisted to widen the lead, 9-7.  Again, Finley managed the subsequent draw, with Jack Near picking up the loose ball and scoring unassisted for a 10-7 lead.  Time to pull away – not so fast!  After one Hoya shot rang off the crossbar, a second found the back of the net.  With the score 10-8 and 8:15 left in the third,  sophomore goalie Shane Doss entered the game for Notre Dame.

Nick Osello would provide the Loftus crowd with a Sports Center moment. Rushing across midfield with the ball, he slowed, squared up and accelerated, leading with his shoulder through a Hoya defenseman.  Down went the Hoya, with Osello launching a shot while falling to the ground….scoring for an 11-8 lead.  Those anticipating more of the same saw  two transition goals by Georgetown, reducing the lead to a single goal, 11-10 after three periods.  A man-up goal by Georgetown early in the fourth, tied the score at 11.  A season opening thriller, remained unexpectedly tight, when Sergio Perkovic scored on a pretty spin move.  Eight seconds later,  Mikey Wynne struck again, putting the Irish up by two, 13-11.  Exhale?  Not today. The Hoyas answered with rapid ball movement,  narrowing the deficit to 13-12.

Enter the shot clock,  making its physical debut with 1:22 remaining.  With the Irish patiently positioning the dagger, the clock ticked.   As he had all game, Wynne moved well off ball, catching and depositing a precision pass from Perkovic to seal an Irish 14-12 win.   With just 29 seconds remaining, Matt Landis came in to take the final faceoff, which the Irish won to begin the season for the 13th consecutive time, victorious.  Cue the fight song.

Wynne

Mikey Wynne (#24) scored six goals in his collegiate debut.

 

Prior to Saturday’s game, the Irish privately bestowed senior Henry Williams with the #40, which honors former Notre Dame captain Mike Sennett. A three-time monogram winner, Sennett played attack and was known as a selfless player and teammate.  A native of Detroit and graduate of Brother Rice High School (Sergio Perkovic), Sennett  evangelized lacrosse in Missouri, settling in St. Louis after receiving his degree from Notre Dame in 1991. He founded and coached DeSmet High School’s lacrosse program from 1992 – 2007, where he would win six state titles.  He went on to coach state, regional and national teams, with dozens of players reaching the collegiate level and several earning All America honors. He was elected into the Missouri Hall of Fame in 2005.  He coined a “Count on Me” cheer as his teams broke huddle.The chant instilled a sense of accountability with his players. He was coaching in a tournament outside South Bend in 2007, when he died suddenly.  He was 38.   In his honor, members of the DeSmet High School community established The Mike Sennett Count On Me Foundation, providing scholarship, mentoring and lacrosse instruction to economically disadvantaged youth in the St. Louis metro area.  His #40 hangs in the player’s lounge at Arlotta Stadium as a reminder of the team’s values. Congratulations Henry!

Ned and Henry Williams

Ned and Henry Williams

"Count On Me"

“Count On Me”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is Michigan, now in its fourth year of Division I competition.  The Wolverines are 2-0, defeating Bellarmine (16-9) and Detroit (15-6). They too had an attackman score six goals last week.  The game is scheduled for 1:00 in the Oosterbaan Field House.  Pre and post game activities will be confirmed later the week.  See you Friday……and of course…………..

NDGtownGo Irish