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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!”…………
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.
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!