The Fighting Irish took it to Army with a very solid 13-7 win at Arlotta that was much more lopsided than the score would suggest. But before we get to the details, let's take a closer look at Ryder Garnsey's Sportscenter Top-10 spin-o-rama goal:
The final score was basically 12-3. Coach Corrigan cleared the bench for Senior Day with about 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Freshman Ryder Garnsey continued to impress with 4 goals and 2 assists a few days after his recognition as ACC Freshman of the Year. Senior Matt Kavanagh also contributed 6 points (2g, 4a), and Shane Doss gave up a paltry 3 goals while making 10 saves.
In our preview, we felt the Irish needed to pound Army to gain the confidence needed for the national championship run at the #BigBBQ. They did exactly that. Reviewing our pre-game keys:
*Can Notre Dame stabilize the face-off situation: Against a very strong Army face-off unit, Finley and Travisano gained an even split. We had set 50%+ as our success metric, and we'll check the box as the Irish were well over 50% going into garbage time. Job well done given the fierce challenge they faced and the pressure the unit has been under for the previous 5 quarters of lacrosse.
*Will they clean-up the passing: Frankly, we're not sure. Notre Dame won the turnover battle 18-15, but we were watching the game on a 4-inch cell phone, so passing nuance was lost on us today. Whatever the situation, the game was lopsided so we won't fret over this one today.
*5th and 6th scoring options: There was nice balance between the usual suspects and the more occasional contributors. We had set as our success metric as four goals from outside the big-4, and the Irish tallied six, with Brendan Collins, Trevor Brosco (twice), Pierre Byrne, Eddy Lubowicki and the seldom seen Carl Walrath getting on the scoring sheet. If the Irish can keep this balance in their offence, things will be OK.
*Penalty discipline: The Irish managed to avoid undisciplined and poorly timed penalties. Notre Dame was flagged twice, well after the game was comfortably in hand, and nothing amounted from them. Zero penalties would be preferable, but they met our goal.
*The Ride is returning for the playoffs: After a few sub-par showings, the fellas got some results for their effort. We set the goal as forcing five failed clears, and the Irish did exactly that. If they can keep opponents clearing less than 75% like they did today, we will witness some exciting things in the tournament.
*Notre Dame recap here.
*Congrats to Matt Kavanagh for tallying his 100th career assist at Notre Dame!
*The Irish have now achieved double-digit wins for 11 consecutive seasons.
*It was nice to see many of the reserves and seniors get some time in at the end, including co-captain Conor Kelly, a favorite here at Team ND-Atl.
Notre Dame fully succeeded in our eyes against Army. They hit every metric we believed was relevant, and this should return them to the level of confidence necessary for a playoff run. The brackets were released as we wrote this, with the Irish given the #3 seed and set to face Air Force at home, primetime, on Saturday. We'll post our bracket notes tomorrow and will, of course, post our game preview at the end of the week.
Edited May 9 @ 8:00 to include GIF of Garnsey video below: