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Notre Dame lacrosse: Irish look to go 2-0 against strong Richmond team

The Irish hope not to get caught in the web of an impressive Spider club.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish lacrosse team is coming off a dominant showing against Detroit Mercy and faces its first real test against the 2-1 Richmond Spiders.

WHEN, WHERE AND HOW TO WATCH

WHEN: Saturday, February 23, 12:00 p.m. EST

WHERE: Robins Stadium (Richmond, VA)

HOW: ESPN+

THESE SPIDERS BITE

Richmond’s only loss of the season came against No. 3 Maryland in what was probably the most exciting game of the year to date. Trailing 10-4 after three quarters of action, the Spiders came roaring back, scoring five unanswered goals and coming up just short of sending the game into overtime, falling to the Terrapins 10-9. Richmond won its next two games against Bucknell and UMBC.

ALL-AMERICAN FUN

Bryan Costabile matched his career-high five goals in the first game of the season against Detroit-Mercy, and he’s certainly hungry for more. His deceptive speed, quick hands and exceptional stick skills make him one of the top midfielders in the country and Irish fans should expect another big game from him Saturday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

RICHMOND: The Spiders have one of the most dynamic sophomores in the country in Ryan Lanchburg. Through three games, he’s already racked up 14 goals and two assists. He’ll undoubtedly have a tougher time finding the back of the net against a stout Notre Dame defense, but expect him to be a the focal point of this Richmond offense.

NOTRE DAME: Keep an eye on Brendan Gleason this game, who moved to attack after serving mostly as a midfielder last year. He started the season strong with three goals, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t an even bigger factor on offense Saturday as the Spiders do everything they can to stop Costabile.

PREDICTION

The Spiders have scored four more goals than they did the previous game in each contest this season. If that trend continued Saturday, Richmond would put up 21 on Notre Dame. While I don’t expect that to happen, I do think the Irish defense will be challenged throughout the game. It’s important to get off to a good start, but knowing how they shut down Maryland in the fourth quarter of that matchup, it’s equally as important to finish strong. Notre Dame didn’t have a problem with that against Detroit-Mercy, outscoring the Titans 7-2 in the final quarter. Richmond is a step up in talent, but if Notre Dame plays to even 75 percent of its ability, I don’t see an outcome where the Irish lose.

FINAL PREDICTION: Notre Dame 15, Richmond 11