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Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse DISMANTLES the Michigan Wolverines

The Fighting Irish should be the #1 ranked team in the country come Monday afternoon

Jake Taylor with the BTB goal, light up Grace Hall with the #1
Photo Credit: Fred Assaf

Light Up Grace Hall! As is customary when a University of Notre Dame team ascends to the #1 spot in the college polls, the #1 on top on Grace Hall is lit. Following the Fighting Irish’s throttling of Michigan on Saturday in Ann Arbor by a score of 18-8, and with UVA’s loss to Maryland at home, the Notre Dame should be the #1 ranked team in men’s college lacrosse by Monday afternoon.

The ND vs Michigan game was on the Big Ten Plus network, and as I tried to get the stream through the app, I was not able to somehow get the live feed. Note to those who run that specific app: I was ready to pay you $9.99 to watch this game, but due to me already paying $9.99 to watch the Irish play the Maryland Terrapins a few weeks ago, your app would not let me add on another team in order to get the game. I was ready to pay your channel the money (and then cancel right afterwards), but your app would not let me. I guess it is my loss in the end, but from a customer service standpoint, your app failed for the day.

Anyway, with all that being the case, I was not able to catch the game and still have not seen the full contest, but I was able to catch this 17 minute YouTube highlight reel which showcased all the goals during the game, both by ND and by Michigan:

So rather than go through my normal quarter by quarter analysis, I will go through some of the highlights and then cover off on some of the key points that I was able to gather based on the above video, ND’s Twitter feed (amazing job by the ND Twitter channel team highlighting so many goals) and the stat sheet.

Game Summary

The Irish got the scoring underway with Eric Dobson getting his 14th of the year in what is becoming a reoccurring theme with Dobson getting the first of the day for Notre Dame. The Wolverines tied things up at 1-1 a couple of minutes later, but that would be the closest they would get as the Irish got the next three (Pat Kavanagh, Dobson and Kavanagh again) to take a 4-1 advantage. The period ended with the Irish up 6-2 as Chris Kavanagh and Quinn McCahon tallied the last two, with McCahon’s coming with about a second left in the quarter. Across the second quarter the Irish took control, holding the Wolverines to zero goals while scoring three goals, with two coming from Jake Taylor and one coming from Jalen Seymour (the first of his career). This all meant that the Irish took a 9-3 lead into the break as they continued to look really good against their Big Ten schedule. And imposing his will in the first 30 minutes, Pat Kavanagh had two goals and four assists for six total points.

The second half was more of the same as Pat Kavanagh got the scoring going, followed by a Chris Kavanagh man up goal that had some pretty passing to make the score 11-2 Irish.

The Wolverines got a couple back before Jack Simmons scored to make it 12-4, then the teams traded goals down the stretch with Seymour getting his second on the day to make it 13-5 at the end of the third. Staring the fourth, the Irish scored the fist three across Chris Kavanagh, Simmons and Pat Kavanagh to make it 16-5. The Wolverines then tallied their sixth goal on the day, followed up by Reilly Gray and Fisher Finley scoring to make it 18-6 before the Irish changed goalies and brought in a lot of the reserves. Michigan scored the final two of the day to make the score an 18-8 final for our Irish.

Some Notes and Thoughts

I know we have talked about Liam Entenmann a lot this year, but not sure if we are giving him his full due as he is playing at a “best goalie in the country, first team All-American level.” We can all watch these games and see his great saves, but the important thing to note is his saves during critical times. So think of when the Irish were up 2-1 or 4-2 against Michigan and the saves he made in those situations. Goals in those scenarios either tie up the score or get the Wolverines within one, and both of those would be huge momentum changers. He is so good on so many levels, but it is looking back at these games and rewatching those saves where his brilliance comes more to light.

While it did not decide the outcome of the game, Michigan won 21 of the 30 faceoffs during the game. It would be interesting to see if there have been other games in college lacrosse where one team wins at least ten more faceoffs than the other team, but loses by ten or more goals. Btw, anyone out there want to look into this stat? I am not panicking as I have a lot of faith in Will Lynch, and he has come up clutch in the past, but would imagine no one wants to turn this around more than him. Tons of faith that we will get better here. Having said this, how good is the Irish defense in a game where we are pretty much having to defend to start possessions across two-thirds of the game? Kudos to that entire defensive effort from the LSMs to the SSDMs to the close defense to our goalie. We are continuing to prove ourselves as the BEST in the country on the defensive side of the ball. Awesome work by Coach Ryan Wellner.

To note on our Notre Dame defense: ND shut out Marquette in the third quarter, ND shut out Georgetown in the second quarter, ND shut out Maryland in the second quarter, ND shut out Ohio State in the third quarter and ND shut out Michigan in the second quarter. That is five out of six games this year where we have prevented the opponent from scoring a goal in a quarter. And against Cleveland State, ND allowed one goal in the first quarter and one goal in the second quarter. That is ELITE defense.

Quinn McCahon went down with an upper body injury and we will see what is his status is for this upcoming weekend, but hoping he is okay. He is a captain, he is one of the leaders on the team, and as we have mentioned before, he is one of the best two way middies in the whole country.

Filling in for Quinn was Jalen Seymour, and as we laid out in our 2023 team preview, “Jalen Seymour (could be a sleeper)” we were thinking some big things could be in store for Jalen this year. He has prototypical size at 6’4” and 210 lbs and dare we say he is a little bit smaller version of Eric Dobson? His two goals this weekend were both top shelf blasts and this will give him a lot of confidence as the season moves along. And regardless of any Irish injuries, the ability for the ND coaching staff to have confidence to play more across the midfield lines will be huge as the season moves along. Even adding one more player into the mix will make the team just that much fresher as the season wears on, and especially in top tier matchups where the second and third line midfield becomes ever more important.

We talked about in last week’s read on the victory versus Ohio State, but we can pretty much pencil in the Kavanagh brothers for ten points in each game. In Saturday’s matchup they totaled thirteen points with Pat’s ten points and Chris’ three points (three goals). It was Chris’ sixth straight hat trick on the season, but it was Pat who stole the show as he proved once again that he is one of the best, if not the BEST player in all of college lacrosse (YEAH, I said it). Content to be primarily a feeder so far this year, Pat had an all around complete game as he came out scoring and dishing assists. We have said it before, but it is pick your poison with the Kavanagh brothers, and in this game it was pick your poison with Pat. Stop him one on one and he will find the open man for a goal. Give him some space AND put a shortie on him? That is to your peril. Notre Dame lacrosse fans who haven’t already taken note, we are watching one of the greatest to ever put on an Irish uniform.

Jake Taylor scored two goals on the day as he is getting more and more comfortable being out there in a variety of situations (not just on the man up unit). It is probably just a matter of time before he is fully ready to go, back up to game speed and in better playing shape. Once that happens I think he takes over for Jeffery Ricciardelli in that third attack spot. This is nothing against Jeffery and what he has done this year, it is just that Taylor is unique with his ability to get open, his quick hands, his creativeness and his ability to find the back of the net. No matter what, getting Jake back gives us incredible depth on our attack and an additional finisher on our man up unit. Coach Wojcik and Coach Garnsey have so much to work with across those four and it’s exciting as the Irish are just scratching the surface around our offense. An attack of Kavanagh x2, Taylor and Ricciardelli can beat you in so many different ways, and that is a scary thing for opposing defenses.

Coming up Next

To note, look for a midweek Notre Dame lacrosse podcast from me and my “Exit 77” podcast. The last one we did was coming off the Irish win against Georgetown to get us to 3-0 on the season.

The Virginia Cavaliers are coming to Arlotta this weekend on Saturday, March 25th in what promises to be one of the best matchups of the whole lacrosse season. The Cavs have been unstoppable this year up until last weekend as they lost to Maryland in triple overtime, punctuated by one of the better save sequences you will ever see in an overtime situation.

The Cavaliers will probably be ranked #3, but don’t let that fool you, this is one of the most complete and downright scary teams in all of college lacrosse. They have a ton of depth, one of the best players in the country in Connor Shellenberger, and a defense that might be one of the tallest and all around biggest the Irish will face all year. Arlotta should be rocking, the students will be back from spring break and expect this one to be a sellout with the stands and the grass filled to capacity (come on weather, please be good!!). And yet again, another matchup that the Irish have had circled since last year as the Cavaliers beat us in Charlottesville 12-8 to get our record to 2-4 in 2022. Since that time, Coach Corrigan and our Irish have won their last twelve games.

If you live anywhere near South Bend, arrive early and do whatever you can to be in attendance at this game, this will be college lacrosse at the highest level and one that you will not want to miss.

Lastly, as always, check out our good friends at 18stripes for their thoughts on our Irish lacrosse team.

Let’s Go Irish! Beat Cavs!!