In what can only be described as the game of the year so far in college lacrosse, the #2 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat the #4 ranked Maryland Terrapins 13-12 in triple overtime in College Park, MD on Saturday afternoon. The game was played in front of over 6,000 fans on a sunny, but windy day, with the final tally coming from Pat Kavanagh on a left-handed on the run bouncer from up top. Kavanagh beat Brett Makar on the play in a one on one battle which paired two pre-season Tewaaraton Award favorites.
The final goal by Kavanagh also saw a storming of the field by the entire Irish team which followed one of the better goal celebrations you will see. And for those who have followed Irish lacrosse for a long time, we have all seen some great celebrations by Matt Kavanagh, Chris and Pat’s older brother. This one might be the best one yet.
This victory was another STATEMENT. MADE. for this year’s team as we have talked a lot about the need to complete unfinished business from last season. And when the 2023 schedule came out, the first two games that were circled were the back to back East coast trips with matchups against the Hoyas and the Terrapins. These two teams both beat the Irish last year, they were the #1 and #2 seeds in the NCAA tournament last year, and Maryland won the national championship last year. The two losses that the Irish had against these foes in 2022 were seen by the NCAA tournament selection committee as “great you kept those games close, but we need to see wins” and were part of the reason the committee felt they could leave out the #4 ranked Irish and not let us prove things out on the field in the tournament last year.
Enough is enough and this year’s Irish team is here to prove themselves to EVERYONE. Each week that we vanquish other teams is another step toward redemption and showing everyone once again, that for the third year in a row, Notre Dame is one of, if not the most complete team in all of college lacrosse.
There was a cathartic moment when Pat Kavanagh’s goal went into the back of the net with a little over 2 minutes left in the third overtime. And you could see the team’s emotions as they have been building for these moments since May of last year when the seedings were announced and the Irish were not named. STATEMENT. MADE. AGAIN.
Now let’s take a look back at the game and share some thoughts.
It’s a shame that the game was not on one of the ESPN channels or the regular Big Ten Network, instead it was on the Big Ten + so I had to sign up for a monthly pass and watch the game on my phone on the app. Watching on a small screen was tough enough, but the camera angles made it even harder. Note to Maryland and the camera crews: there has to be another way to get an angle that is closer to the action. Really hard to follow along at such a high level.
The Terps got out to a 1-0 lead before the Irish scored three in a row, one from Brian Tevlin with a rocket up top, Chris Kavanagh with a bouncer coming from behind the goal and then Quinn McCahon scored off a nice feed from Eric Dobson. It was 3-1 at this point and the Irish were starting to settle in even as Maryland started to control possession and own a lot more shots taken than the Irish. Maryland then got the next three goals (two of them on man up situations) to take a 4-3 lead at the end of the first.
The Irish got the scoring underway in the second quarter with Bryce Walker tying the score at 4-4 under a minute into the frame. A little less than a minute after that, Pat Kavanagh hit a cutting Tevlin in front to put the Irish up 5-4, and that is where the score would stand as we headed into the break. The Irish defense did a tremendous job in this quarter as they held the Terps to zero goals, even as Maryland finished the first half having outshooting the Irish 30-15.
Will Lynch won the first four faceoffs of the quarter, and while that was good news for the Irish, we saw Maryland take the lead back as they scored the first two goals of the half to go up 6-5 before Dobson tied the score at 6-6 with 9:51 left in the period. Jack Simmons then got the next two goals for the Irish to make it 8-6 before Maryland got the next three, culminating with some sick passing and a finish out front to give the Terps a 9-8 lead at the end of the quarter.
Pat Kavanagh and McCahon got the scoring started for the Irish in the fourth as we went back up 10-9 before Maryland tied it at 10-10 with just under ten minutes to go. Shortly after, Maryland got a goal to make it 11-10 and then there was a lot of back and forth before Maryland went up 12-10 with 3:50 to go. Will Lynch then had a huge faceoff win, Reilly Gray took it from up top to make the score 12-11 and then with just under 2 minutes to go, Chris Kavanagh tied it up at 12-12 with a dynamic, diving goal.
This view of the Klutch Kavanaghs >>>— Inside Lacrosse (@Inside_Lacrosse) March 4, 2023
Chris Kavanagh tied it with a diving effort to send it to OT and Pat Kavanagh finished the game in 3OT with an elite celebration for @NDlacrosse.
Both teams then had possessions before the final buzzer sounded and we headed into overtime with the score knotted at 12-12.
In college lacrosse, overtime is a four minute session and it is score a goal and go home. There is a tremendous advantage to the team who wins the faceoff as they then have possession and can either force an unsettled situation or eventually call a timeout and draw up a play for the win. Let’s give a huge shout out to the Irish defense here as across the three overtimes, the Irish lost the faceoff each time and had to defend and stop the Terps before we could get a chance to score and win. Our defensive unit played great on ball and help defense and really limited the scoring chances that the Terrapins had in the extra sessions. When the Irish had the ball, we had a few great chances, but there were some really good saves from the Maryland goalie Brian Ruppel on Jeffery Ricciardelli and both Pat and Chris Kavanagh.
Finally, in the third overtime, the Irish got possession, we called a timeout and then Pat Kavanagh did the rest as the Irish won an epic battle with a final score of 13-12.
Some Notes and Thoughts
Notre Dame had the ball for 26:37, compared to 43:17 for Maryland. The Terps also outshot the Irish 55-39 and won the ground ball battle 46-31. These are stats the Irish will want to improve upon this week in practice, but the good news is that even though these numbers were not the best, we still won the game.
For the second week in a row, the inside attack of the Irish was stymied. Ricciardelli did not really see the ball as Maryland did a really good job of shutting him down and not letting him get loose on the interior. This is something the Irish will need to figure out as we really need to get production going from this spot moving forward. We all saw what Ricciardelli can do as he was unstoppable against Marquette, but as we have gone up against more stout defenses, he has not been able to get loose.
The Irish midfield continues their scoring ways as they accounted for nine goals against Maryland. They are really stepping up this year, and once again, if teams try to shut down the Irish attack, the Irish midfield will make you pay.
The playing roster got tight this week and that usually happens when going up against top tier competition. I really liked what we saw from our LSMs (Will Donovan and Jose Boyer) and thought our SSDMs (Nick Harris and Ben Ramsey in particular) did a great job as well. The Irish were able to hold the Terrapins to twelve goals and they did not score over the last almost 14 minutes of the game.
The close defense and goalie play was stellar. Cannot say enough good things about Liam Entenmann, Chris Fake, Chris Conlin, Marco Napolitano and Ross Burgmaster. There is a reason this is considered one of the top units in all of college lacrosse (btw, the Terps did not score in the second quarter).
I would imagine we will see the Irish working a lot again this week on our clearing game. I counted three offsides when we were trying to clear the ball and you could tell how frustrated Coach Corrigan was with this aspect of our game. It can be fixed so let’s see how we continue working on this in the weeks ahead.
Will Lynch had some really good stretches against Luke Wierman (maybe the best faceoff in D1), but all in all, sure he would love to see an improvement from 11-31.
Three man ups for Maryland and zero for the Irish? Really?
As mentioned in some of the other other articles already written, Jake Taylor was on the field for that game winning goal. Word is that he is getting closer to being fully ready to go and here is what Coach Corrigan had to say about him being out there for that final play: ““He’s a clever guy. He gets in people’s way out there.” “Jake is the best pick guy we have. He and Pat have a nice ability to read each other.” Adding Taylor back into the mix will make the Irish even more dangerous.
I’ve been saying it to all who will listen, and as I have stated before, Notre Dame has had one of the most complete teams in all of college lacrosse for the last three years. And here is what Pat Kavanagh said after the game, “Our depth this year is just unbelievable. We truly believe we are the most complete team in the country.”
What’s Next for the Irish
Notre Dame is back in action next weekend on Saturday the 11th with a 2 PM EST matchup at Arlotta against the Ohio State Buckeyes. This is another chance for the Irish to get some payback as the Irish lost last year to OSU in Columbus. It’s another opportunity to continue building on what we are trying to accomplish this year and also win our eleventh game in a row.
And don’t forget to catch up on what our good friends at 18Stripes have to say about the Irish lacrosse team.
Let’s Go Irish!