Coming off a tough loss to UVA and relinquishing our #1 ranking, the Irish were looking to get back to our winning ways on Saturday in Syracuse, New York. Facing a young but talented team in the Orange, the Irish played maybe their best offensive quarter of the year in the 4th quarter, leading to a 20-12 Irish win in the Dome. The victory sets up a #1 Duke vs #2 Notre Dame matchup in Arlotta this upcoming Saturday at 4 PM EST on ESPNU.
Let’s take a look at how it all went down in the Dome as the Irish won for their sixth straight time against the Cuse...
The Irish got off to a great start as we took a 5-0 lead with just over 4 minutes to go in the period. Jake Taylor got things underway with a nice goal from the inside, then Eric Dobson rattled one in on a man-up opportunity, followed by Pat Kavanagh, Reilly Gray and then Kavanagh again. Seeing three points (2G, 1A) from Pat Kavanagh early on in the first was nothing new as he has played so well against Syracuse in his career (believe he has averaged something like nine points a game against them). The Cuse then got a couple back to make the score 5-2 before Taylor finished off the scoring with six seconds left to get us to 6-2 Irish after the first.
Taylor started things off for Notre Dame getting his third goal of the game and then Dobson scored again down the alley to make it 8-2 with just over 11 minutes to go in the period. Syracuse then got five of the next six goals (Jack Simmons scoring for the Irish) as we went into the half with a score of 9-7 Irish. Two of the goals for the Orange came on man-up opportunities when Pat and Chris Kavanagh got penalties during the same sequence with Chris’ being unreleasable and the Cuse capitalizing on a 6 on 4 and then 6 on 5 situation.
The Irish got off to a quick start with back to back goals from Reilly Gray and Chris Kavanagh to take an 11-7 lead before the Cuse got the next four goals to knot the score at 11-11 at the end of the third. The eleventh goal by the Orange was courtesy of Saam Olexo as he stripped the Irish of the ball, picked it up, made a pass, got a pass back, made a pass and then got it back....before scoring. It was a pretty nice play by their defender.
We will dedicate a lot of our talk around this quarter in our “Some Notes and Thoughts” section, but the Cuse got things going with a goal from Cole Kirst to take a 12-11 lead. Following that, the Irish got an unreal save by Liam Entenmann to stop the Cuse on the doorstep that then led to a fast break goal by Nick Harris tying things at 12-12. Liam’s save was controversial as it looked like the ball maybe crossed the plane of the goal line, and lots of Syracuse’s team thought it did as well. It was a bang bang play and one can see both sides of the call (whether or not Entenmann corralled the ball before it crossed the line even though his stick then crossed the line with the ball). We could spend four paragraphs talking about this play and the rule book, but in the end, if you are an ND fan, you were happy and if you are a Cuse fan, you were upset. I can see both sides of the call, but let’s just call it even for the Irish after the refs gave Ohio State a goal against us last year that took place after the buzzer (it was a crucial goal in that game as well).
Following Harris’ goal, the Irish then scored the next eight goals in dominating fashion as they played make it take it for the vast majority of the quarter. And all credit to Will Lynch as he had an amazing game at the faceoff dot and was unstoppable in the fourth (more to come later in our read). Scoring next for the Irish in the fourth we saw Chris Kavanagh get us to 13-12, then Taylor got his fourth of the day, followed by Griffin Westlin tallying a huge goal to make it 15-12 Irish. From there Reilly Gray, Chris Kavanagh, Brian Tevlin and Eric Dobson scored to make it 19-12 Irish before Carter Parlette got his first career goal to make the final score a 20-12 win for Notre Dame. The Irish moved to 7-1 overall and 1-1 in the ACC on the season.
Some Notes and Thoughts
Will Lynch was easily the MVP of this game as he helped propel the Irish to 23-36 at the faceoff dot. His 4th quarter was absolutely beautiful and at one point he won seven in a row with the Irish scoring goal after goal. Lynch did a tremendous job of winning the ball to himself and he was a vacuum on ground balls (13 ground balls for him in the game). It was so good to see him have the type of outing we all know he is capable of, and as we have said throughout this year in our articles, we have confidence in Will, and we knew it was just a matter of time before he had a game like this. Next up for him is winning one to himself and going down and scoring (keep an eye out for that here soon, maybe this weekend).
Early on in the game the Irish again struggled to clear the ball, and after one of the clears where the Irish were called offsides, you could tell that Coach Corrigan was upset at the officials. I rewound the replay on my phone and I could see what he was upset about (screen grab image below where the Irish were called offsides).
As you can see, the Irish were utilizing a clear where Nick Harris would go to the top of the field and stay back which would allow our defenseman to take the ball over the midfield line and stay onside. The official at the top could not see Harris behind him and with the Irish running both their defenseman and another player back to the midfield line, one could see how the refs missed Harris and called the Irish offsides. Great work by Coach Corrigan alerting the officials to what the Irish were doing as we employed this clear the rest of the game and were not ruled offsides again.
Additionally, we have talked about this before around our clears, but love the job Nick Harris does, he is so fast and sometimes the best clear is when you can give the ball to a player like Harris and just let him run. And his score to make the game 12-12 was a huge goal and a game changing play (following Liam’s acrobatic save).
Not sure if this was noticed by many people, but after Kirst scored to make the score 12-11 Syracuse, Ross Burgmaster was subbed in for Chris Conlin. It really was not something talked about on the broadcast as from that point on the Irish basically controlled the ball and the Orange did not really get the ball in their offensive end. It was not Conlin’s best game, but Kirst is tough to defend as he is a big guy who attacks with a head of steam. Looking forward to a good comeback game from Conlin this weekend, but also we know Burgmaster is there and he is a beyond capable backup.
The Cuse have a lethal man-up unit and they also have some serious firepower from the wings within their regular offensive sets. They scored a lot of their goals with some blasts from goal line extended and about five yards off the goal line. It is a tough angle to defend with their sidewinding shots and it was an area where they saw success against Entenmann during the game.
Continued great work by Jose Boyer in the middle of the field. He does such a good job on ground balls and on one of the only faceoffs that Lynch lost in the 4th quarter, Boyer was there to pester the Cuse player who came up with the ground ball and caused a turnover, essentially giving the Irish the faceoff win.
Great to see Griffin Westlin getting some run with the midfield line and scoring to give the Irish a 15-12 lead. He will continue to be a player that we will need in the second half of the season (especially in May) as he provides depth and experience in big games.
Pat Kavanagh became the all time assists leader in Notre Dame lacrosse history as he hit 111 for his career on his dish to Westlin. So beyond deserved for Kavanagh and we are lucky we get to watch probably the greatest to ever put on an Irish uniform. Congrats Pat!
Inside Lacrosse came out with their midseason All-Americans and would imagine it has only fueled our Irish even more with not one member of our team named to the first team. Pat Kavanagh, Brian Tevlin and Liam Entenmann all made the second team with Chris Kavanagh, Eric Dobson and Quinn McCahon being honorable mention. Noticeably absent was anyone from Notre Dame’s close defense, SSDM or LSM units. Pretty difficult to understand their omission with the Irish having one of the best and most efficient defenses in the country. And even harder to see these lists when members from the Georgetown and Ohio State defenses were on the second and third team. Remind us again what happened when the Irish played those two teams?
We will finally get that #1 vs #2 matchup that we all expected to see when Virginia came to South Bend two weekends ago, but this time it will be #1 Duke coming to Arlotta to take on #2 Notre Dame. Once again, this promises to be must watch lacrosse and if you have the chance to get to campus, get there early to see the Irish warm up, watch the bagpipes come out and then get ready for what will be an awesome matchup. And we all know the Berm will be packed with students. The Blue Devils are playing some really good lacrosse right now and they are led by Brennan O’Neill, one of the more overpowering attackmen in all of lacrosse. Additionally, they have found a new spot for Andrew McAdorey as he has settled in at attack after playing midfield last year. Lastly, this game always tends to be a Chaminade (Notre Dame) vs St. Anthony’s (Duke) contest as both teams are loaded with players from these Long Island lacrosse rivals. Let’s Go Irish, time to get ready to LIGHT UP GRACE HALL AGAIN.
Finally, don’t forget to check out our good friends at 18stripes for their review of the Irish as well.