Offense erupts in rout over Virginia
Greg Hadley | Monday, March 17, 2014
After three straight close games, No. 9 Notre Dame erupted in the second quarter Sunday against No. 10 Virginia and never looked back, cruising to an 18-9 victory and first place in the ACC early in the season.
“Our guys just made plays,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We went into the game knowing that they were the sort of team that forced you to make plays, and we came out and played athletically the whole game at both ends of the field and put away our opportunities.
Sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh led the way for the Irish (3-2, 2-0 ACC), who entered the game as underdogs against the Cavaliers (6-2, 1-1), then ranked seventh in the country. Kavanagh recorded four goals and two assists, scoring twice during a 7-1 run in the second quarter that gave Notre Dame a lead it would never relinquish at Loftus Sports Center. Eleven different players scored for the Irish, the most since the team’s opening win against Jacksonville on Feb. 16.“When we’re at our best, we’re going to have that depth,” Corrigan said. “We can score in a lot of different ways — out of the face-off, out of transition and unsettled play, [out of] riding and in man-up and man-down [situations]. We got goals in about every way, and that allowed for a lot of people to get in and share the wealth.”
Junior midfielder Nick Ossello added three goals for his first career hat trick and freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic scored his first two even-strength goals of the season on seven shots. The Irish outshot the Cavaliers, 40-26, collected more groundballs, 34-21, and converted on both of their man-up opportunities while holding Virginia to one goal on five man-up chances.
Senior midfielder Liam O’Connor turned in a season-best performance on face-offs, winning 19 of 24 matchups to bring his season win percentage up to 70.1 percent, good for first in the nation. O’Connor also scored once and added an assist, his first of the season.
“Liam dominated in the midfield and on face-offs, so we were playing make it, take it for a while,” Corrigan said.
The Irish offense scored in bursts, including a 5-0 streak in the second quarter and a 7-1 run in the fourth. The Virginia defense, which entered the game allowing 11 goals per game, surrendered 28 shots on goal and cleared the ball just once in the fourth quarter as the Irish scored nine goals in the period.
On defense, freshman goalkeeper Shane Doss recorded nine saves and took his second win of the season.
“Shane played very well on Sunday,” Corrigan said. “They got some good opportunities on him, and he made some really big saves for us. The fact that we were able to keep the ball away from them for long stretches was significant as well.”
Despite the win, Corrigan said he believes his squad can continue to improve, especially so early in the season.
“We need to improve in all areas, really,” Corrigan said. “Our six-on-six can get better on both ends. … There’s still an awful lot of season to go, but it’s nice to get a good win on the board. … Still, there’s more ahead of us then behind us and we need to get back to work this week.”
The Irish do not play again until March 25, when they travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State at 4 p.m.