Notre Dame offense dominates in thrashing of Dartmouth
Greg Hadley | Tuesday, March 3, 2015
No. 3 Notre Dame’s offense, already off to a hot start this season, took things to another level Saturday afternoon in Loftus Sports Center, overwhelming Dartmouth, 20-5.
The 20 goals marked the program’s highest output since March 19, 2005, when the Irish (3-0) topped Butler 22-5. Notre Dame is averaging 17 goals per game this year, good for second in the country and almost six marks ahead of last year’s national finalist team (11.83).
The offensive outburst was keyed by 15 different Irish players who recorded a point in the contest, also a season-high.
“I gotta say, I was really pleased with the way our guys played,” Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We got up early and … most of the time you do that, you tend to get sloppy, look for shortcuts; you think everything is going to be easy, and our guys didn’t do that. We just played good, sound lacrosse.”
No Irish players scored more than three goals, but three — freshman attack Mikey Wynne, sophomore midfielder Sergio Perkovic and junior midfielder Cole Riccardi — recorded hat tricks. Meanwhile, freshman midfielder Pierre Byrne scored his first career goals, and junior midfielder Bobby Gray collected his first tally of the season.
“That depth is something you have to continue to build throughout the course of the year,” Corrigan said. “Getting a chance to play guys some real meaningful minutes was really important.”
The Irish jumped on the Big Green (0-2) early, taking a 2-0 lead within the game’s first six minutes. Dartmouth, however, responded with two goals in a 1:16 span to tie things up.
For the next 25 minutes, Notre Dame dominated play, going on a 14-0 run and putting the game out of reach. Eight different Irish players scored during that span, and by the end of it, the third quarter was halfway over, and Corrigan started to rotate in substitutes for his starters. From there, the Irish outscored the Big Green 4-3.
“You know, we were up,” Corrigan said. “It wasn’t, at some point, going to cost us the game to not play that [well]. But it’s nice because then it’s like, ‘All right, this is our identity. This isn’t just something we did today; this is our identity.’ And I like that.”
Junior attack Matt Kavanagh left the game leading all players with seven points, five of which came from assists.
Kavanagh led the Irish in goals each of the past two seasons but has expanded his game to deal with the increased defensive pressure he faces. Wynne leads Notre Dame with 13 goals and is tied for third in the nation, but Kavanagh leads in points (16) and tops the NCAA in assists per game.
The Irish defense had a relatively quiet day as Dartmouth managed just 18 shots compared to Notre Dame’s 50. Sophomore goalie Shane Doss allowed three goals and made six saves before making way for senior Conor Kelly. Notre Dame’s defense benefitted from Dartmouth’s struggle to clear the ball out of its defensive zone, Corrigan said. The Big Green successfully cleared the ball on just 14 out of 24 attempts. They are last in the nation in clearing percentage.
“We rode very well,” Corrigan said. “And I think we caused them some confusion in what they wanted to do with their clearing game. Our attack made it very hard for them.”
Notre Dame has the week off before it travels to Denver to face the No. 4 University of Denver on its home turf Saturday at 3 p.m.