Irish drop tough road battle to No. 7 Duke
Benjamin Padanilam | Tuesday, April 11, 2017
No. 10 Notre Dame stumbled on the road this past weekend, falling for the second straight game to an ACC rival in an 11-8 loss to No. 7 Duke.
Coming off a close loss to top-ranked Syracuse, the Irish (5-3, 1-2 ACC) were looking to bounce back with a win over the Blue Devils (9-3, 2-1) at Koskinen Stadium on Saturday. And it appeared as though they were well on their way to doing that early in the first quarter, as Irish junior attack Mikey Wynne took a pass from senior midfielder and captain Sergio Perkovic and converted a behind-the-back shot into the game’s first goal less than one minute into play.
Yet the one-goal advantage would last less than six minutes for the Irish, as Duke went on a 4-0 scoring run to take a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Although Wynne, Perkovic and sophomore Irish attack Ryder Garnsey would score goals over the course of the rest of the half, the Blue Devils would add two more to their total to carry a 6-4 lead into the half.
Despite allowing the game’s opening score just a minute into the quarter, the Blue Devils dominated the shot column throughout the rest of the half, as they tallied as many shots in the first quarter (11) as the Irish did in the entire first half. However, Garnsey said he thought the quality of the team’s shots were high, but Duke’s senior goalkeeper Danny Fowler made it difficult for the Irish to convert on those opportunities.
“I really felt like our offense did a lot of good things, especially in the first half, but their goalie played well, and we had a tough time finishing,” Garnsey said. “In the second half, we just hurt ourselves, as we pressed a little bit too much when we found ourself in a bit of a hole.”
That “hole” to start the second half featured two goals by the Blue Devils within the first four minutes of the third quarter. And though the Irish were able to pick up one of their own, two more Duke goals over the course of the remainder of the quarter pushed the Blue Devils’ lead to 10-5 entering the game’s final quarter. Garnsey said the Irish offense didn’t make any changes that led to the struggles in the third quarter, but the unit pressed a little too much and was not as clean in executing the game plan as a result.
“[The offense] didn’t change that much honestly in the second half, especially when we were already getting a lot of good shots like we were in the first half [Saturday],” Garnsey said. “When you act like you are running out of time and pressing, then it’s really hard to be effective.”
The deficit would prove too much for the Irish to overcome, as they would outshoot the Blue Devils 13-5 in the final period on their way to a 3-1 scoring advantage, but still fell by a final score of 11-8. Garnsey said he thought the team could have done a better job of staying composed after falling behind early in the first quarter and finishing around the net, but he expects both of those areas to see improvement quickly.
“[We need to work on] maintaining our composure when we go down a few goals,” Garnsey said. “With that said, I think we’ve done a good job of that historically in the 1 1/2 years I’ve been here, so I don’t think that will be a problem. Also, I think the guys that we count on to make plays and score goals need to do so. I think both myself and Mikey [Wynne] need to do a much better job of finishing around the goal. We had six shots from under six yards in the first half and only wound up with four goals, with two of them coming from outside of six yards.”
Now, as the Irish prepare for a midweek game Tuesday night against an unranked Marquette squad — the first unranked team the Irish will have played in its last seven games — Garnsey said he expects the team to learn from its mistakes in its last two losses and execute better going forward.
“I think we try to learn as much as we can from each game that we play, both wins and losses. It’s just more obvious that you’ve got things to work on when you lose some games,” he said. “I think we just need to make sure we actually have learned from the mistakes we’ve made in previous games and stick to the game plan that our coaches put forward for us.”
The Irish and the Golden Eagles (6-3, 2-1 Big East) will square off at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Arlotta Stadium.