Kavanagh leads Notre Dame past Buckeyes
Brian Plamondon | Tuesday, March 25, 2014
After a half-hour delay due to snow, Matt Kavanagh’s offensive fireworks propelled the No. 7 Irish to their first win streak of the season and a 13-7 victory against a struggling Ohio State squad Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.
The win was the Notre Dame’s 12th-straight against Ohio State (2-6, 1-0 ECAC), its oldest rival, giving Notre Dame (4-2, 2-0 ACC) a 30-9 advantage in the all-time varsity series.
The sophomore attackman Kavanagh tied a single-game school record with seven goals, adding an assist along the way. Kavanagh now has 20 goals on the season, and his 3.33 goals per game is good for fifth in the nation. He led a second quarter charge, scoring three of his goals in 4:38 to help Notre Dame take a 5-2 advantage into halftime.“Today, [Kavanagh] was really opportunistic in the way he scored,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “He had three goals that were really out of unsettled situations that he took advantage of. When we run good offense it’s hard for a defense to slide to him. When they can’t slide to him, somebody’s in trouble.”
The Irish scored in bunches, using a 5-0 run in the second quarter and then a 5-0 run to close the game and shut the door on a possible Ohio State comeback. Two goals from junior attackman Conor Doyle, as well as one apiece from the midfield quartet of senior Jim Marlatt, freshman Sergio Perkovic, junior Jack Near and senior Liam O’Connor, rounded out the scoring for the Irish.
“We’re a significantly better team than we were three weeks ago,” Corrigan said. “We’re starting to realize what options two, three and four are when people take away your best. We have a lot of interesting pieces. When you get to the end of the year, you need them all when you want to win that last game.”
Aside from Kavanagh, O’Connor produced another strong outing for Notre Dame as he won 15 of his 24 faceoffs to put him third in national faceoff winning percentage on the season. O’Connor was also a recent addition to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, the trophy given annually to the most outstanding American college lacrosse player. He joins Kavanagh and senior defender Stephen O’Hara on the list.
“He’s probably the best all-around lacrosse player of the top faceoff guys in the country,” Corrigan said. “He’s the antithesis of the FOGO [faceoff, get off]. That’s a huge advantage to us.”On the opposite end of the field, freshman goalie Shane Doss had another strong outing. In his third-consecutive start, Doss was not tested too often by the Buckeye offense. Just 12 of its 22 shots were on goal, giving Doss five saves on the day.
The win was an ugly win for the Irish, who did so in ugly weather that dumped a few inches of snow onto the field before the game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. They committed 20 turnovers, which Corrigan attributed to the conditions.
“We just did what we needed to do to win,” Corrigan said. “It’s hard to look at what we did today as a huge step forward, but we won a tough game in tough circumstances.”
Notre Dame will return to ACC action this Saturday, when it travels to Syracuse, N.Y., to battle the No. 10 Orange at 12 p.m.