Irish halt midseason stumble
Brian Plamondon | Tuesday, April 8, 2014
After a slow start, No. 18 Notre Dame’s offense came on strong in the second half to put away Marquette 12-7 on Tuesday in Milwaukee.Notre Dame (5-4, 2-2 ACC) relied on a balanced attack to secure the victory, with six different players scoring. None of those goals were by Notre Dame’s sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh, who leads the team with 20 goals and is on the Tewaaraton Award watch list, an honor that is given annually to college lacrosse’s most outstanding American player. Kavanagh had two assists in his second straight game not scoring a goal.
“[Matt] is our best offensive player, but we can’t become an offense that is centered on him,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We need to find the right balance of him making plays and others making plays.”
Instead, Notre Dame was paced by senior midfielder Jim Marlatt and sophomore midfielder Trevor Brosco, both of whom netted their first hat tricks of the season. Junior attackman Conor Doyle added two tallies for the Irish, as did senior attackman John Scioscia. The other Notre Dame goals came from sophomore midfielder/attackman Bobby Gray and freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic.
“We were trying to find a way to play that allows us to make plays but still possess the ball,” Corrigan said. “If we do that effectively I think we have a lot of guys scoring goals, and it opens up a lot of opportunities.”
Marquette (4-8, 2-1 Big East) had been winners of three of their past five games before the setback against Notre Dame. Through their first 11 games they have relied on senior attackman Tyler Melnyk, who leads all Marquette scorers with 32 goals. Melynk, however, missed the game due to injury.
“[Melnyk’s absence] didn’t radically alter anything for us,” Corrigan said. “They had to force a few more things, but it didn’t change our game plan.”
Irish senior midfielder and face-off man Liam O’Connor struggled with draws as he won just 11 of 20, well below his season average of 62 percent. Between the pipes, freshman goalie Shane Doss stopped just five shots for the Irish while giving up the seven tallies.
“We haven’t been consistent enough at that end of the field all year,” Corrigan said. “Decision-making, fundamentals, goaltending — it’s not on one guy.”
Notre Dame found itself in a tight match for most of the game, taking just a 4-2 lead into halftime. The Golden Eagles came out hot in the second half, with sophomore midfielder Kyle Whitlow and freshman midfielder Ryan McNamara scoring in quick succession to open the second half. Both players scored two goals for Marquette to lead the team. After the teams traded goals in the third quarter to move the score to 7-6 Notre Dame, the Irish closed on a 5-1 run to seal the victory. Notre Dame’s man-up unit that went 3-for-4 on the day.
“We’ve been really good at that all year,” Corrigan said. “We have good personnel that are smart and patient with the opportunities they are given.”
Notre Dame will now have another quick turnaround while it gets set to play its third game in eight days.
“We need to get our legs back under us and get our guys excited and confident, playing with good energy,” Corrigan said. “We’ll focus on the next game and continuing to get better as we go along.”
The Irish will return home Saturday, when they play Robert Morris at 1 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.