Shorthanded ND coasts to victory
Brian Plamondon | Thursday, February 25, 2016
No Matt Kavanagh, no problem.
No. 1 Notre Dame was without arguably its best player Wednesday night but still took care of business against Bellarmine, besting the Knights 11-6 at Loftus Sports Center.
Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said the senior attack’s absence was injury related and that he will be re-evaluated before a decision is made regarding his availability for Saturday’s home game.
“It’s not something that’s going to be all season long but we don’t want it to be something that drags on,” Corrigan said. “If he’s not ready 100 percent we won’t put him in there.”
Without Kavanagh, Notre Dame (2-0) turned to senior attack Eddy Lubowicki. Making just his second career start, Lubowicki led the Irish with four goals, including one that opened the scoring 3:20 into the first quarter.
Despite not having the spotlight on him and with only nine collegiate goals to his name, Lubowicki said it did not feel out of the ordinary to have a breakthrough game.
“It’s funny, on our team we’re all playing as hard as we can every day,” Lubowicki said. “It feels like I’m part of the team all year long, all four years, because you’re competing every day with your best friends, your friends that are All-Americans. You’re practicing against them. So [today felt normal].”
Lubowicki’s opening tally was followed by goals from two midfielders — junior Ben Pridemore and senior Bobby Gray — which put Notre Dame up 3-0 less than seven minutes in.
Bellarmine (1-2) finally got on the board with a Brian Wall goal with 2:23 to play in the first quarter.
Notre Dame did not look back from there, jumping out to an 8-3 lead by halftime with two more goals from Lubowicki and then one each from freshman attack Ryder Garnsey and sophomore midfielder Brendan Collins.
“That can be a real strength for us — that we have a lot of people who can make plays for us,” Corrigan said.
Notre Dame came out much slower in the second half. After a Garnsey goal to extend the lead to 9-3 just over three minutes into the third quarter, the Irish would not score again until six minutes left in the game. Much of that stretch was without last year’s second leading goal-scorer in sophomore attackman Mikey Wynne, who Corrigan pulled after Wynne took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“[The second half] was a factor of us losing our focus and just not doing the things we needed to do,” Corrigan said. “… We thought it was going to be easy, and as a result we made it harder [for us].”
After a mini-Bellarmine run of two goals in the third quarter to cut the lead to 9-5, Collins broke the drought at 6:00. Each team would add one more tally before all was said and done, Notre Dame’s being Lubowicki’s fourth.
Notre Dame now turns its attention to 0-2 Detroit, a team that saw its Wednesday night tilt against Michigan postponed due to weather.
After he only scored three goals last season, the Titans are led by senior midfielder Andy Hebden, who has scored five goals this year. They also return their top attack in sophomore Mark Anstead, who was second on the team with 21 goals last season while adding 17 assists.
The last time the two teams played was the 2013 NCAA Championship first-round, where the Irish outlasted the Titans 9-7. Corrigan said he has not dug deep into what Detroit brings to the table, but he remembers their style from a few years ago.
Notre Dame will face Detroit on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.