Irish upset by Wolverines in midweek matchup
Marek Mazurek | Thursday, March 22, 2018
Last year when Michigan and Notre Dame met at Arlotta Stadium, the Irish coasted to a 16-5 win.
This year, the game was about as close as could be.
Down 8-6 entering the fourth quarter, the fourth-ranked Irish (4-2, 1-0 ACC) fought tooth and nail with the Wolverines (6-2, 0-0 Big Ten) to tie the score at 8-8 and 10-10. But ultimately, Notre Dame came up short in the final minutes, falling to Michigan 13-12 on Wednesday.
“You have to save the ball and stop teams. We didn’t do that,” Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said.
With 7:42 left in the quarter, a mad scramble in front of the Michigan net resulted in sophomore midfielder Brian Willetts somehow getting control of the ball and scoring while falling over to make it 10-10.
The Irish appeared to take the lead off a good cut to the net by senior attack Mikey Wynne, but he was called for a crease violation.
And the Wolverines took advantage, scoring the game’s next two goals, going up 12-10. With under five minutes left to play, the Irish needed to score quickly. Junior attack Ryder Garnsey obliged, making a wrap-around play with 3:20 left to play to make it 12-11.
A Michigan goal with 2:15 remaining seemed to cement the win, but Garnsey answered again, giving the Irish a chance with just over one minute to play.
But the Irish hopes fell short when Garnsey was called for a crease violation — the second in the fourth quarter for the Irish — and Michigan ran out the rest of the clock.
“We had two crease violations in the fourth quarter; you can’t have crease violations,” Corrigan said. “That’s absurd. The crease doesn’t move.”
“I have to do a better job of setting up the pick,” Garnsey said of the final crease violation. “I put [senior midfielder] Pierre [Byrne] in a tough situation, really pinned him right up against there in the crease with not much room for movement.”
Garnsey finished the day with five goals and an assist to lead the Irish scoring effort. Sophomore midfielder Bryan Costabile picked up a hat trick as well, scoring three goals on five shots on goal.
“Every week, someone’s got to step up,” Garnsey said of his performance. “Today was just a day I found myself in a position to take some shots. I’m sure next week someone else will step up.”
The first quarter saw Michigan jump out to an early lead. The Wolverines got on the board just one minute into the game, as Wolverines junior midfielder and leading goal-scorer Brent Noseworthy fired one past Irish freshman goalkeeper Matt Schmidt.
Byrne and Costabile scored goals for the Irish in the opening period, but Notre Dame trailed 3-2 at the end of the quarter — the first time the Irish trailed after the first quarter since their 12-10 loss to Maryland on March 3.
The later stages of the first period and early stages of the second saw a couple of good looks for Notre Dame, but senior Wolverines goalie Tommy Heidt stood tall.
Senior Irish attack Mikey Wynne broke through on a Notre Dame man-up advantage with 11:27 left in the second quarter, tying the game up at 3-3. The Irish could not capitalize on a second man-up advantage, however, and Noseworthy made the Irish pay with a behind-the-back goal to put Michigan up 4-3.
The Wolverines struck again on a laser shot by junior midfielder Decker Curran from the top of the offensive zone. But Garnsey answered with just six seconds left on the clock to make it 5-4 before halftime.
“We’re not going to quit,” Corrigan said of the halftime deficit. “I’m not ever concerned about that. I know our guys are going to keep playing. But you can’t give away as many plays as we gave away.”
The Irish wasted no time tying the game, as Costabile struck again just 1:01 into the third quarter to make it 5-5.
After Noseworthy completed his hat trick on a man-up opportunity, Garnsey answered again for the Irish to tie the game again at 6-6.
The third quarter remained a neck-and-neck affair — the two teams even hit shots on the crossbar on back-to-back possessions — but a goal for Noseworthy, his fourth of the day, in the final 20 seconds of the third quarter gave Michigan an 8-6 lead heading into the fourth.
Just as they had started the third quarter with a quick goal to tie the game, the Irish tied up the score again less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Right off the faceoff, senior long-stick midfielder John Sexton gained possession and drove right to the Michigan zone and fired a shot past Heidt. Just a few moments later, Costabile completed his hat trick to tie the game at 8-8.
But the Irish didn’t have enough answers and fell short to the Wolverines, who picked up their second win ever against a ranked opponent.
“We said to our guys at halftime, ‘The winning goals haven’t been scored.’ We said it at the end of the third quarter,” Corrigan said. “But we allowed them to make the winning goals. You have to get stops. We don’t give up 13 goals. We don’t give up 13 goals to the best teams in the country. We gave up 13 goals today — that’s my fault we weren’t prepared to do better than that.”
Next up for Notre Dame is a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State on Sunday at noon.