Two goals in final minute lift Notre Dame over Marquette 7-6
Benjamin Padanilam | Thursday, April 12, 2018
Looking to get back to its winning ways after losing consecutive games for the first time this season, No. 15 Notre Dame scored twice in the final minute to squeeze out a 7-6 win over Marquette in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
The Irish (6-4, 1-2 ACC) were coming off back-to-back losses to Syracuse and Duke, respectively, having been outscored 18-8 in those games. Wednesday night seemed to be opportune for them to right the ship, as they owned a 6-0 all-time record over the Golden Eagles (5-5, 2-1 Big East) prior to their matchup in Milwaukee.
But early on, it seemed as though the Irish might struggle to do that. Despite sophomore attack Brian Willetts scoring the game’s first goal and outshooting Marquette 11-4 in the first quarter, the Irish found themselves down 3-1 heading into the second quarter, as the Golden Eagles converted on all three of their shots on goal in the first period.
“I thought we played good offense in the first quarter, but we didn’t do much with our shots,” Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “Their [goalie] made a couple saves [and] we didn’t do much with the shots — that’s an ongoing issue for us. We’ve got to do a better job of putting the ball in the back of the net.”
However, the Irish were able to tie the game up in the second quarter, as senior midfielder Jordan Walter and sophomore midfielder Thomas McNamara both scored their first career goals to bring the score to 3-3.
“That was huge. That’s a group, that second midfield group, that hasn’t played a lot, and they got the chance to play today and they did a great job with the opportunities that they got,” Corrigan said. “We played a couple older guys like Jordan Walter and [senior midfielder] Austin Gaiss on that second midfield along with Tom McNamara, and that group came in and did exactly what we wanted them to do. So I’m very happy with the contributions that we got from them.”
Though the Golden Eagles would add one more before the half to take a 4-3 lead into the locker room, the Irish were able to come out with two quick goals in the third quarter to reclaim the lead at 5-4, as freshman attack Mikey Drake scored less than a minute into the period before senior long-stick midfielder John Sexton added another just over a minute later. The Irish would carry that lead into the fourth quarter, as they were able to hold the Golden Eagles scoreless and without a shot on goal in the third quarter, even after being two men down for most of the final minute of the period.
“That was huge. I mean, it really was,” Corrigan said. “To be two men down against a very good man-up team, and we got that [stop] and then another stop — that was really big. It would have been a huge momentum play for them to get that goal at that point, and I thought it just gave our defense confidence for the rest of the game.”
But that lead would not last, as the Golden Eagles managed to score twice by the midway point of the fourth quarter to reclaim the lead, 6-5, with 7:24 remaining in the game. For roughly the next seven minutes, the Irish would trail by that deficit.
But with just over a minute left in the game, the Irish defense forced a crucial turnover to regain possession. And with 42 seconds on the clock, Irish sophomore midfielder Bryan Costabile — who had missed the Duke game with an undisclosed injury and did not start in this contest — came through with his 18th goal of the season to tie the game at 6-6.
“It’s twofold: It’s the emotional lift we get from him being back out there, and then obviously he makes a play like that and it makes an awfully big difference,” Corrigan said of Costabile’s return. “It’s great to have him back out there. He really played [Wednesday] with virtually no practice over the past couple weeks, and so for him to be able to step in and contribute in that situation was tremendous.”
Notre Dame did not stop there, however. After winning just their third face-off of the contest, the Irish took the possession of the ball and called timeout with 32 seconds left on the clock. Coming out the timeout, senior midfielder Pierre Byrne ended up with the ball behind goal and found a cutting Ryder Garnsey, and the junior attack was able to score with just 15 seconds remaining on the clock to secure the game’s final goal and a 7-6 win for Notre Dame.
“It was a gutsy finish to the game,” Corrigan said. “We had our backs against the wall, and so to make those plays just says a lot about the character of our guys.
Now, the Irish will have the next week off before finishing their season in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, against the Tar Heels. With the time off, Corrigan said he hopes his team can continue to improve and get better, building off the momentum of Wednesday night’s victory.
“It’s a step in the right direction. We’ve got plenty of things to work on, and we just have to get better offensively,” Corrigan said. “ … Now, we have a chance to get a little bit of a break with 10 days before our next game, and hopefully we can get better and build on this win.”