Notre Dame falls to Syracuse in top-15 matchup
Benjamin Padanilam | Wednesday, April 4, 2018
The No.12 Irish hit the road over the weekend, traveling to Syracuse, New York, to take on the eighth-ranked Orange. Although it came into the game having won its only other previous ACC matchup, Notre Dame (5-3, 1-1 ACC) would walk away from the Carrier Dome in defeat, falling to Syracuse (5-3, 3-0 ACC) by a final score of 10-6.
When the Irish took the field, they did so with a new starter amongst its attack unit — junior Ryder Garnsey, who had come off the bench for the Irish in the last six games, replaced junior Brendan Gleason and joined senior Mikey Wynne and sophomore Brian Willetts in the starting group. Gleason, who did not play in the game, was later revealed to have been sidelined for the contest with an undisclosed injury. Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said Tuesday that Gleason would also be out this week.
“Well, obviously, he’s a goal scorer for us that gives us some flexibility in that he can play both attack and midfield,” Corrigan said of what the team misses with Gleason out.
With the lineup change came an uncharacteristically slow start for the Irish. The Orange started the scoring off when Wynne forced a pass that flew past its intended target, past the midfield line and into the stick of Orange junior attack Nate Solomon. He then passed it on the resulting break to senior midfielder and captain Brendan Bomberry, who scored the goal. The goal was the first of three straight for Syracuse over a two-minute stretch, giving the Orange a 3-0 lead with 7:03 left in the first quarter. Although the early three-goal deficit was uncharacteristic, Corrigan said it had little impact on the end result.
“A minute and a half into the third quarter, it was tied at five,” he said. “So we overcame that. Our problem was that we played very poorly in the second half. Quite honestly, played pretty poorly throughout on the offensive end. So it was disappointing from that standpoint.”
The Irish were able to fight their way back into it with two late first-quarter goals and a third just over four minutes into the second quarter. But with 5:19 left in the second quarter, another Irish turnover would allow Syracuse to reclaim the lead — after making a save, freshman goalie Matt Schmidt tried to pass from within the crease but saw his pass get knocked down in front of the goal, leading to an easy score for Syracuse. The turnover was another tally towards Notre Dame’s final total of 16 in the game.
“We did not play good offense,” Corrigan said of the turnovers. “We had twice as many turnovers as we had goals, and you’re not going to win many games when that’s the case. Syracuse is a good team, they played well, but I don’t attribute that as much to them as I do us. We’ve got to be smarter with the ball; we’ve got to understand what a good shot is; when we want to take it and when we don’t.
“Our decision-making offensively was not good on Saturday.”
For the rest of the second quarter and part of the third, the Irish and Orange traded goals to bring the score to 5-5 early in the third quarter. But for the 15 minutes that followed, the Orange would go on a 4-0 run to take a decisive lead. And that run came despite Syracuse facing six of its eight man-down situations in the second half of the game. Corrigan said the offense’s decision-making also played a role in its inability to execute when it had the advantage.
“More than anything else, the fact that we ended all of those — all but one of those — [opportunities] where we didn’t even have the ball at the end,” he said. “It’s one thing to not score on the man-up opportunities, but to give away the ball and not score, that’s just bad play on our part, and we’ve got to get better.”
And while the Irish would tack on one goal late into the game, the Orange would as well, bringing the game to its final tally of 10-6. Now, Notre Dame will turn its attention to another ACC foe, as it will host No. 6 Duke on Saturday. And, in short, the Irish will look to put this weekend’s loss behind them.
“That one’s over and we move on,” Corrigan said.
Opening face-off Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.