Costabile leads Irish 19-6 over Detroit Mercy in season opener
Colin Capece | Monday, February 18, 2019
The result at Loftus Sports Center on Saturday night was certainly a familiar one for Notre Dame — another season-opening victory against Detroit Mercy and another dominant performance by Bryan Costabile.
The junior midfielder led the way for the high-powered Notre Dame (1-0) offense with five goals, the same number he tallied in the 2018 season opener against the Titans (1-1), as the No. 7 Irish cruised to a 19-6 victory to begin the 2019 season.
“Our team was just really in a good rhythm tonight,” Costabile said. “We were just getting some great looks on the backside. … Overall just a really good team win tonight.”
With the blowout victory, the Irish continued their dominance in season openers under head coach Kevin Corrigan, who is 26-5 all time in opening contests in his Notre Dame tenure. The Irish scoring barrage began instantly when junior faceoff Charles Leonard controlled the opening faceoff and ripped a shot from the right wing into the back of the cage to score his first career goal and give Notre Dame the early advantage. Brendan Gleason, a senior midfielder, added to the Irish lead just a few minutes later, but the visitors certainly didn’t appear to be rattled. Attackmen senior Matthew Vangalen and sophomore Brett Erskine answered quickly for the Titans, and when redshirt freshman attack Keegan Stenstrom’s bouncer found the net, the Irish called a timeout to stop Mercy’s momentum.
From there, another 2018 theme and one of Notre Dame’s greatest strengths reemerged, as the nation’s ninth-ranked defense began to take control of the game. Shortly after the Irish timeout, Brian Willets, a junior attack, and Costabile scored consecutive goals to give the Irish a lead they would never relinquish, as Notre Dame played absolutely suffocating defense for the remainder of the game. Vangaelen added his second goal with 9:01 to go in the second quarter, but after that, the Titans scored just twice the rest of the way while going nearly 32 minutes between their fourth and fifth goals.
“Our defense really settled in and played very well,” said Corrigan. “Not only do you put yourself in a good position, but you take the life out of a team when you play that well on defense for two quarters.”
The Irish consistently stifled the Mercy attack, as senior midfielder Timmy Phillips, sophomore defenseman Arden Cohen and senior defenseman Hugh Crance each forced two turnovers.
While the Titans remained in striking distance at halftime, the Irish scored five consecutive goals in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.
Freshman attack Griffin Westlin scored his first career goal with just 49.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter, and Costabile added his fourth of the game just 46 seconds later. In the fourth quarter, Wheaton Jackoboice, a sophomore attack, weaved through five Mercy defenders to score the fourteenth Irish goal. Gleason followed with an incredible wraparound goal of his own. Goals by Costabile, Westlin and sophomore midfielder Michael Fay put the finishing touches on a dominant first performance by the Irish.
“We turned the ball over too much in the first half, but we settled down, we simplified and just started using our athletic ability to make plays as the game continued,” Corrigan said. “You have to get the first one under your belt so you can see where you are and start building from there. There’s a lot of stuff to work on, but we’re happy to get a good win.”
Notre Dame returns to action next Saturday when the team travels to play the University of Richmond.