ND comeback effort falls short against Richmond
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, February 27, 2019
No. 17 Notre Dame suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, falling to No. 14 Richmond 9-8 on the road. Despite staging a late comeback to bring the game within one goal, the Irish were ultimately unable to overcome the deficit as the Spiders held on to win as cold and rainy conditions persisted inside Robins Stadium throughout the afternoon.
Richmond (3-1) got off to a quick start, netting three goals in the opening eight minutes of the game. Notre Dame (1-1) rallied to tally a goal of its own during an extra man opportunity before the end of the first period, with junior attacker Brian Willetts firing in a quick shot from the left perimeter. But the Spiders responded again, and the first quarter closed with the Irish on the wrong side of a 4-1 score.
Notre Dame came out stronger in the second quarter, striking first on the attacking end via senior midfielder Brendan Gleason just over five minutes into the start of the period. Cradling at high right side of the box, Gleason dodged past three defenders to dump the ball into the top left corner of the goal, sneaking it past junior Spider goalie Jack Rusbuldt to cut the score to 4-2. After a few scoreless minutes, Richmond extended its lead again, with senior attacker Teddy Hatfield making it 5-2. The Irish responded with a slight comeback at the end of the period behind junior midfielder Bryan Costabile, who scored twice in the final 1:16 of the first half to bring the Irish within one and close the second period at 5-4.
Despite finishing the first half strong, Notre Dame came out of the locker room looking flat, and Richmond capitalized quickly. Senior attacker Ryan Lee and junior midfielder Tate Gallagher each notched a goal within the first 3:02 of the third period, leaving the Irish yet again in a three-goal deficit. But Notre Dame claimed the final goal of the third period with 6:21 remaining, with Willetts netting his second score of the night. Willetts, who snuck around the crease from behind, received a dump pass from above courtesy of freshman midfielder Quinn McCahon, and slotted the ball in on the left side. The third quarter closed with a score of 7-5, the Irish still trailing.
To start scoring in the fourth and final quarter, Notre Dame senior midfielder Timmy Phillips streaked down the left wing all the way to the goal and curled the ball in across the center of the crease, dodging his defender and dumping the ball high and in to make it 7-6. But the Irish momentum was cut short by a pushing penalty on freshman attacker Griffin Westlin, giving Spiders a man-advantage. Richmond capitalized and scored two straight goals to increase its lead to three again at 9-6. Undeterred, Notre Dame kept its foot on the gas offensively and was led by sophomore attacker Connor Morin, who netted two goals in the final 5:19 of the game. On his first score, Morin rolled in from the right, threw a fake high to the outside, and whipped the ball into the top left corner. Less than a minute later, Morin struck again, pulling a similar move, rolling around the right side of the crease but this time shooting low. With four minutes left to play, however, the Irish were unable to complete their comeback, and they ultimately fell by a score of 9-8.
The Irish will return home on Sunday to take on the University of Maryland in another non-conference matchup. Game time is scheduled for noon.