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Men’s Lacrosse

Irish give up five-goal lead, fall to No. 5 Ohio State in overtime

| Monday, March 25, 2019

No. 11 Notre Dame opened its season at Arlotta Stadium in heartbreaking fashion on a sunny Saturday in South Bend, as the Irish gave up a 7-2 lead before mounting a comeback in the final minute, only to lose 11-10 in overtime to No. 5 Ohio State.

The game began as Buckeye sophomore midfielder Justin Inacio gave the Buckeyes (7-0, 0-0 Big Ten) the opening offensive possession. But a staunch Notre Dame (4-3, 0-1 ACC) defense, led by senior Hugh Crance, junior Jack Kielty and sophomore Arden Cohen held firm and forced a shot clock violation.

The Irish initially struggled to generate anything offensively as well, with the first 10 minutes featuring both teams playing stifling defense that limited good scoring opportunities.

Kendra Osinski | The Observer

Irish sophomore attack Wheaton Jackoboice launches a pass during Notre Dame’s 14-13 overtime win against Maryland on March 3 in Loftus Sports Center.

The breakthrough came with just under five minutes left in the first. After an extended period of offensive possession for Notre Dame that saw several good saves from Buckeye redshirt sophomore goalie Josh Kirson, sophomore attack Connor Morin beat his man goal-line-extended and finished to draw first blood. 90 seconds later the lead was doubled, as sophomore midfielder Wheaton Jackoboice slipped through two defenders and fired home for his eighth of the year.

Ohio State managed to get one back with 1:15 left, as junior attack Tre Leclaire ripped a shot far-side past Irish sophomore goalie Matt Schmidt to give the Buckeyes some life to end the first.

A mistimed save from Schmidt gave Ohio State the tying-goal to open the second quarter, as the sophomore couldn’t handle an awkward bounce on a shot from distance from Buckeye sophomore midfielder Griffin Hughes, and the ball flipped over his head to knot the game up at 2-2. But the rest of the quarter was all Notre Dame, as the Irish scored four unanswered to go up 6-2 heading into the halftime break.

The first came at 8:04 in a man-up opportunity for the Irish. After some possession, Jackoboice looked to wind up a shot before threading a dime across to a wide-open Quinn McMahon, and the freshman midfielder did the rest from close range to regain the lead for Notre Dame. Three minutes later, the Irish earned another man-up opportunity and capitalized again, as senior midfielder Brendan Gleason found junior attack Brian Willetts on a cut, who slotted home to push the lead to two.

The Irish were able to capitalize on shots from the crease to great effect, and added two more goals a minute apart — first a solo coast-to-coast effort from junior midfielder Bryan Costabile and then another Gleason-to-Willetts feed.

In the third, Notre Dame stretched the lead to five after Costabile fired a lefty rip that flew top shelf. Ohio State did not go away quietly, however, and a huge quarter for the Buckeyes cut the lead to 7-6 heading into the fourth. The first came at 12:33 thanks to a rip from distance by sophomore midfielder Jackson Reid, and after a back-and-forth tussle for much of the quarter, the Buckeyes rattled off three more unanswered goals in a 2:13 span to cut the Irish lead to 7-6.

Notre Dame scored a big goal in the fourth period to temporarily halt the Buckeye push, as a turnover in midfield saw veteran defensive midfielder Drew Schantz scoop up the loose ball and spark the fast break. The senior drew the defender and flipped the pass to Willetts, who ripped a shot past Kirson to earn his hat trick and push the lead to 8-6.

But the Buckeyes were up to the challenge, as forced turnovers gave Ohio State chances to capitalize. First, it was senior midfielder Jack Jasinski, who sprinted in front of the net, turned and fired low past Schmidt. Then, Leclaire ripped a shot over Schmidt’s right shoulder to tie it all up at 8-8 with 7:29 left.

The Irish struggled to regain the momentum, and Ohio State, led by the efforts of Reid, stormed into the lead. With four minutes to go, the sophomore scored back-to-back dazzling solo efforts to suddenly give the Buckeyes a two-goal lead.

When Inacio won another faceoff with three minutes left, Notre Dame was staring down the barrel. But off of an Ohio State timeout, Cohen forced a key turnover to give the Irish a lifeline.

“Arden is a terrific player on the wings and defensively he’s a guy we count on,” Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said postgame. “When we have a double team with him and Kielty, we like to think we’re going to get some good pressure on that, and they did a nice job executing it.”

Notre Dame called a timeout and then executed a flawless play out of it, as Jackoboice ran on net and five-holed Kirson to cut the lead to one. Charlie Leonard then won the faceoff for the Irish, and Costabile willed in a shot that Kirson got his stick to, but couldn’t keep out as the ball trickled over the line. The Irish had a chance to win the game before overtime, but did not manage to get a shot off.

In sudden-death overtime, Inacio won the initial faceoff, but Cohen once again came up with a big forced turnover to get Notre Dame the ball. Out of a timeout, Jackoboice ran on net in a drawn-up play and fed a pass to Willetts in front of net, who shot from point-blank, only to be denied by a huge save from Kirson. The Buckeyes recovered the loose ball and called their own timeout. With a chance to win the game, Reid drove toward net before turning and flipping the ball back to sophomore attack Colby Smith, who wound up and cranked a shot that flew into the top corner, defeating the Irish 11-10.

Corrigan kept his postgame analysis simple: “They just made plays and we didn’t make plays,” he said.

The Irish will look to get back on track next weekend as they welcome Syracuse to Arlotta Stadium. Opening faceoff is scheduled for noon.

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About Tobias Hoonhout

Toby served as Managing Editor in the 2018-2019 term.

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