No. 12 ND tops No. 2 Maryland in OT thriller
Colin Capece | Tuesday, March 5, 2019
After a difficult road defeat last weekend against the University of Richmond, No. 12 Notre Dame responded with a tenacious 14-13 overtime win Sunday to knock off No. 2 Maryland at Loftus Sports Center.
In a back-and-forth game filled with scoring runs and momentum swings, junior attacker Brian Willetts’ overtime winner gave the Irish (2-1) the victory and handed the Terrapins (5-1) their first loss of the season.
“We just battled today,” Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said after the game. “Our guys kept playing when we were down, kept playing when we were up. It’s a huge testament to these guys who didn’t hang their heads after a tough loss last weekend.”
Sunday’s first quarter mirrored the first quarter the Irish played against Richmond (3-2), as Notre Dame struggled to win face-offs and clear the ball on defense. Just 12 seconds into the game, Maryland senior attacker Louis Dubik scooped up an Irish turnover and ripped a shot over the right shoulder of Irish sophomore goaltender Matt Schmidt to give the Terrapins the early lead. After sophomore attacker Connor Morin tied the game two minutes later, Maryland scored three-straight goals to take a 4-1 lead. However, the Irish came roaring back behind goals from Willetts and senior midfielder Brendan Gleason to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Irish continued their hot streak into the second quarter, as Willetts tallied his second goal of the day to even the score at four. After sprinting past a defender on the right wing, sophomore midfielder Morrison Mirer scored his first-career goal to give the Irish their first lead of the game. Midfielders Bryan Costabile and John Hallenbeck both found the back of the net shortly after, and the Irish took a 7-5 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, it was Maryland’s turn to erase a deficit, as senior midfielder Will Snider scored consecutive goals to bring the Terrapins even. Once again, the Irish response came from Morin, who scored at the 11:51 mark to retake the lead for Notre Dame. Sophomore Wheaton Jackoboice added a Notre Dame goal just 27 seconds later, and Gleason scored just 15 seconds after that. After McNamara scooped up a ground ball to keep the ball in the Maryland zone, Morin added his third goal off a centering pass from Willetts to give the Irish an 11-7 lead.
The Terps, however, continued to battle back. With 6:09 to go in the third, Snider fired a bouncer into the back of the cage, and with just 45 seconds left in the quarter, 2018 First Team All-Big Ten attacker Jared Bernhardt scored a diving goal to make the score 11-9 and set up a thrilling fourth quarter. Maryland completed its comeback when Bernhardt and midfielder Logan Wisnauskas scored back-to-back goals to tie the game for the fifth time at 11.
This time, it was Gleason’s turn to respond. With 4:52 left in regulation, the senior recovered a failed clearance by the Maryland defense and buried his shot to retake the lead. He added his fourth goal of the game just over a minute later on a beautiful turnaround shot over his left shoulder. After another goal by Wisnauskas, Maryland found itself down a goal with less than a minute to play in regulation. After a scramble for a loose ball at midfield, Terp attacker Anthony DeMaio quick-sticked in a centering pass from Wisnauskas to tie the game at 13 with 16 seconds left in regulation. Junior Charles Leonard won the ensuing face-off for Notre Dame and sprinted toward the cage, but his last-second shot clanked off the right post and out of bounds. However, a holding call on Maryland long-stick midfielder Nick Brozowski gave the Irish possession to begin overtime.
In overtime, Notre Dame wasted no time clinching their second victory of the season. With the shot clock winding down, Willetts crept his way around the cage and forced a wraparound shot off a crease roll past two defenders and the Maryland goaltender to finally give the Irish the win.
“I saw I had a little bit of room on the right post, so I decided to throw a fake and come around the side of the goal,” Willetts said after the game. “I just dove toward the crease hoping it would go in and thankfully it did. Going into overtime, we wanted to end it on that first possession. Our defense battled all game long, so as a thanks to them we wanted to put the ball in the net right away.”
While Notre Dame’s elite defense had its hands full with a potent Terrapins attack, it was the offensive performance that ultimately won the game for the Irish, with seven different players netting goals.
“We had a lot of different people make plays for us today, and that can definitely be a real strength for us,” Corrigan said. “Our offensive efficiency in the first half was ridiculous, and I didn’t think we really had a bad possession. We really hung in there and made some big plays at the end of the game.”
Corrigan also noted that a quality win against a quality team early in the season can give his team a great deal of confidence moving forward.
“We play the toughest schedule in the country, and week-in and week-out we play great teams. I know this gives a young team confidence to know that they can come back against a team like Maryland, but also to come back after last weekend where we didn’t perform well,” he said. “To do what we did today is a big step forward.”
The Irish will begin their spring break road trip next Saturday with a game against No. 8 Denver in Costa Mesa, California.