No. 5/5 Irish improve to 2-0 with win against Richmond
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Then-No. 6/6 Notre Dame rode a strong defensive performance and a devastating offensive flurry in the third quarter en route to a comfortable 13-5 win over then-No. 18/17 Richmond on Sunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium. The victory avenged last year’s 9-8 road defeat to the Spiders (2-2), and marked the first of nine matchups against currently ranked opponents on the Irish’s (2-0) 12-game regular season slate.
Notre Dame’s dominance started in the face off circle, with senior face-off-get-off Charles Leonard winning 19 of 20 face offs, just one win off his career high. The Highlands Ranch, Colorado, native also picked up 10 ground balls and notched an assist to earn player-of-the-game honors.
After last Saturday’s 17-7 rout of Cleveland State, Notre Dame’s two highly-touted freshmen — attacker Pat Kavanagh and goalie Liam Entenmann — picked up where they left off against the Spiders. Kavanagh, who hails from Rockville Centre, New York, again led the team in points, recording an assist and four goals to notch his second successive hat trick.
Entenmann, meanwhile, was again formidable between the pipes. The Point Lookout, New York, native, who conceded just two goals and made eight saves against the Vikings, again recorded eight saves against Richmond and became the first goalie this season to hold the Spiders attack to single-digit scoring.
Entenmann was aided by a stubborn defensive effort led by senior Jack Kielty. He was placed — along with senior midfielder Bryan Costabile — on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, the most prestigious individual honor in college lacrosse. Kielty’s defense caused 10 turnovers and held Richmond to just 13 shots on target, allowing the Irish to outshoot the Spiders 57-26 overall.
Sophomore Griffin Westlin recorded his first collegiate hat trick and got the scoring started in the first quarter. Senior midfielder Tommy McNamara weaved his way through the Spider defense and dove while trying to force the ball past Richmond goalie Jack Rusbuldt. The rebound was snatched out of the air by Westlin, who kept his composure and faked high before firing a low shot to give the Irish the lead.
Richmond scored the only other goal of the quarter through their two most prolific attackers. Senior midfielder Mikey Davies gave the Spiders a man-up opportunity after being called for a pushing penalty with 2:45 to go, and freshman Richie Connell, Richmond’s leading scorer, equalized off the feed from team points and assists leader junior Ryan Lanchbury.
The low-scoring first half temporarily gave way to some back-and-forth action at the start of the second quarter. The Spiders briefly took the advantage as Lanchbury and Connell reversed roles, with the senior grabbing the first of his two goals for the afternoon. Sophomore midfielder Quinn McCahon hit back in less than three minutes for the Irish, however, before Kavanaugh put the Irish up for good with nine minutes to go.
While down a man, Richmond committed a careless error in their own defensive area. A wayward pass was easily intercepted by Kavanagh in front of Rusbuldt’s net, and Kavanagh promptly converted the one-on-one opportunity.
Notre Dame grabbed a huge momentum goal off the stick of Westlin, who scored with just one second remaining in the half. The unanimous 2019 All-American Costabile, last year’s ACC offensive player of the year and one of the most prolific midfielders in Notre Dame’s history, made a sharp pass across the goal to Westlin, who finished from a tight angle.
The Irish and Spiders began the second half by trading a pair of goals. After another Leonard win off the face off, junior midfielder Daniel Cassidy was off to the races, finding the net for the first time this season just nine seconds into the third quarter. Senior midfielder Tate Gallagher equalized for Richmond before Spiders junior midfielder Mitch Savoca responded to junior attacker Wheaton Jackoboice’s second goal of the season for the Irish, but Notre Dame put the game away late in the third with an offensive salvo led by Kavanagh.
The run began with less than five minutes to play in the quarter, with two unassisted goals just six seconds apart. After McNamara notched his third goal of the season, Kavanagh capitalized off more exemplary work from Leonard in the face-off circle, picking up the ground ball and bursting forward before putting the Irish up 8-4.
After McCahon’s fourth goal of the year, Kavanagh completed a third-quarter hat trick. Another unassisted goal put the Irish up 10-4 as Kavanagh duped his defender with a spin before firing a long-range effort to Rusbuldt bottom right. Two and a half minutes later, Kavanagh added Notre Dame’s fifth goal in four minutes off an assist from Drake.
The Irish added two more unanswered goals in the fourth. Westlin fed senior midfielder Brian Willetts for his second goal of the season before Westlin completed his hat trick with 6:15 left. With 31 seconds to go, Lanchbury finally ended the run for Richmond with a late consolation goal, but the Irish ran out 13-5 winners.
The now No. 5/5 Irish will face their first away test of the season when they take on perennial powerhouse and seventh-ranked Maryland at College Park. The top-10 matchup is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday.