Irish conclude regular season against No. 9 Syracuse
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, April 30, 2021
The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team will close out their regular season Saturday with yet another tough opponent when they welcome No. 9 Syracuse to Arlotta Stadium. This will be the sixth straight contest the Irish have played against a top-10 opponent. The previous four were each against a top-4 team in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, the first time such a difficult stretch has occurred in program history.
The Irish have dropped their last two matchups, but both have come down to the wire. They fell in heartbreaking fashion to Duke 13-12 in overtime on April 22, before dropping another close decision to North Carolina three days later.
The team will look to rebound against Syracuse on Saturday. The Irish have already defeated the Orange once this year in a convincing 18-11 decision on April 3 at the Carrier Dome. Sophomore attack Pat Kavanagh led the Irish in the victory, scoring five goals and assisting on four more. Kavanagh leads the team with 49 points, and has been playing his best lacrosse of late, leading the team in scoring in each of the last two matchups. Kavanagh leads the team with 31 assists, and ranks fifth in the nation in assists per game. In addition to his production, Notre Dame will also continue to rely on graduate student attack Will Yorke’s offensive prowess. Yorke leads the squad with 20 goals thus far.
Notre Dame has also been elite on defense this year. The team leads the ACC and ranks fourth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 8.56 goals per game. The combination of graduate students Jack Kielty and Kyle Thornton, and senior Arden Cohen have wreaked havoc on opposing attackers all season. Kielty and Thorton have started an astounding 45 consecutive games together. Sophomore goalie Liam Entenmann has been outstanding as well, leading the conference in save percentage.
The Irish have historically struggled against the Orange. The team enters the matchup with a 6-10 record in the all-time series, although Notre Dame has won five of the previous seven games. However, Syracuse will be without top-scorer Chase Scanlon, who leads the team with 24 goals. Scanlon was suspended due to a violation of team rules, and while he has since been reinstated, he will not travel to South Bend. The Orange will likely depend on Stephen Rehfuss, who has scored 23 times to go along with 22 assists, and Owen Hiltz, who has 36 points.
The game begins Saturday at noon from Arlotta Stadium, and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
After wrapping up the regular season, the Irish will turn their attention to preparing for the NCAA tournament. Arlotta Stadium was selected as a host site for both the first round and the quarterfinals, which will take place May 15-16 and May 22-23, respectively. The championships will be held May 29-31 in East Hartford, Connecticut. The 16-team field will be announced on May 9.