Notre Dame drops tight road game against Ohio State
Matthew Crow | Tuesday, March 15, 2022
With temperatures sitting well below freezing in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday afternoon, Ohio State defeated No. 9 Notre Dame 14-11 in the latest iteration of their longstanding men‘s lacrosse rivalry.
The Irish (1-3) gave the Buckeyes (5-1) everything they could handle in a hard fought game but were unable to avoid suffering a third consecutive loss. Notre Dame was led by junior attacker Pat Kavanagh and sophomore midfielder Eric Dobson, who tallied two goals and one assist apiece.
The massive discrepancy in faceoff winning percentage between the teams was a major focus entering the game, with Ohio State ranked 1st in the nation (winning 72% of its faceoffs) and Notre Dame ranked 59th (41%). An inability to consistently win faceoffs was among the primary causes for the Irish’s two prior losses, as they won just 9 of 29 against Georgetown and 6 of 24 against Maryland.
Despite Ohio State appearing to have a clear advantage in this aspect of the game, Notre Dame got off to a fast start, as freshman midfielder Will Lynch won the game’s first three faceoffs. This helped the Irish jump out to a quick 2-0 lead behind goals from Kavanagh and junior midfielder Reilly Gray. Junior Irish goalie Liam Entenmann made four saves in a strong defensive quarter that ended with the Irish leading 3-2, and senior midfielder Quinn McCahon’s first goal of the season extended that lead to 4-2 in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
From that point on, however, the quarter belonged to the Buckeyes, as they began to take control of the faceoff game in the way they were expected to, winning 5 of 6 in the quarter. Ohio State leading scorer Jack Myers put a pair of shots in the back of the net to tie the game, and the Buckeyes would add two more to go into halftime with a 6-4 advantage. Ohio State’s defense was buoyed by goalie Skylar Wahlund, who was substituted in after the first quarter and made several important saves throughout the rest of the game.
Ohio State picked up where they left off to start the second half, quickly scoring twice to make it six consecutive goals and push their lead to 8-4. As they have done each time they’ve faced a large deficit this season, though, the Irish responded, scoring three goals in just over a minute of game time to trim the lead back down to one. The rest of the third quarter went back and forth, and Notre Dame seemed poised to enter the fourth down 10-8 before a controversial officiating decision at the end of the quarter.
In the final seconds of the third, Ohio State attempted a shot from deep that was saved by Entenmann. Off the rebound, the Buckeyes’ Reid Jackson recovered the ball and scored from just outside of the crease. Replays showed Jackson releasing the ball after time had expired, but the goal was counted after a review, giving Ohio State a three-goal lead.
The fourth quarter was tightly contested. Notre Dame freshman midfielder Will Angrick opened up the scoring with an unassisted goal, only for it to be quickly matched by Ohio State. With the Buckeyes leading by three, Kavanagh and Dobson scored back-to-back goals for the Irish to make the score 12-11, but that would be the last time Notre Dame would score on the day. Ohio State was able to maintain possession for most of the final minutes while adding two goals to seal the 14-11 win.
Looking ahead, Notre Dame will return home to face No. 19 Michigan on Saturday in their final game before ACC play begins. The Wolverines (7-1) have gotten off to a strong start this year but enter the game coming off a home loss against Harvard. Notre Dame maintains its high expectations for the season despite the losing streak, as each of their three losses have come in close games at the hands of teams ranked in the top ten nationally. It will be important for them to start earning some wins, as their daunting schedule gets no easier in the coming weeks. The Irish look to get back on track against Michigan at 12 p.m. Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.