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CHAMPS: Irish Win Second ACC Tourney Title At Virginia

April 29, 2018

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By: Robby Hamman
The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team captured its second Atlantic Coast Conference Championship title on Sunday afternoon, defeating No. 11 Virginia by a final score of 17-7 at Klöckner Stadium.

The Irish are matched only by Syracuse in ACC tournament success since Notre Dame joined the league, as both teams have two championships in the five-year span. The Irish have reached three finals in five appearances.

After posting a season-high 14 goals in the win over Duke in the semifinal round, the Irish offense was even better in the title game against Virginia. The Notre Dame attack exploded, scoring 17 goals, the most the program has scored since winning 17-7 at Syracuse during the 2015 season.

Six different players registered multiple goals, as sophomore and tournament MVP Bryan Costabile, junior Ryder Garnsey and sophomore Brian Willetts each scored three goals. The senior trio of Mikey Wynne, Brendan Collins and Pierre Byrne each scored twice and junior Timmy Phillips and senior Jordan Walter each added a goal.

As impressive as the attack was in the championship game the defense was every bit as good, locking down the potent Virginia attack the entire game. The Notre Dame defense pressured the Cavaliers into 25 turnovers, the most in a game this season. The Irish held Virginia to just seven goals in each of the two meetings this season, both the fewest the Cavaliers have scored all season.

All-Tournament Team

Notre Dame placed four players on the ACC All-Tournament team, as Costabile, Garnsey, senior John Sexton and freshman Matt Schmidt each earned the honor.

How It Happened

The Irish controlled the run of play for the majority of the first quarter, holding a 3-2 lead after the opening 15 minutes of action. The Cavaliers scored on their opening possession to take a 1-0 lead but Notre Dame responded with three straight goals to go on top 3-1. Costabile scored the first two goals for the Irish and then Willetts added one to give the team a two-goal lead with 48 seconds left. Virginia answered with one goal before the end of the quarter to cut the advantage to one.

As well as the Irish played in the first quarter, they took it to another level in the second stanza. The Notre Dame defense locked down the Cavalier attack, allowing just one goal, while the Notre Dame attack was hitting on all cylinders. The Irish outscored Virginia 5-1 in the quarter to take an 8-3 lead into the half. The five Notre Dame goals came from Byrne, Collins, Garnsey, Wynne and Phillips.

The Irish carried the momentum from the first half into the second, scoring the first three goals of the third quarter to open up an eight goal lead at 11-3, the largest lead in any game this season. The Cavaliers tried to get back into the game after scoring three of the next four goals to cut the lead to 12-6 with five minutes left in the quarter but Byrne scored with 30 seconds left to make the score 13-6 heading into the fourth.

The Cavaliers scored the opening goal of the final frame but then it was all Notre Dame the rest of the way. The Irish tacked on three more goals in the final seven minutes to put an exclamation mark on the dominating 17-7 victory.

Tournament MVP

There is something about the ACC Tournament that brings out the best in Costabile. After earning All-Tournament honors as a freshman, the midfielder posted two hat tricks for a combined six goals and added two assists to take home ACC Championship MVP honors. The sophomore set the tone for Notre Dame, scoring the team’s first two goals in the first six minutes of the game.

Notre Dame Stat Of The Game I

The Irish recorded an astounding 45 ground balls, as each starter finished with at least one. Senior John Sexton led the way with eight grounders, matching his career high for most in a game. Wynne matched his career high in ground balls with five while senior Hugh Crance also picked up five to propel the Irish to victory.

Notre Dame Stat Of The Game II

The Irish defense was everywhere, causing 11 turnovers. Sophomore Jack Kielty, senior Hugh Crance, freshman Arden Cohen and Sexton each forced two turnovers in the smothering performance.

Tweet Of The Game

What a moment!

– Notre Dame Lacrosse (@NDlacrosse) April 29, 2018

Notre Dame Notes

  • The Irish won their second ACC Championship title in just five seasons of league play.
  • Notre Dame made its third appearance in the ACC Championship final for the third time in the five years it has competed in the league.
  • The Irish improve to 5-3 in the ACC Championship in program history.
  • Notre Dame improves to 8-5 against Virginia in the all-time series and has won seven straight games against the Cavaliers.
  • The 17 goals are the most the Irish have scored in a game this season.
  • Garnsey notched his sixth multi-goal game of the 2018 campaign and fourth hat trick of the year.
  • Garnsey led the Irish in points for the game with five (three goals and two assists) and finished with 11 over the weekend.
  • Costabile’s hat trick was the sophomore’s fifth of the season.
  • Willetts recorded the first hat trick of his career, scoring a career-high three goals in the win.
  • Wynne now stands alone in third place in the Notre Dame record book for career goals with 124, breaking a tie with former great Matt Kavanagh (122).

Up Next

The Irish wrap up the regular season at Arlotta Stadium on Saturday, May 5, as Notre Dame hosts Army. The game is slated to begin at 1 p.m. ET and will air on ACC Network Extra via the WatchESPN app.

— ND —

The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team pursues excellence on and off the field through the three pillars in which the program is built: Character, Culture & Community. These three foundational values guide the promise of the program, which is to provide its student-athletes with the most compelling and enriching experience in all of college athletics. Through academics, competition, service and travel, the program aims to immerse its players in situations that enhance their student-athlete experience to help them become the people, students and teammates they aspire to be.

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