April 29, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team (7-4, 3-2 GWLL) registered a 16-5 victory at defending Great Western Lacrosse League champion Ohio State (5-7, 2-2 GWLL) Friday evening in front of a crowd of 2,112 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Irish used a run of nine consecutive goals to take control of their final regular-season contest, while their defense turned in their best performance in over a year.
Freshman G Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep School) led a defensive clampdown on the Buckeyes, who matched their season-low goal output. That performance – also keyed by senior LSM Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y./Freeport H.S.), junior D D.J. Driscoll (Downingtown, Pa./Malvern Prep School), sophomore D J.R. Stahl (Sparks, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.), and freshman D Ross Zimmerman (Utica, Mich./Brother Rice H.S.) – held OSU to just five goals despite the Buckeyes owning a 42-33 advantage in shots. It was the fewest goals surrendered by ND since a 12-2 victory at Air Force on April 9, 2004. Kemp finished with 16 saves, while allowing just three scores in three quarters of action.
Offensively, the Irish were led by senior A Matt Malakoff (Bay Shore, N.Y./Bay Shore H.S.), junior All-American A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.), and freshman M Michael Podgajny (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.), who all finished with four points. The rookie had his second hat trick of the season (plus one assist), while Walsh notched a pair of goals and two assists in the first 21 minutes, and the senior – who may have been playing in his final collegiate game – ended up with a goal and three assists.
A total of 13 players registered points on Friday, with senior M Brian Giordano (Princeton, N.J./Hun School) tallying a pair of goals and Richez and sophomore M John Greaney (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon H.S.) ending with a goal and an assist each, while junior M Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) notched a pair of assists. Other goal scorers for the Irish were senior co-captain A Jim Morrison (Fulton, Md./Mount St. Joseph H.S.), junior M Drew Peters (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon H.S.), sophomores M Ryan Cunn (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.) and M Lucius Polk (Washington, D.C./St. Albans H.S.), and freshman A Alex Wharton (Baltimore, Md./Gilman School). Stahl also added an assist, his first career point.
The 16 goals were the most by Notre Dame on an opponent’s home field since a 20-7 win against the Buckeyes on May 3, 1997.
Ohio State came out strong initially, but Kemp was impressive in goal, denying various scoring chances. He kept the game scoreless – making six first-quarter saves and watching the crossbar stop another OSU offering – until Notre Dame’s offense could get in gear. When it finally did, the Irish lit the scoreboard four times in the opening quarter. Walsh was the catalyst of the outburst, scoring the contest’s first goal – at the 11:22 mark off an assist by Malakoff – assisting on another and then scoring with just nine seconds remaining in the initial period to put ND up four.
The Buckeyes got on the board 17:17 into the game, when junior A Ben Wolff – who scored with 12 seconds remaining to hand OSU a 9-8 win over the Irish at Moose Krause Stadium in 2004 – netted an unassisted tally.
A pair of goals in a 33-second span late in the first half pulled the Buckeyes to within 6-3 with 5:00 remaining in the period. But Kemp and the defense would take over again, not allowing another OSU score until for more than 20:00, until 21 seconds into the final period. In the interim, Notre Dame’s offense – which came into the game ranked eighth in Division I at 11.50 goals per game – scored nine times to open up a 12-3 lead.
The Irish finished GWLL play with a 3-2 record, despite outscoring their opponents 69-44.
OSU held a 32-31 advantage in ground balls and won 16 of 25 faceoffs.
Notre Dame, which is ranked 16th in the Inside Lacrosse media poll and 14th in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), will now wait until the 16-team NCAA Championship field is revealed on Sunday, May 8. The Irish, who saw all of their defeats coming against teams currently in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) poll, are seeking one of the 10 at-large berths in the event. ND dropped one-goal decisions on the road against #4 Cornell, #11 Dartmouth, and #16 Fairfield, while losing 9-6 vs. #15 Denver.