March 28, 2005
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Senior A Jim Morrison (Fulton, Md./Mount St. Joseph H.S.) scored a career-high five goals to lead the #9 University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team (5-1) to an 11-7 road victory against Villanova (5-3) Monday afternoon at Villanova Stadium. The Irish, winners of four straight, jumped out to an 8-2 lead en route to snapping the Wildcats’ 14-game home winning streak.
In addition to Morrison, Notre Dame got two goals apiece from senior M Colin Fatti (Skaneateles, N.Y./Skaneateles H.S.) and junior Philadelphia-area native M Matt Ryan (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.). Plus, freshman M Taylor Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md./DeMatha Catholic H.S.) won 14 of 20 faceoffs (.700), collected a team-high and collegiate-high nine ground balls and notched a goal and an assist.
Morrison, who entered the weekend leading the Great Western Lacrosse League and in a sixth-place tie nationally in goals per game (3.00), continued to be a force early in games. He made it 2-0 with a goal early in the first quarter and then tallied three times in the second period, helping to stake Notre Dame to a 10-2 halftime advantage. Morrison make it 6-2 just eight seconds into the second period, taking a pass from Clagett, who won the faceoff. Just 1:52 later, it was senior A Matt Malakoff (Bay Shore, N.Y./Bay Shore H.S.) who found Morrison for a score. The senior co-captain, who joined the Irish as a walk-on, scored again with 2:39 remaining before halftime and then closed out the scoring with 42 seconds left in the game. Morrison now has a team-leading 18 goals on the season, and 15 have come in the first half (nine in the first quarter). He became the first Irish player ever to begin a season with four consecutive hat tricks and then had a single tally on Saturday at #13 Hofstra.
Notre Dame’s offense, which came into the weekend ranked first in the nation in goals per game, saw a player score five or more goals for the third consecutive contest, with different Irish attackmen doing it on each occasion. Junior A Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) had five goals (plus three assists) against Butler on March 19, and his classmate, All-American A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.), notched six goals and an assist against Hofstra.
Freshman G Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep School) continued to be strong in the cage, as he made 16 saves (.696) and improved to 4-0 since taking over the starting duties on March 12. He is the first Notre Dame freshman goaltender to win in each of his first four starts since Chris Parent did so in 1990.
Villanova had not lost a home game in nearly two years, since a 13-10 defeat against Towson on April 12, 2003.
The Irish defense – led by Kemp, junior D D.J. Driscoll (Downingtown, Pa./Malvern Prep School), senior LSM Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y./Freeport H.S.), sophomore D Joey Rallo (Cockeysville, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.), and freshman D Ross Zimmerman (Utica, Mich./Brother Rice H.S.) – continued its strong play. It has held opponents to nine goals or fewer in 11 of the last 13 games, dating back to last year, helping the team to a 10-3 mark during that span. The unit held the Wildcats to just seven goals – none in the final 18:19 – despite Villanova holding a 40-37 shot advantage over the Irish. It was 15-7 in the final quarter, but Notre Dame netted the only goal.
Clagett began the game by taking the opening faceoff and putting in the net, giving the Irish a lead just eight seconds in.
Sophomore Lucius Polk (Washington, D.C./St. Albans H.S.) put an exclamation point on the first half, scoring his second goal of the season with four seconds remaining.
At the intermission, Notre Dame was up 23-14 in shots, 20-14 in ground balls, and 11-5 in faceoffs. But Villanova played a strong second half, which allowed it to hold an edge in shots and ground balls (31-30) at the conclusion. Thanks in large part to Clagett, Notre Dame still held a 15-7 advantage in faceoff victories.
Notre Dame has now beaten Villanova five consecutive times and holds a 5-4 advantage in the all-time series. The schools had not met since 2000.
The Irish are off to their best start since 2001, when they opened 5-1 en route to reaching the semifinals of the NCAA Championship and finishing 14-2.
The Irish will return to action this weekend, playing at Dartmouth on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (EST).