Feb. 24, 2016
By John Heisler
While a blizzard raged much of Wednesday afternoon outside the Loftus Center on the University of Notre Dame campus, the top-rated Irish men’s lacrosse team kept the heat on visiting Bellarmine to the tune of an impressive 27-7 advantage in shots in the first half.
That enabled Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan’s squad (now 2-0 in 2016) to post an 8-3 halftime advantage that would have been amazingly one-sided had there been actual time of possession numbers.
And, after a scrappy effort by the Knights (1-2) in the final two periods, that early work by Notre Dame proved enough for a final 11-6 triumph. Despite 12 second-half turnovers, Bellarmine actually outshot the Irish 15-12 after halftime.
Notre Dame senior attack Eddy Lubowicki doubled his previous career high in goals (two against Jacksonville in 2014) with four, three of them in the opening half.
The Irish spread the wealth impressively in the early going. Notre Dame seemed to play virtually the entire first half of the opening period in the Bellarmine end-and the Irish led 3-0 and had fired 12 shots at the net before the Knights managed their first shot (at the 5:01 mark when Bellarmine’s Tucker Ciessau hit the post).
“I don’t need to talk to you about what’s at stake,” Corrigan told his squad before the opening face-off. “It’s about us getting better and applying what we know to the game at hand.”
Sophomore midfielder Brendan Collins added the first of his two goals (he’d never had more than one in a game before today) late in the first, and All-American midfielder Sergio Perkovic and freshman Ryder Garnsey also notched scores in the second period to go with Lubowicki’s back-to-back pair within a 2:03 span.
At the break, the Irish had won nine of 12 face-offs, and the Notre Dame defense had been solid enough that goaltender Shane Doss needed to make but three saves.
After the break, it became much more of a slog for the home team. Give the Knights credit for hanging in there.
After Garnsey’s second score (both of his came on assists from freshman Timmy Phillips) a little more than three minutes into the second half, the Irish went cold. Bellarmine put a couple of goals on the board on extra-man chances, and the Irish went nearly 21 minutes without scoring.
Late connections by Collins and Lubowicki in the final six minutes countered the Knights’ last goal with 10 seconds in the contest.
“The second half was not what we wanted it to be,” Corrigan told his team. “They made enough plays to keep themselves in it, and we didn’t make enough ourselves. But, we did what we had to do to win the game.”
Doss made eight saves, while Bellarmine goaltender Chase Rose made 11.
The Irish still finished with a 39-22 edge in shots. Notre Dame won the ground ball battle 35-34, while forcing the visitors into 19 turnovers (the Irish had 14).
Added Corrigan, “We needed better focus in the second half-we didn’t do all the things we needed to do. We had a lot of new faces playing for us in the first half-and doing a great job for us.
“We got plays early from a lot of different people, and that was a function of us playing good lacrosse. Then we made it hard on ourselves in the second half.”
The Irish return home at 2 p.m. EST Saturday to play host to an 0-2 Detroit team that had its Wednesday night game against Michigan cancelled due to weather.
Detroit last played in South Bend in 2013 when the Titans proved to be a tough out in a 9-7 Irish win in an NCAA Championship first-round contest.
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.
Follow the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team on social media and the Internet …
Click here to follow ND Lacrosse on Twitter
Click here to follow ND Lacrosse Coaching Tips on Twitter
Click here to learn more about the ND Lacrosse Experience on Twitter
Click here to like ND Lacrosse on Facebook
Click here to subscribe to NDLaxTV YouTube Channel
Click here to read the latest news on ND Lacrosse
Click here to learn more about ND Lacrosse Camps
Click here to learn about ND Lacrosse community service on Twitter