Feb. 23, 2003
State College, Pa. – Behind Dan Berger’s (Phoenix, Md,) four goals and Matt Howell’s (Huntington, N.Y.) goal and five assists, the No. 17 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team defeated No. 16 Penn State in the 2003 season opener for both teams.
The Irish, coming off of a 5-8 campaign in 2002, beat the Nittany Lions for the sixth time in 10 meetings. This year’s contest marked the seventh straight year the two teams had faced each other in the season opener. Last year, Penn State earned a 10-9 overtime decision at Notre Dame.
The Irish held off the Nittany Lions in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory. Notre Dame’s 10th and final goal of the game was scored by Berger off of a Howell assist with 8:58 to play in the contest to take a 10-7 lead. The Nittany Lions tallied the final two goals of the game with their ninth goal coming from Marshall Feldman with 3:59 remaining in the contest.
Penn State jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Will Cutler’s goal at the 10:58 mark of the first quarter. Freshman Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y.) scored his first collegiate goal and Notre Dame’s first of the season with 3:55 to play in the first quarter.
Back-to-back goals by the Nittany Lions to start the second quarter gave Penn State a 3-1 advantage early in the period, but Notre Dame responded with three unanswered goal in a nine-minute span to close out the second quarter. The Irish received goals from Howell, Berger and Owen Mulford (Ocean City, Md.) to close out the quarter and take a 4-3 lead into hafltime.
Berger’s second goal off an assist from Karweck with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter and Travis Wells’ (Severna Park, Md.) score just 23 seconds later gave the Irish a 6-3 lead.
John Eremus halted Notre Dame’s five-goal scoring barrage with his only goal of the gae at the 3:58 mark. Sophomore Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y.) tallied Notre Dame’s final goal of the quarter as the Irish owned a 7-4 advantage heading into the final stanza.
Freshman Patrick Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y.) pushed the Notre Dame lead to 8-4 with his first collegiate goal at the 14:49 mark. The Irish and Nittany Lions then traded scores on goals by Marc Young and Berger. Both teams combined for eight goals in the final quarter.
Penn State pulled to within 9-7 on consecutive scores by Nate Whtaker and Feldman.
Junior goalkeeper Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md.) came up with 18 saves as he played all 60 minutes of the contest.
Notre Dame plays its home opener against Pennsylvania on Saturday, March 1 at 1:00 p.m. at the Loftus Sports Center.