April 11, 2004
DENVER, Colo. – Trailing 9-6 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the 18th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team (5-4, 2-1 GWLL) rallied for a 14-12 victory over 17th-ranked Denver Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Lacrosse Field. Sophomore A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) notched seven points (four goals, three assists) – including four in the final 20 minutes – in leading the Irish to an important Great Western Lacrosse League victory.
After junior A Erik Swanson’s unassisted goal with 7:38 to go in the third period, Denver held its largest advantage of the game, 9-6. Notre Dame responded with four goals in the final 4:04 of the quarter to take a 10-9 lead. Inciting the comeback was senior A Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.), who took a feed from Walsh and found the net. Twenty-nine seconds later, Walsh found junior M Brian Giordano (Princeton, N.J./Hun School) for another score. With 1:30 left in the third, Walsh took a pass from sophomore M Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) and netted his third score of the contest to tie the game, 9-9. Karweck then notched his only goal of the day with 30 seconds remaining in the period to put the Irish ahead.
Sophomore M Geoff Snider tied the game at 10-10 with 10:46 remaining in the final quarter, but three Notre Dame goals over the next 2:30 would put the Irish ahead for good. Junior M Frank Matarazzo (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Bergen Catholic H.S.) started the run five seconds after Snider’s tally, winning the faceoff and then scoring on his only shot of the day to give Notre Dame the lead on his second career goal. Giordano netted his third of the game 1:28 later on a pass from sophomore M Matt Ryan (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.). Ryan then found Walsh, who scored his fourth with 8:18 left to put the Irish up 13-10.
Denver junior A Matt Brown scored an unassisted goal with 3:25 to go in the contest – his fifth score of the game on just seven shots – but Ryan iced the victory with a goal of his own with 2:27 left, tallying on his only shot of the day. The Pioneers again pulled within two when sophomore M Adam Goodwin took a pass from junior M Darren Sasaki-Scanlon and scored with 1:50 remaining, but Denver was called for a pair of penalties in the final 80 seconds, limiting its offensive chances.
The victory put Notre Dame in second place in the GWLL by percentage points. Eighth-ranked Ohio State, which beat the Irish 9-8 on March 31 on a goal with 12 seconds remaining in the game, is atop the conference standings with a 2-0 mark. Behind the Irish are Air Force and Denver, which both sport 1-1 marks, while Fairfield is 1-2 and Butler is 0-2. The league champion gains an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, while no GWLL team ever has earned an at-large berth to the NCAAs.
Walsh’s seven points were a season high and one shy of the top performance of his career. He also managed seven points (two goals, five assists) in last year’s 9-8 home win over Denver. The four goals matched his career high, originally set a season ago against Harvard. Walsh, who took just seven shots and had only one saved, has had at least one goal and at least three points in every game in 2004 and came into the week leading the GWLL and ranking fourth nationally in scoring. He now has 18 goals and 21 assists this season for 39 points. Walsh has multiple points in 21 of the 23 games over the last two seasons, and he already ranks tied for 10th on the Irish career assist list (53) and tied for 18th on the career scoring list (91 points), despite having played less than half of his collegiate career.
Giordano, who scored on half of his shots, registered his second hat trick in as many games and fourth of the season. His 16 goals are the most he has scored in a collegiate season, and they tie him with Berger for second on the team.
Karweck and Ryan both had four points with three assists and a goal apiece. Ryan, who had three points in the fourth quarter, matched his career high in both assists and points, originally set earlier this season against Hofstra. Karweck had never previously had multiple assists in a game and had been credited with none throughout the first eight contests of 2004. He also matched his career high in points, tying a four-goal performance in the season opener against Penn State.
The 14 goals by Notre Dame marked the most for a team against the Pioneers this season, as no Denver opponent had managed more than 11 prior to Sunday.
Denver became just the second team to take a 1-0 lead on the Irish when sophomore A Greg Wiegel scored an unassisted goal 2:27 into the game. Notre Dame would then respond with three straight tallies – from Walsh, Giordano, and sophomore M Drew Peters (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon H.S.) – in a 3:00 span. Peters’ goal was his first of the season.
The teams traded goals in the final minute of the first quarter. Swanson scored a man-up tally from Sasaki-Scanlon with 32 seconds left before junior LSM Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y./Freeport H.S.) netted his second goal in three games with 10 seconds remaining.
The Pioneers dominated the second period, outscoring the Irish 5-1 to take a 7-5 lead before Walsh netted a goal in the waning seconds. Denver held a 16-7 ground ball advantage and won six of eight faceoffs in the stanza, which saw three goals by Brown.
Junior A Matt Malakoff (Bay Shore, N.Y./Bay Shore H.S.) scored in the second period for his third goal in as many games after going goalless since the final game of 2002.
Senior G Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md./Landon School) continued his recent hot play, stopping 20 of 32 shots (.625) he faced. His save total was a season best and was just one off his career high. Over the last three games, he is 3-0 with a 5.12 goals-against average and .727 save percentage. In the first six contests of the season, he was 2-4 with a 12.17 GAA and .513 save percentage.
Denver held a 46-34 advantage in ground balls. Junior M Scott Davidson had a game-high seven, while winning 13 of 17 faceoffs. Junior G Brian Sanders corralled six to go with his 18 saves, while Sasaski-Scanlon and Snider had five apiece.
Crosland paced the Irish with a career-high six ground balls, while Karweck, senior M Steve Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md./DeMatha Catholic H.S.), and sophomore D D.J. Driscoll (Downington, Pa./Malvern Preparatory School) had four apiece. Karweck’s performance was a season high, and it matched his career best, set last year vs. Pennsylvania. Clagett (33) and Driscoll (32) are tops for Notre Dame in ground balls this season.
The Pioneers won 19 of 30 faceoffs, but junior M Craig Bishko (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.) was victorious on eight of the 15 draws he took.
Notre Dame, which came into the week first in the conference and fifth in the nation in man-up offense, failed to convert on four opportunities. Denver scored on its lone EMO.
The Irish have won three in a row for the first time this season and are over .500 for the first time since being 1-0.
Notre Dame has won all eight all-time meetings with Denver. This was the first time the Pioneers were ranked higher than the Irish heading into the game, as well as being the highest-ranked Denver squad ever to play Notre Dame.
The Irish will continue a stretch of four GWLL games in 10 days, as they travel to Butler on Thursday for a 4 p.m. (EST) contest before their final home game of the season, next Sunday, April 18, against Fairfield at Noon (EST).