Freshman attackman Westy Hopkins celebrates one of his three goals against Villanova.

No. 2 Irish Top No. 8 Villanova 12-8 To Remain Undefeated

April 2, 2011

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The second-ranked Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team captured a 12-8 victory over No. 8 Villanova on Saturday afternoon in front of 2,655 fans at Arlotta Stadium. The win improved the Fighting Irish to 7-0, including 2-0 in BIG EAST play.

Senior attackman Colin Igoe and freshman attackman Westy Hopkins both netted a career-high three goals for Notre Dame. Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman added two goals and an assist for the Irish.

Villanova (7-3, 0-2) jumped out to a 5-2 lead by the 12:07 mark of the second quarter, but the Irish scored five straight goals to take a 7-5 advantage into halftime.

The Fighting Irish second-quarter surge began with 11:05 on the clock on a goal from sophomore midfielder Steve Murphy. His classmate Ryan Foley assisted on the tally. Igoe then scored off a pass from David Earl with 7:14 left in the first half. Brenneman evened the contest (5-5) with 6:16 remaining in the stanza.

Notre Dame claimed its first lead of the day on a Sean Rogers goal with just under two minutes left in the opening half. Another Earl-to-Igoe connection gave the Irish a two-goal advantage (7-5) with 23 seconds remaining in the period.

“We didn’t make many adjustments (after the early deficit). Our guys recognized what they (Villanova) were doing and really moved the ball well today,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. “I thought they (Villanova) were having trouble recovering off of their slides because they were trying to slide really aggressively to a couple of our guys. Our guys did a great job at not holding the ball and putting the ball in play and letting the ball do the work. You’re tough to defend when you do that.”

Villanova’s CJ Burke put a halt to the Irish uprising with just over four minutes elapsed in the second half with his third goal of the contest. The Wildcats knotted the game 56 seconds later on a Jack Rice tally.

Hopkins put Notre Dame on top for good (8-7) with 1:43 left in the third quarter. Brenneman assisted on the goal. Notre Dame senior Jake Marmul won the ensuing faceoff and then fed Hopkins who scored to make it a 9-7 affair with 1:31 left to play in the period. A Michael Vigilante goal sliced the Irish lead to one (9-8) by the end of the third quarter.

The Fighting Irish defense kept Villanova off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. Brenneman’s second goal put Notre Dame up 10-8 with two minutes gone by in the final period. Hopkins completed his hat trick with 2:14 remaining, while Igoe did so with 1:52 left.

The Wildcats struck first in the contest as Rice scored just over two minutes into the game. Notre Dame junior attackman Nicholas Beattie made it 1-1 with 9:53 left in the first quarter. Three straight Villanova goals made it a 4-1 contest with 1:40 left in the opening period. Fighting Irish junior midfielder Eric Keppeler scored off a pass from Murphy with 24 seconds showing on the clock to make it a 4-2 affair at the end of the first quarter.

“Villanova is a very good team and they’re hard to play against,” added Corrigan. “You don’t play against guys who play like that a lot. I thought we did a good job this week preparing for that, but it’s still different when you get into the game and it’s their guys. They are tough to defend. Part of the problem early is that I think they had four of the first five possessions in the game.”

Villanova held a slight 38-34 edge in shots. Both teams won 11 faceoffs. Marmul went 7-12, while freshman Liam O’Connor was 4-10. Sophomore goalie John Kemp made 11 saves for Notre Dame, while Billy Hurley had eight stops for Villanova.

The 12 goals matched Notre Dame’s largest offensive output of the season. The Fighting Irish also had 12 tallies against Duke in the season opener.

The Irish return to action next Sunday when they play host to Georgetown in BIG EAST play. Opening faceoff is slated for noon (ET) at Arlotta Stadium. The game will be aired live on ESPNU.

April 2, 2011 – Arlotta Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
#8 Villanova (7-3, 0-2) – 4 1 3 0 – 8
#2 Notre Dame (7-0, 2-0) – 2 5 2 3 – 12

Villanova Scoring (goals-assists):
CJ Burke 3-1, Jack Rice 2-0, C.J. Small 2-0, Michael Vigilante 1-0, Kevin Cunningham 0-3, Will Casertano 0-2, Nick Doherty 0-1; Goaltender: Billy Hurley (L, 60:00, 8 saves, 12 GA)

Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Westy Hopkins 3-0, Colin Igoe 3-0, Zach Brenneman 2-1, Steve Murphy 1-1, Nicholas Beattie 1-0, Sean Rogers 1-0, Eric Keppeler 1-0, David Earl 0-2, Ryan Foley 0-1, Jake Marmul 0-1; Goaltender: John Kemp (W, 60:00, 11 saves, 8 GA)

— ND —