March 14, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fifth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team (1-2) fell behind 5-1 in the first quarter and could not recover, losing 14-11 to #9 North Carolina (4-1) Sunday afternoon in the Loftus Sports Center. After the initial spurt, the Irish cut the lead to two goals on four occasions, but could never come closer than that in losing to a top-10 team for the second time in four days. Sophomore All-American A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) led Notre Dame offensively with three goals and three assists.
North Carolina junior A Jed Prossner finished with six goals — four in the first period and two to extend the Tar Heel lead back to three after Notre Dame had cut it down. He added a pair of assists and now has 15 goals in five contests this spring. Junior M Bryant Will also was effective offensively, ending up with three goals on four shots to go with a trio of assists.
Junior G Paul Spellman stopped 17 shots for a .607 save percentage, though the Irish were the first team to score double-digit goals against him in five games this season.
After Walsh gave Notre Dame its only lead of the game with an unassisted goal 1:26 into the game, Will found junior A Mike McCall for a goal at the 11:16 mark to even the score. Prossner then scored twice in 32 seconds, off feeds from Will and sophomore D Andrew McElduff, before getting an assist on McCall’s second goal that came 19 seconds later to complete a stretch of three goals in 51 seconds. Prossner’s unassisted tally at 5:50 gave North Carolina a 5-1 advantage.
Midway through the second quarter, senior Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington H.S.) took a pass from Walsh and scored before sophomore Brian Hubschmann (Short Hill, N.J./Delbarton H.S.) netted a solo goal to cut the lead to 7-5. But the Tar Heels responded with two unassisted goals before halftime — from Will at 2:58 and sophomore A Scott Falatach at 0:42 — to extend their lead to 9-5.
Sophomore Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) registered the first two goals of the second half to bring the Irish to within 9-7 with 7:13 left in the third. He took a feed from senior Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) for a man-up goal 35 seconds into the period before netting one from junior M Brian Giordano (Princeton, N.J./Hun School). Once again, North Carolina responded with two unassisted goals to end the period, getting scores from Prossner just 19 seconds after Karweck’s second goal and then the first of the season from sophomore M Kevin Henderson with 2:20 left.
Notre Dame started the fourth quarter by scoring twice in the first 1:35 to pull within 11-9. Walsh had an unassisted tally 44 seconds into the period and sophomore M Matt Ryan (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.) scored 51 seconds later. McElduff took a pass from Will to put UNC back up by three with a goal at 8:58, but Walsh scored from Ryan with 6:40 remaining to pull Notre Dame to within two for the final time, 12-10.
For a final time, the Heels responded, as Prossner netted his sixth goal 58 seconds later and then assisted on Will’s third goal with 2:02 left to ice the game.
Notre Dame continued a trend of having offense generated from a wide variety of players. In the season opener Feb. 29 against Penn State, six Irish players netted multiple goals. Four accomplished the feat on Thursday at Syracuse, and five did it on Sunday. Howell, Ryan, Hubschmann, and Karweck all had two to go along with Walsh’s hat trick, his second in three games this season after having just two all of last year.
For the second game in a row, Notre Dame lost the ground ball battle, this time by a margin of 36-28, including 11-5 in the third period. Senior M Kevin Frew led the Tar Heels with 12, most of them on faceoffs, on which he was victorious in half of the game’s 28.
Notre Dame won half of the faceoffs for the first time this season, with juniors M Frank Matarazzo (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Bergen Catholic H.S.) and M Craig Bishko (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.) splitting the duties. Both won seven draws, with Bishko taking 15 and Matarazzo 13. Matarazzo registered a career-high five ground balls, all coming on faceoffs.
Ryan turned in the first multiple-goal game of his career, tied his career-high with three points, and collected a career-best five ground balls, sharing the team lead with Matarazzo.
Irish senior G Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md./Landon School) stopped 14 shots, including seven in the third quarter.
Notre Dame outshot the Heels 46-39, including 16-7 in the final period.
The Irish will return to action next weekend, traveling to #12 Loyola for a 1 p.m. (EST) contest on Saturday.