Notre Dame men’s lacrosse will host Detroit Mercy this Sunday, February 11, at 1:00 PM. The game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra, which is available on the WatchESPN app. The Titans have previously played the Irish on two occasions, the last being a 14-5 loss to Notre Dame in 2016. Detroit was 5-11 in 2017, and plays in the MAAC.
2018 campaign begins
The Irish will have a very new look with the graduation of Perkovic, Doss and Epple, players who started for the Irish nearly the entire time they were on campus. We believe this presents Notre Dame with a good opportunity. Perkovic cast a big shadow and his presence on the field required the team to play in a certain way. Now the shackles for his understudies are taken off. Similarly, Notre Dame has had a very long tradition of high quality goaltending in players like the Kemp brothers, Scotty Rodgers, and most recently, the long career of Shane Doss. Coach Corrigan accumulated tremendous depth at this position that has been kept hidden by Doss’ long tenure, and now we have a full on position battle for the first time in years. These are good things
The Irish played many combinations in their two preseason scrimmages, and they’ve published handy previews for the Attack, Midfield, an Defense/Goal position groups. The attack seems to have a base line of Wynne, Garnsey, and Willets, with freshmen Morin and Jackoboice pushing for playing time as senior captain Mikey Wynne finishes recovering from injury. It’s great to see Willets back at the attack position and healthy again. Watching this group push each other will be fantastic!
The offensive midfield looks very deep with lines of Costabile-Gleason (moving from attack)-Collins and Byrne-Phillips-Drake, and a pileup of sophomores and freshmen behind them that will get lots of time. On the defensive end it is an embarrassment of riches, with Sexton (#46Trucking!), Cochran, Restic, Hadley, Leonard, etc. at the LSM, and Schantz, Millikin, Gaiss, Gayhardt, Komatz, etc. in SSDM roles.
Hyland, Travisano and Leonard are the faceoff options, and this group has made some serious improvement over the offseason, bravo!
Another embarrassment of riches in goal, with Coach Corrigan teasing us with the option of Molloy or freshman Schmidt to start, with Marchese and Zullo looking very good in the scrimmages as well. All these guys can stop shots, the questions will be who presents the best option for clears and such.
The makeup of the close D is a bit of a mystery. For the first time in possibly a decade, there is not an existing All-American at close D (albeit with Sexton and Schantz being All-Americans at D-midfield). Not that we are worried that Coach Gerry Byrne won’t have a great defense back there, but it will certainly be younger that we are accustomed to seeing. We’ll see Crance anchor the line, with Kielty, Atlanta’s Trense, the freshman Cohen, in support. Again, the youth takes some getting used to for those who’ve watched ND for a while, but they have looked very good so far. As we mentioned last year, Crance wearing the #30 of Ed Glazener (or as fans of the MLL Atlanta Blaze say, “Blazener”) is well deserved. Crance is a great communicator, much like his predecessor. This skill goes a very long way in integrating new players into a defense.
The Titans will be returning four of their top five scorers from 2017, and have a very good short stick defensive midfielder (SSDM) in Charlie Hayes who had one of the highest caused turnover rates in the country for a short stick player. The goalie position appears uncertain. They can but some points on the board and will be a decent test for our reconstructed defense.
Our focus for this game against the Titans will be:
- How impressive is the face-off unit? Hyland/Travisano have impressed, and ND has stallions at LSM to play the wings, but there are only a few weeks before Denver and Trevor Baptiste drop in. Our guys have to pass the eyeball test immediately so we may gauge our chances against Baptiste. Without real-game observation, it will be crazy to hope the Irish can make close to a 50/50 proposition, but we believe they will make a vast improvement over the 21 losses out of 22 faceoffs in the 2017 NCAA quarterfinals.
- Will man-down defense appear organized? The close D will be young, but they are talented and should be fine in the 6-on-6 set. Man-down zone is a different animal, and the Irish struggled last year after being exceptional the year before. It goes without saying defenders this talented should be able to perform at a high-level.
- Will we see creativity in the offense? There are a lot of new faces and combinations on offense, led by the magician Ryder Garnsey. Former Johns Hopkins All-American John Crawley has also been added to the coaching staff. We are hopeful that the team will take the opportunity to sprinkle in some creativity into an offense that has often been predictable.
The 2018 National Championship campaign is set to begin!