Notre Dame Fighting Irish lacrosse (RPI#10, 7-5 2-2 ACC) beat North Carolina (7-6, 1-3 ACC) 12-10 on Saturday afternoon at Arlotta.  The Irish secure the #3 seed in the ACC Tournament and a rematch against Duke this coming Saturday.

The Scoring and the Data

Brendan Gleason had a huge day with 5 goals, and Brian Willets had a career-best 2 goals and 4 assists.  Costabile had 2 goals, with Jackoboice and McCahon adding a goal and an assist each.  Morin had a goal, and Westlin had 2 assists.

Zullo had 4 saves, with Schmidt adding a save in relief.

The Irish outshot UNC by a huge margin, 50-26, won the ground ball battle 25-21, and had a substantial advantage at faceoff, 17-8. Notre Dame also limited its turnovers to 10, one of its best figures for the season.

The Irish were also perfect on clears while holding the Tar Heels to 15 of 18.  Neither team scored man-up.

Notre Dame had 58% of the possession and was a bit more deliberate than usual, going to the cage 42 seconds into possessions.

Both teams were efficient on offense (33%), with Notre Dame’s seven extra possessions resulting in the difference.

The Plot

The game began with the announcement that Brendan Gleason was chosen to wear the #40 of Mike Sennett.

Gleason  immediately answered the call with the first 2 goals for Notre Dame.  UNC went on a small run, but Costabile and Morin scored late in the 2nd to end the half 4-4.

The Irish began to assert their possession dominance in the third, scoring the first three and going up 7-4.  UNC remained game and stayed in range, but a final late goal by Gleason (his 5th) iced the game for Notre Dame.

Our Questions and Notes

We considered three issues pregame:

  1. Break the North Carolina Ride:  YES!  The Irish were perfect.  The Tar Heels applied early 10-man pressure, but careful ball handling and a willingness to take shots with the UNC goalie out of the crease forced North Carolina to reconsider applying 10-man pressure.
  2. Shooting percentage:  12 goals on 50 shots is not ideal on paper, but an aggregate 33% efficiency is a solid improvement as compared to recent weeks.  We’ll continue to keep this on the list as we hope the Irish make better use of their possession advantage with better shotmaking.
  3. Defensive midfield:  Against the North Carolina offense the hope was the defensive midfield could hold its own without slide help.  The first quarter had a few rough plays but the unit steadily improved throughout the game.  With the Tar Heels unable to force defensive rotation, they had to go deep into the shot clock for opportunities.

The alternate uniforms looked sharp!

We noticed that the recent strong faceoff performances by Leonard is allowing Notre Dame to utilize Schantz on the wing.  An option that doesn’t require two poles on the wings is sure to yield better transition opportunities.

The variations in substitutions seemed to create opportunities for the Irish.  We were please to see this creativity by the coaching staff.

Gleason wore the #40 to ACC Player of the Week honors.


The win was a great send-off for our seniors.

As members of #TeamGoalie, we have to discourage future mid-game goalie changes unless there is a clear need to do so.  Notre Dame is blessed with two good keepers of contrasting styles, both of whom we enjoy watching play.  Putting in a cold goalie is a not ideal in the best of circumstances, and it’s hard to understand why when the team has the lead.  The coaching staff knows more about lacrosse than we ever will, so we defer to their judgment, but the timing of the change is hard for us to understand.


The ACC Tournament!

Notre Dame will play Duke this Saturday at 4:30 in the #2/#3 semifinal, hosted by North Carolina, ESPNU.