Notre Dame Fighting Irish lacrosse (#6/#8 1-0, 0-0 ACC) will travel to Richmond, Virginia, to take on the Spiders (2-1, 0-0 SoCon), this Saturday at noon. The game will streamed on ESPN+.
Last year, Notre Dame prevailed in Arlotta, 11-7. It was an odd game, with the Irish taking a 5-0 lead and looking dominant, only to have the wheels fall off for 8 minutes allowing Richmond to score 6 and take the lead. The Irish corrected course to eventually win with some comfort. Richmond went on to finish 11-6 for the season, with a SoCon championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Richmond is a lacrosse expansion success story. The last four years have been seasons of at least 11 wins and have included three SoCon championships. The team had earned a reputation for great defense, but has since broadened itself to be a well-balanced team. This season the have beaten Bucknell and UMBC, and only lost by 1 goal to #3 Maryland. They will be a tough road test.
Players to watch are Ryan Lanchbury and Teddy Hatfield. Both score a whole lot, and combined they are in the neighborhood of 70% of the Richmond offense.
We’ll be focused on a few things during this game:
- Depth: Last season the coaching staff significantly shortened the bench from the Detroit game to the Richmond game. Some of it was due to injury, but the coaches also indicated they did not believe there would be as much running opportunity and wanted to keep the 8 best on the field. In the shot clock era and with the athletic advantage the Irish should have, we sincerely hope that will not be the case in Richmond.
- 60 minutes: The story of last year’s tilt was that Notre Dame had a lapse in intensity that nearly cost them the game. They went from dominant to on the ropes in 8 minutes. No one expects perfection in the second game of the season and first road game, but the team can’t lose the plot like that again. We’re looking for a consistent effort from beginning to end.
- Assists: We noted last week that we’d like to see a higher assist-to-goal ratio. Not that what we saw against Detroit was bad, but there is a hope that the team will not be dominated by scoring off the dodge. If we have a huge athletic advantage that makes dodging the best bet, so be it, but we have to assume any athletic advantage will shrink when the team gets to ACC play, so finding supplemental ways to score would be ideal.
Notre Dame -3, o/u 20 for those interested in that sort of thing.