Notre Dame Fighting Irish lacrosse (6-5, 1-2 ACC) dropped one to Cornell (8-4, 9-11) on a very cold and rainy Sunday afternoon.  It was a tough day for the boys.

The Scoring and the Data

If the game was decided on stats, the Irish would have won by a billion.

Costabile once again paced the Irish with 3 goals.  Willets had 2 goals and an assist, and Morin a goal and an assist.  Restic, Mirer, and Gleason had a goal each, and Jackoboice, Leonard and Schantz had an assist each.

Leonard and the faceoff crew had an incredible day winning 20 of 23.  Zullo had another good day with 12 saves.  This yeilded Notre Dame 53% of the possession and 47 total possessions to Cornell’s 39.

The shot total was lopsided towards the Irish, 49-34 (26-23).  Similarly, there was a large ground ball advantage (36-19).

Notre Dame did well man-up, succeeding on 2 of 5 attempts.  Clears were a bit sloppy, but not terrible so given the weather conditions.

Petterson led Cornell with 3 goals, and Ierlan rescued the Big Red with second outstanding 17-save total of the week.

The Plot

Hard rain and 36 degree temperatures welcomed the players.  The broadcast made it hard to keep track as the rain soaked the camera lens as well.  It seems ESPN arrived without a towel or a squeegee.

Costabile opened the scoring, with Cornell then replying with two of their own.  It went back-and-forth, with the half ending in an even 4-4.

The teams continued to trade goals early in the second half, until Cornell rallied to go clear 4 goals.  The Irish mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback with goals from Morin, Costabile and Gleason to come within one.  However, Ierlan frustrated the Irish with timely saves, and the rally came up just short.

Our Comments

The weather was a huge factor in this game.  Notwithstanding the rain, we anticipated a few things would determine the outcome.  No great insight on our part, the game was as straightforward as we expected.

  1. Control Teat:  The key Cornell attackmen was held to 2 goals and an assist, which is below his usual total, and while the rest of the attack performed well, the Irish won’t be too dissatisfied holding Cornell to 10 goals.  Zullo’s 12 saves were critical to this effort.
  2. Limit turnovers:   18 turnovers on the scoresheet isn’t terrible given the weather, but we suspect the boys will agree that total flatters them a bit as they had a rough day handling the ball, certainly moreso than Cornell.  They will feel they squandered the huge faceoff, possession and ground ball advantage they earned.
  3. Score fast and keep up:  The boys certainly gave it a go with a 49-36 shot advantage. notes the Irish went to the cage much earlier in their possessions than usual, and this often suggests less than ideal shot selection.  The Irish ultimately shot 18%, which is well below their average and cannot be entirely blamed on the weather and great performance by Ierlan, the Cornell goalie.  Frankly, we can’t say with any certainty why things shook out like they did as it was really hard to see on the broadcast, but the stats suggest what they suggest.

There were some huge positives that must be noted.  Charles Leonard and the faceoff unit’s 20 of 23 performance was incredible.  Zullo’s 12 saves were a great show.  The ground ball and possession advantage show the tremendous effort levied by the Irish.  These are very important building blocks for the preparations towards the ACC tournament.

For what it’s worth, the boys have probably had enough of these cold and rainy days.  We’ve watched them slog through enough of them to wish them a few afternoons playing in the warm sun. It’s weather more suitable for their style of play and more enjoyable, too.

Up next

#18 North Carolina visits Arlotta this Saturday at noon, ESPNU.  It’s safe to say it’s a must win game for both teams and their playoff aspirations.  Interestingly for the Irish, it seems they are destined to play Duke to open the ACC tournament regardless of the outcome, either in the #2 vs. #3 game, or in the #4 vs. #5 game.