Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse (#12/14/17 1-1, 0-0 ACC) lost 8-9 to the Richmond Spiders (#11/14/16 3-1, 0-0 SoCon) in the cold and hard rain on Saturday in Virginia. The lacrosse media predictably overreacted and dropped them from #8 to #17 in their poll. Good grief.
The Scoring and the Data
Brian Willetts, Conor Morin, and Bryan Costabile had 2 goals each. Brendan Gleason had a goal and an assist, and Timmy Phillips added a goal. Freshman Quinn McCahon had 2 assists for the Irish.
The Irish took 36 shots, with 19 on cage (Richmond 33/20).
The Irish had 30 ground balls to Richmond’s 17. Arden Cohen had 8 of them, with Kielty and Leonard picking up 4 each.
Schmidt had 11 saves for 55% for the whole game.
Leonard took all but 1 of the 20 draws, with the Irish earning a slight 11-20 lead.
Notre Dame had 16 turnovers, but only 5 were caused. They also cleared a respectable 20 of 22 (Richmond 18-20).
The boys only managed 19% offensive efficiency (22% for Richmond). Notre Dame had 42 possessions to the Spiders’s 40.
The Irish kept up a brisk 34.5 second per possession pace (43 seconds for Richmond).
Richmond had 53% of the possession.
Ryan Lanchbury continued his great scoring season for Richmond with a hat trick against the Irish.
Hard, cold rain greeted the players for their noon start in Richmond.
Notre Dame quickly got behing 3-0 halfway through the 1st, with the Spiders scoring a last-second goal to finish the 1st up 4-1. The Irish closed the gap in the second on a goal by Gleason and two by Costabile to finish the half down 4-5.
The boys had a hard time getting points early in the second half and found themselves down 6-9 well into the fourth. Morin lead the Irish comeback with two late goals to close the gap to 1. The Irish had the ball for a last-minute possession, but Costabile’s potential tying shot went wide to end the game.
We had indentified 3 areas for observation in our preview.
- Depth: The Irish trimmed back their lineup a good bit from the Detorit game, but did consistently run a 2 midfield line usually composed of Mirer, McNamara and Stinn, and ran a deep array of 2-way midfielders. The there wasn’t any personnel variety on attack outside of man-up situations. 33 players saw the field. Not quite what we had hoped for, but this may be partly to do with Richmond’s pace and ball control.
- 60 Minutes: The strong comeback is a good sign of the fight in the Irish, and we wouldn’t say they were flat, especially considering the weather challenges. However, it wasn’t a precise effort. Early in the game defensive communication didn’t appear to be crisp, and we’d guess Schmidt would like the one to end the first back, and maybe to not be so quick to give up the pipe. The offense certainly wishes it connected on some of its better looks.
- Assists: The scorecard only showed 3 assists, but a closer look at the game showed the Irish had many great looks that did not find the back of the net. There were a lot of passes on the break that failed to convert, and quite a few good passes to the crease that just didn’t result in goals. The Irish were certainly emphasizing the dodge, but we wouldn’t suggest they weren’t making an effort to move the ball and get it inside.
The loss, the errant shotmaking, and low score had a lot of folk worried that the offensive woes of the late winter of 2018 had returned. We watched the game again late in the weekend and suggest there are a lot of positives to be taken from the loss. At the end of the day it was a loss, but they only lost by one goal, and had a chance to tie in the waning seconds. It would be hard for them to shoot worse and they only lost by one. What appeared to be a subpar effort still only yeilded 9 goals and allowed a meager 22% efficiency.
There are a lot of teams currently ranked ahead of them that have gotten pantsed by teams certainly no better than Richmond.
We strongly suggest it was a glass is half full loss.
We send special thanks to our readers, colleagues and Twitter followers for assisting us in compiling thoughts on this game. We appreciate the comments, and encourage fans of this team to let us know their thoughts in the comments section or to our Twitter account @ND_Atl.
The Irish are home this weekend for a noon Sunday game against #2 Maryland, with the Terrapins to be greeted with a high temperature of 16 degrees. The game will be the featured ESPNU lacrosse game, and Notre Dame’s own Mike Golic, Jr. will be in the press box to help with the call.