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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Observer

Irish men’s lacrosse rolls past Georgetown on the road

It is normally a safe bet that leaving South Bend in February will bring you to better weather. That was not the case for Notre Dame men’s lacrosse, who were met with freezing temperatures and snow flurries for their trip to Washington, D.C., to face Georgetown. But inclement weather was no obstacle for the No. 2 Irish on Saturday, as they jumped out to a big first-quarter lead and did not look back, downing the No. 17 Hoyas 15-8 and improving to 3-0 on the year.

Notre Dame entered the game highly motivated. The Irish hoped to remain undefeated and pick up an important road win over a ranked opponent, but also to avenge their defeat against Georgetown last year at home. In that game, the Hoyas led 6-1 after the first quarter and had taken the air out of Arlotta Stadium with most of the game still to be played. It was nearly the exact opposite scenario on Saturday. The Irish scored their first goal less than one minute into the game and were in total control for the remaining 59.

That first goal came from junior midfielder Eric Dobson, who would finish the game with a second consecutive hat-trick, continuing his strong start to the season. Dobson’s goal extended the Irish’s streak of scoring on the opening possession of every game they have played this season.

Notre Dame’s lead doubled soon after when sophomore attacker Chris Kavanagh — the team’s leading scorer — put a second shot past the Georgetown goalie. Kavanagh’s score was one for the highlight reel. He jumped while running away from the goal before spinning in midair and launching a bullet into the top corner of the net. He would also score three goals in the game, one of three Irish players to do so along with Dobson and senior midfielder Reilly Gray.

Trailing 2-0, the Hoyas answered with their first score less than a minute later. They were not able to make up any ground, though, as the pattern of Notre Dame scoring twice and Georgetown answering with one would continue for the rest of the first quarter. The period ended with the Irish holding a 6-3 advantage.

That lead was made all the more impressive by the fact that Georgetown went 6-10 on faceoffs in the quarter. Notre Dame’s defense forced five turnovers in the first. Those, along with two tough saves made by senior goalie Liam Entenmann, allowed the Irish to make up the possession deficit and take the lead. Last year against Georgetown, the Irish were just 9-29 on faceoffs, and that discrepancy was a key factor in them losing that game. On Saturday, Notre Dame was a similar 11-27, but won in a blowout, thanks to their defense winning back the ball and their offense taking full advantage of limited opportunities.

After a frantic opening 15 minutes, both defenses settled in, and the pace slowed down significantly. Four minutes into the quarter, Notre Dame struck first. Gray tallied his second goal of the game on a jump shot that he converted while being shoved to the ground by a defender. Graduate student midfielder Brian Tevlin added another three minutes later, and the Irish held an 8-3 lead midway through the second.

That was their fourth time scoring back-to-back goals in the game, but Georgetown had responded with a score after each of the first three instances. This time around, Notre Dame snapped that streak, as Dobson’s third goal of the day pushed their advantage to 9-3. That score would hold until halftime, as the Hoyas were held scoreless for the entire quarter. The shutout quarter was the Irish’s second of the year, after they had done the same in the third quarter of their season opener against Marquette.

Lacrosse is often a game of runs, and a six-goal halftime advantage could be wiped away in an instant if Notre Dame let their guard down. In last year’s matchup, Georgetown held a 11-2 lead before the Irish rattled off eight consecutive goals. But Notre Dame had no intention of letting a similar situation play out on Saturday, and they kept their foot on the gas pedal after the break.

Kavanagh scored twice in the quarter, one of them assisted by his brother, senior attacker Pat Kavanagh. Entering the final quarter, the Irish’s lead had been extended to 13-5. And when Gray completed his hat-trick midway through the fourth to give Notre Dame a double-digit lead at 15-5, it was clear that there would be no stopping the Irish. Georgetown scored three times in the final minutes, but it was too little, too late, as Notre Dame closed out a 15-8 victory.

The win was the Irish’s first on the road, as well as their first against a ranked opponent. They will have a chance to get their second in both of those categories next Saturday, when they travel to face No. 9 Maryland. That game will continue their gauntlet of a schedule. Including Georgetown, nine of Notre Dame’s final 10 opponents are currently ranked in the top 20. The tenth, Michigan, is receiving votes and sits just outside of the rankings.

Regardless, Saturday’s result will give the Irish confidence that they match up well with any team in the nation. Having defeated their first three opponents by a combined 28 goals, Notre Dame looks ready to keep on winning.