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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

13, 51, 20240225, Arlottta Stadium, Georgetown, Jake Taylor, Meghan Lange, Men's Lacrosse, Pat Kavanagh.jpg

Georgetown hands No. 1 ranked Notre Dame first loss of the season in OT thriller

On Sunday, the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team’s highly anticipated matchup against Georgetown in South Bend did not disappoint. The Irish entered the game having throttled their first two opponents, Cleveland State and Marquette, by a combined score of 46-11. This would be their first of many tests against currently top-10-ranked opponents, as Georgetown came into the game ranked No. 10. However, they sputtered out the gate with two straight losses to start the season against now No. 24-ranked Loyola and No. 4-ranked Johns Hopkins. They followed that with a strong performance in a victory against now No. 12-ranked Penn before making the trip to South Bend.

Going on the road against the national champions did not faze the Hoyas, as they took a 3-1 lead out of the first quarter. This came on a run of three unanswered goals following graduate student Jake Taylor’s behind-the-back opener for the Irish. That said, both teams were sloppy out of the gate, combining for 15 turnovers in the quarter. The second quarter saw the Irish tie the game through goals from Taylor and graduate student middy Devon McLane. Georgetown answered back through senior middy Chase Llewellyn’s second goal of the day, taking a one-goal lead out of a cagy first half. In a game with eight ties and four lead changes, the margins were extremely fine. 

In the second half, penalties became the story on both sides. After another low-scoring quarter that ended with the score knotted at sixes, the Irish took the final 1:16 of a two-minute unreleasable penalty into the fourth quarter with a prime opportunity to take control. That’s exactly what junior attackman Chris Kavanagh did to begin the quarter, scoring to put the Irish up 7-6. The Irish took advantage of two more man-up opportunities in the quarter, but Georgetown had an answer for each goal. With the Irish up 9-8, the penalty luck took a massive shift. Graduate attackman Pat Kavanagh was handed a 2-minute unreleasable after a vicious loose ball hit. Junior attackman Cade Caggiano tied the game during the following man-up possession but was hit illegally on the shot, leading to another 2-minute unreleasable penalty. This put the Hoyas in a six-on-four situation for a minute. That’s when All-American graduate student goalie Liam Entenmann made one of the plays of the day, stuffing a Hoya shot attempt and making a full-field sprint to clear the ball, winding up in the corner of the field opposite to his goal. However, the Irish went offsides on the play, unable to get a timeout off and secure possession. Despite heroically killing the six-on-four, Entenmann was not able to stop senior attackman Aidan Carroll from scoring the go-ahead goal with three minutes remaining. 

It was do or die for the Irish defense on the ensuing possession after Georgetown secured the faceoff and called a timeout, another goal likely ending the game. The defense held strong and executed the clear, calling a timeout of their own on the other end with 21 seconds left on the shot clock. As brilliant as head coach Kevin Corrigan is, his strategy out of the timeout was simple: put the ball in your best player’s hands. Shuffling back into a running start on the left sideline, Pat Kavanagh got downhill in a one-on-one with freshman defender Ty Banks, cut hard in a half-spin onto his right hand, and fired a scorcher into the top-left corner of the net. Tie game. After winning the following faceoff, the Irish took another timeout and prepared for the final shot of regulation. This time, the Hoya defense stood strong against Kavanagh, sending the game to overtime. Coming up big once again, junior face-off man Will Lynch, as he had all game (winning 15 of 22 faceoffs) secured the faceoff for Notre Dame, giving them a second crack at the game-winning goal. However, they were stymied once again when Devon McLane’s behind-the-head shot from a sharp angle was saved by freshman goalie Anderson Moore. On the next possession, Georgetown finally had their moment. Aidan Carroll went to work starting behind the goal, and after wriggling free of his defender about fifteen yards away, he fired home the game-winner to knock off the No. 1 team in the country on their turf. He wheeled away in celebration followed by his entire team and the ecstatic head coach Kevin Warne, who in his excitement completed a backward somersault by the bench. 

Following the slow start to the season, Georgetown produced the best possible response in a game marked by resilience and discipline, especially on the defensive end, where they held the star Kavanagh brothers to a combined four points. They will look to continue momentum back at home against Brown on Saturday. The Irish, on the other hand, will not have time to dwell on the heartbreaking loss as they will face No. 7 ranked Maryland on Sunday in what should be another challenging test.