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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

13, 50, 51, 20240225, Arlottta Stadium, Chris Kavanagh, Georgetown, Jake Taylor, Meghan Lange, Men's Lacrosse, Pat Kavanagh-2.jpg

Notre Dame men’s lacrosse responds after early season slip-up, handles No. 3 Maryland at home

Coming into the season returning their core nucleus of stars and being handed the No. 1 spot in the national rankings after winning last year’s national championship, the build-up of excitement around this year's Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team was monumental. The loss to Georgetown early in the season was a healthy wake-up call. It was a reminder for the Irish that this season will be far from a cakewalk, with a gauntlet of both ACC and non-conference teams all hungry to take down the reigning champs. That’s exactly what No. 3 Maryland hoped to do in Arlotta Stadium on Sunday. This time, the Irish were up to the challenge.

On a picturesque day in South Bend with the Notre Dame football team in attendance, the Irish put on a show. Maryland’s opening goal from senior attackman Daniel Maltz gave the Terrapins what would be their only lead of the entire game. Graduate student Jake Taylor, one of the stars of the game, responded quickly to open the scoring for the Irish. Graduate attacker Pat Kavanagh followed up with an over-the-shoulder finish that left Maryland senior defenseman Ajax Zappitello, arguably the best defenseman in the country, helpless. Taylor would score again, taking a catch straight into a spin before dispatching from an impossible angle.

Notre Dame then took a 4-1 lead through another perfectly executed man-up attack ending in another Taylor goal, giving him a hat trick in just the first quarter. This brilliant Irish man-up unit came into the day 5 for 7 and would continue its dominance, going 3 for 4 in the game.

The key to the group’s success comes from the threats Notre Dame has all over the field. Defenses have to deal with the Kavanaughs, two of the best passers in the country, Eric Dobson at the top of the key prepared to unleash a 100-mph shot at any moment and two of the best inside scorers in the country in Taylor and Jeffrey Ricciardelli, both possessing surgical hands off the catch in tight areas. Opponents are left with no good decision to make.

From the second quarter onward, Maryland hung around but never threatened the Irish, who maintained a lead of two or greater for the remainder of the game. Graduate student midfielder Devon McLane took over the second quarter, scoring a hat trick of his own that contributed to Notre Dame’s 9-5 lead at the half. McLane, who transferred from Brown, has proven to be a wonderful addition to the Irish and is currently the leading point-scorer in the midfield. In the third quarter, freshman attack Jordan Faison scored a pair of goals in front of his football teammates, the first a behind-the-back beauty followed by a point to the sideline during the celebration.

The rest of the quarter was defined by a matchup between the two best goalies in the country. Graduate student Liam Entenmann made seven of his 13 saves in the quarter, allowing only one goal, while Maryland graduate student Logan McNaney made three saves including an unbelievable stop on the doorstep against Chris Kavanagh. McNaney kept the Terrapins in the game as they opened the fourth quarter with a couple of goals to cut the lead to three. After Chris Kavanagh scored a big goal to slow Maryland’s momentum, their senior attackman Eric Malever scored his third goal of the day. However, Maryland couldn’t get any closer. Ricciardelli dispatched another perfectly executed Irish man-up attack and Faison put on the exclamation mark, completing his hat trick into an open net. 

The performance in the resounding win helped the Irish claim the No. 4 spot in the new set of rankings. They hope to build momentum as they travel to Columbus and take on Ohio State on Saturday at noon. Big Ten Plus will provide the broadcast.