Feb. 20, 2016
No one pitched a perfect game or won the Triple Crown or sunk a last-second, half-court shot.
But that's okay with University of Notre Dame men's lacrosse head coach Kevin Corrigan, whose top-rated team set the tone early-breaking to a 4-0 lead after the opening period and rolling to an eventual 12-7 triumph over 13th-ranked Georgetown.
The contest came in the season opener for both teams, played at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the campus of Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, north of Atlanta.
Junior midfielder and returning All-American Sergio Perkovic notched two of his team-high four goals (his eighth career contest with three or more goals) in the first 15 minutes, and junior goaltender Shane Doss got off to a hot start, making six saves in the opening period.
The Hoyas hung tough. Notre Dame built its lead to 7-2 midway through the second period before Georgetown tallied three straight times, the last in the second period and then the first two in the third to cut the margin to 7-5. From there Irish freshman Ryder Garnsey recorded his first collegiate goal and Perkovic added his third. That upped the Irish advantage to 9-5 with 10:25 to go in the third period--and the Hoyas never got closer than three the rest of the afternoon.
"It was kind of a typical opening game," said Corrigan. "A few sloppy turnovers, a few times you shake your head. It took a while to get into a rhythm-we played through some stuff early.
"Our face-off game was really good, and I thought our defense played well, considering you don't know what you're going to see in an opening game. We forced then to search a little on offense because we took away some of the knowns."
Perkovic's fourth tally came at the 6:59 mark of the final period (on a man-up attempt), as his 11 shots qualified as four more than anyone else on the Irish roster (senior captain and returning All-American Matt Kavanagh had seven).
Sophomore Mikey Wynne added three in-close scores for Notre Dame, while Kavanagh, Trevor Brosco, long pole John Sexton and freshman Hugh Crance contributed a goal apiece. Brendan Collins, Garrett Epple and Nick Koshansky each accounted for an assist.
Kavanagh excelled from behind the cage, finishing with four assists, three of them on Perkovic goals.
Notre Dame's defense played impressively early in front of Doss, and faceoff specialist P.J. Finley dominated those events, winning 16 of 21. Doss finished with 14 saves, as the Irish produced a strong 35-23 edge in ground balls.
Notre Dame had 15 turnovers, to 13 for Georgetown.
The win marked Notre Dame's 14th straight in season openers. It qualified as Notre Dame's fifth straight series win against Georgetown (and gave the Irish an 8-7 series edge)-and meant Notre Dame now has won 22 of its last 24 games in the month of February.
The Irish return for their home-field openers this week-at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Bellarmine, then at 2 p.m. Saturday against Detroit.
Today's doubleheader (#2 Denver and #3 Duke faced off in the second game) represented part of a surge in lacrosse in the Atlanta area-with the market recently adding both indoor and outdoor professional lacrosse franchises. The Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Lacrosse Tournament will be held at the same site April 29 and May 1.