May 13, 2018
By: Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Tied at six-all heading into the final quarter, the No. 7 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team fell just short in its bid to advance to the NCAA quarterfinal round, dropping a close 9-7 decision to Denver. The Irish end their season with a 9-6 record, an ACC Championship title and having advanced to their 13th-straight NCAA Championship.
Ryder Garnsey paced the Irish attack, scoring a team-high four goals to lead the way. Bryan Costabile added two scores and Mikey Wynne added one to give Notre Dame its seven goals.
The defense held the Pioneers' attack to nine goals, forcing five turnovers and scooping 25 ground balls. Sexton collected a team-high five ground balls and forced two turnovers. The Irish defense finishes the season holding 10 of its 15 opponents to fewer than 10 goals.
How It Happened
The Irish found themselves in an early two-goal hole, as the Pioneers struck twice in the first five minutes to begin the game. The Irish defense then settled in, holding the Denver attack scoreless for the remainder of the opening quarter. Notre Dame got on the board to cut the lead to one at 2-1 with just eight seconds left in the frame, as Garnsey found the back of the net on a fast break.
For the second straight stanza the Pioneers were the first to score, as Denver recorded two goals in a little over nine minutes to open a three-goal lead at 4-1. Garnsey managed to complete his hat trick in the first half, adding two unassisted goals to keep the Irish within striking distance after the opening 30 minutes, as Denver led 5-3 at the break.
The Irish attack came alive in the third quarter, scoring three goals to level the score at 6-6 after 45 minutes of action. Garnsey pulled the Irish win in one at 5-4, his fourth goal of the day, with just under nine minutes left in the third quarter. Denver answered with a goal at the 7:31 mark but then the Irish scored two extra-man goals courtesy of Wynne and Costabile to tie the game at 6-6.
Notre Dame continued its run, scoring the opening goal of the fourth frame to give the Irish their first lead of the game at 7-6 with 11:36 left in regulation. Denver had an immediate response, scoring just 15 seconds later to tie the game back up at 7-7. The Pioneers then retook the lead at 10:12 and, unfortunately for the Irish, never looked back. Denver tacked on an extra goal with four minutes left to come away with 9-7 win.
Notre Dame Player Of The Game
Garnsey supplied over half of Notre Dame's goals against Denver with four, marking his fifth hat trick of the season. The junior finished the season playing his best lacrosse, combining for 14 goals and 19 points over his final four games.
Notre Dame Stat Of The Game
The Irish won the turnover battle, recording just nine compared to Denver's 14. Sunday marked the fourth time this season that Notre Dame had less than 10 turnovers in a game.
Notre Dame Notes
- The Irish made their 13th straight appearance in the NCAA Championships on Sunday.
- Notre Dame now has an all-time record of 19-23 in the NCAA Championships.
- Sexton finishes his career with 11 goals, 71 forced turnovers and 191 ground balls.
- Sexton forced at least one turnover in 12 straight games to end the season.
- Garnsey recorded his fifth hat trick of the year and 10th of his career.
- Wynne finishes his career with 126 goals ranking third in the Notre Dame record books for career goals.
The University of Notre Dame men's lacrosse team pursues excellence on and off the field through the three pillars in which the program is built: Character, Culture & Community. These three foundational values guide the promise of the program, which is to provide its student-athletes with the most compelling and enriching experience in all of college athletics. Through academics, competition, service and travel, the program aims to immerse its players in situations that enhance their student-athlete experience to help them become the people, students and teammates they aspire to be.
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