Yesterday, I headed to Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, for Marquette's neutral site game against #4/5 Notre Dame expecting a bludgeoning. Notre Dame had only played one game this season against a non-ranked team, and that was a required Big East conference matchup against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are a well established program and have seen Notre Dame once or twice over the years, so a hard fought 7-6 win for ND wasn't surprising. But turning an Irish team angry over losing their #1 ranking loose on a first year program like Marquette? Sounds like trouble, right?
That wasn't the case for the first period. No one scored at all until nearly 7 minutes in when Ryan Foley put ND up 1-0. (Aside: What's with Notre Dame and guys named Ryan F__ley? Ryan Finley was the leading scorer on their men's soccer team.) Marquette had several long possessions in the first period, but they were broken up by ND forcing some turnovers. MU evened things up on a Ben Dvorak goal with 40 seconds left in the frame and things were looking pretty good for your Golden Eagles.
Aaaaaand then John Scioscia ripped one past J.J. Sagl with just a spare second left on the clock.
The Irish got the ball off of an out of bounds call on the sideline around midfield with 11 seconds left in the first quarter and promptly roared straight at the net and took a 2-1 lead. That goal was the first in a streak of nine unanswered goals by Notre Dame that stretched all the way to the 10:36 mark of the third quarter, with four of them coming just from Scioscia. Yep, there's the bludgeoning I was expecting.
If we go ahead and ignore the three goals that Matt Barone coughed up after replacing Sagl with 4:40 left in the game, then MU actually played Notre Dame even the rest of the way, at four goals each. That has to count for something, right?
Connor Bernal scored two of MU's five goals on the day for the team high, while Blaine Fleming and Tyler Melnyk were the only two Golden Eagles to register an assist. Scioscia finished with a game high six goals on the day for Notre Dame, as all six of his shots found the back of the net. Sean Rogers got credited with a helper on three of Scioscia's goals to lead the Irish in assists.
Up Next: Marquette looks to bounce back from this loss against a top 5 team by traveling to Colorado to face... wait, seriously? #3/3 Denver awaits the Golden Eagles on Friday night.