The Season Ending Series Of Doom got off to a bad start, as top ranked Notre Dame scored seven straight goals across the last half of the first quarter and the first quarter of the second, ultimately finishing with a 14-7 win over #16 ranked Marquette on Tuesday afternoon.
Three different Irish players recorded hat tricks against Marquette, but the most damaging one was Conor Doyle. The senior from Towson, MD, capped off his trio of strikes with just a second left in the first quarter to give Notre Dame a 4-2 lead. The Golden Eagles had jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the first two possessions of the game, including a goal just seven seconds in by Liam Byrnes, so to get doubled up in the quarter after that kind of start was particularly bad.
The Notre Dame scoring would keep going off the top of the second period, as Sergio Perkovic scored twice in the first minute to send the game spiraling out of Marquette's control. By the end of the second quarter, the Golden Eagles ended up getting outscored 5-3 and found themselves trailing 9-5 at intermission. Here's the crazy thing: That's actually an admirable performance by Marquette on both ends of the field. Coming into the game, Notre Dame's average halftime score was 11-4, so MU was doing a better job that the average Irish opponent, but they still weren't within real striking distance of the #1 team in the country.
The third quarter was the first one (and as it would turn out, the only one) where Notre Dame didn't outscore Marquette. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, the scoring in the third frame ended tied at 2 after a pair of strikes from Blaine Fleming, including a particularly snazzy long one-hop goal to wrap up his first career hat trick. I don't know about you, but I'm particularly enjoying the Blaine Fleming Points Explosion. With his trio of goals against Notre Dame, he's officially eclipsed the 12 career points he had coming into the season, totaling 13 goals and two assists just in 2015.
Fleming's final goal cut Notre Dame's lead to just four heading into the fourth quarter, and Marquette needed face off wins to have a chance. They got them, winning the first three of the period, but all three goals ended up going past Jimmy Danaher and onto the Notre Dame side of the scoresheet to give us the final margin. Marquette has wiped out four goal deficits in the fourth quarter multiple times this season, but the team on the other side of the field wasn't the #1 team in the country.
The good news, if you want to call it that, is that B.J. Grill continues to own Matt Kavanagh. Marquette and Notre Dame have met three times, once in each of the three seasons of Marquette lacrosse, and Kavanagh has yet to score a goal. He had three assists in this game, but Grill's defensive work held Kavanagh to just three shots and only two of them made it to Danaher.
Up Next: A brief reprieve from the Season Ending Series Of Doom, as Marquette resumes Big East play on Saturday. They'll be out east, facing Providence. The Friars are 4-6 this season, including dropping each of their first two conference games. MU will definitely need a win if they want to aim themselves towards one of the four spots in the Big East tournament.