Six different Golden Eagles found the back of the net on Wednesday in South Bend, but Matt Kavanagh was the star, scoring the first and last Irish goals of the game as part of his four markers, including the overtime game winner, as #1 Notre Dame beat #17 Marquette, 8-7.
The Golden Eagles rallied from deficits of 4-1 and 5-2, the latter of which was the halftime margin. They also had to bounce back from letting Notre Dame take a 7-5 lead into the fourth quarter after Henry Nelson had knotted the game at five midway through the third quarter.
Kyran Clarke and Ryan McNamara provided the offensive fireworks in the final frame of regulation, as Marquette outshot the Irish 11-7 in the final 15 minutes. Clarke snapped home a transition goal on a feed from Liam Byrnes early in the period, while McNamara's game tying goal came with 8:51 left in the fourth. Freshman John Wagner nearly became a Marquette lacrosse legend with less than two minutes to play when he had space to shoot from the left wing and saw an opening in the bottom left corner of the net..... but his shot was three inches outside. It shook the net, absolutely, but that's because it was bouncing off the outside and rolling to a stop inside ND goalie Shane Doss' crease.
Notre Dame had one final possession to attempt to win it with a minute left, and they even got it back after a "slip and put one hand in the ring" crease violation, but Marquette held them off and sent it to overtime. John Travisano, Jr., won the faceoff in OT, sending Marquette's Zachary Melillo to an uncharacteristically bad 5-18 faceoff record on the day, and after the Irish called a timeout to settle things down, Kavanagh provided the game winner. Marquette had done an outstanding job defending Kavanagh in the previous two meetings, holding him without a goal. All four of his goals in this game came as a response to a Marquette tally to prevent the Golden Eagles from going on a run.
Marquette played the final 50 minutes of the game without the services of senior attackman Conor Gately. He was injured while committing a pushing violation late in the first quarter, and did not return. When he originally fell to the turf, he appeared to grab at his knees in pain, but eventually walked off the field under his own power. While it's one hell of an accomplishment for Marquette to give Notre Dame the business without Gately, it's not good for the Golden Eagles' long term prospects this season to lose the program's all time leading scorer for the second time in a month. Gately overtook Kyle Whitlow on the all time scoring chart after Whitlow was lost for the year to a knee injury before the game against Robert Morris back in mid-March.
Marquette falls to 8-2 on the season with the loss, while the Irish move to 9-1.
How about some highlights of the game, courtesy of WatchND.com?
Up Next: Well, Marquette's still in first place in the Big East, and losing to the best team in the country doesn't particularly hurt their chances of making the NCAA tournament. It doesn't help, though, so bouncing back with a win will be important. That game will come on Saturday, when MU hosts Providence (7-4, 1-1 Big East) at Valley Fields.
Faceoff is scheduled for 11am, but get there early. It will be Senior Day for MU's 19 seniors, aka those dudes that essentially invented Marquette lacrosse. It's also going to be a doubleheader with the women's team taking the second half, and both games will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.