clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2018 Men’s Lacrosse Year in Review: #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Despite an ACC championship and getting hot at the right time, the Irish were bounced out of the first round by Denver.

Notre Dame Athletics

With the 2018 college lacrosse season complete and fall ball just around the corner, it’s time to start looking back at how all 71 teams did during the season, as well as what to expect from each squad for 2019. These are not end of season rankings, as some people might think.

We’re almost done looking back to 2018 with plenty of team recaps thus far and continued our series this week with Syracuse and Virginia.

So with that, let’s continue the recaps!

#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Conference: ACC
2018 Record: 9-6 (1-3 in ACC play)
Postseason: Defeated Duke and Virginia to win ACC championship, lost to Denver in NCAA First Round
Head coach: Kevin Corrigan (30th Year)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Bryan Costabile (30)
Assists: Ryder Garnsey and Brendan Gleason (14)
Points: Ryder Garnsey (43)
Faceoffs: John Travisano (145-of-257; 56.4%)
Ground balls: John Sexton (60)
Caused turnovers: John Sexton (19)
Goals against average: Matt Schmidt (8.35 GAA)
Save percentage: Matt Schmidt (47.5%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: LSM John Sexton (60 GBs, 19 CTs, 4 Gs, 3 As), A Mikey Wynne (20 Gs, 4 As, 22 GBs), M Pierre Byrne (8 Gs, 8 As, 13 GBs), SSDM Carlson Milikin (9 GBs, 9 CTs), FOGO John Travisano (56.4% faceoff draws, 59 GBs), M Brendan Collins (9 Gs, 3 As, 9 GBs), LSM Patrick Hadley (12 GBs, 4 CTs), SSDM Austin Gaiss (5 GBs, 1 CT)
Senior scoring departing: 64 of 222 points (28.8%)
Senior starts lost: 44 of 150 (29.3%)

Season Summary

It was another good year for Notre Dame, with the highlight being the Irish offense coming out in time for the ACC Tournament and winning their second ACC title in program history. But at times, the Fighting Irish didn’t look very convincing.

Notre Dame was down 6-4 to Detroit Mercy in the third quarter of their season opener. But they woke up thanks to a 6-0 run along with five goals in the game from Bryan Costabile. The following week against Richmond after shutting out the Spiders in the first half, Notre Dame gave up six goals in the third quarter and eventually saw themselves tied at seven in the final frame. But yet again, the Irish went on a run of their own to pull away and take home a win. But even thought it was a loss, Notre Dame was neck-and-neck with Maryland in a 12-10 defeat that saw Ryder Garnsey score four goals and an assist.

They looked dominant again the following week against Denver, thanks to a six goal first quarter in an 11-9 win over the Pioneers. The Pios made it a one-goal game midway through the fourth quarter but the defense held their own in the final 8:27. The Irish followed that up with their first ACC win of the season over Virginia thanks to three goals in the fourth quarter, including two from Mikey Wynne. But Notre Dame suffered a setback a few days later with Michigan coming to South Bend. Despite a five goal effort from Garnsey, the Irish suffered their first defeat to the Wolverines in a one-goal loss. Notre Dame never led in that matchup despite tying the score on multiple occasions. They did pull out another tough win a few days later, this time on the road against Ohio State.

But then came the remainder of ACC play, which saw the Irish offense almost nonexistent at times. After Brian Willetts tied the score in their game against Syracuse early in the third quarter, Notre Dame was held scoreless for 26:09 of game time in a loss to the Orange. The following week against Duke, Willetts and Pierre Byrne scored the team’s two goals in an 8-2 loss to the Blue Devils. They ended that short losing streak in a midweek win over Marquette thanks to two late goals from a returning Costabile and Garnsey before falling to North Carolina in their ACC regular season finale.

The Irish did not look like the best team coming into the ACC Tournament, but that all changed in a couple of hours. Thanks to six point efforts from Garnsey and Brendan Gleason, the Irish upset #1 ranked Duke with a season-high 14 goals to advance to the ACC Championship against Virginia. There they put up a new season-high in goals with 17 in a romping of the Cavaliers to take home their second ACC title. They scored 17 again the following week against Army West Point before turning their eyes on Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But despite the recent success the team had and a four-goal effort from Garnsey, Denver scored the game’s final three goals for a mild upset of the Irish to end Notre Dame’s season.

Garnsey was the most important part of Fighting Irish attack unit, despite only starting nine games. In the other six games, he would usually come in early in the game and play attack for the rest of the time. It’s still interesting why Kevin Corrigan did that. Mikey Wynne and Brian Willetts started all 15 games at attack, with Brendan Gleason alternating between attack and midfield. Up at midfield, Bryan Costabile led all Notre Dame players with 30 goals on the season with seniors Pierre Byrne and Brendan Collins joining him on the starting unit for most of the season. Freshman Mikey Drake was part of the second line unit along with Wheaton Jackoboice, Thomas McNamara, and sometimes Nick Stinn.

The defense of junior Hugh Crance, sophomore Jack Kielty, and freshman Arden Cohen started all 15 games for the Irish this season and also saw help from senior William Young on the man-down unit. John Sexton was the top LSM on the Irish and probably in the nation with senior Patrick Hadley as his backup. Junior Charlie Trense also saw some notable time. The short sticks consisted of juniors Drew Schantz and Timmy Phillips as well as seniors Carlson Milikin and Austin Gaiss. John Travisano was the primary FOGO for Notre Dame and freshman Matt Schmidt became the starting goalie and had a solid first year.

Looking Ahead

There are some notable losses on both sides of the ball for Notre Dame. Mikey Wynne was a great finisher in the crease area and his contributions will be missed at attack. Will we see Corrigan use Connor Morin in a much larger role? Up at midfield, Byrne and Collins depart but with Costabile back, Mikey Drake and possibly Jackoboice could be solid contributors on the top line.

The defense is always strong and it does help that the entire starting unit and goaltender return. There is a big hole at LSM with Sexton gone and two of the SSDMs have also graduated. Schantz is still one of the best d-middies in the country and can provide some good transition offense when needed. With Travisano gone at the faceoff X, Kyle Hyland is the only veteran FOGO option left who took draws last year. He went 7-of-27.

The Irish are still without an offensive coordinator with Matt Karweck off to Colgate and volunteer assistant John Crawley following him as well. But with a strong recruiting class like they always have, Notre Dame should still be a national championship contender in 2019.

Here’s who the Fighting Irish will be adding to their roster for next year.*

Notre Dame’s Unofficial Class of 2018

Player Position High School
Player Position High School
Junior Almeida Midfield/FO Andover (MA)
Jose Boyer Defense/LSM Deerfield (MA)
Quentin Buchman Midfield Santa Margarita Catholic (CA)
Justin Cheng Defense/LSM Beckman (CA)
Griffin Hawthorne Defense Massapequa (NY)
Quinn McCahon Midfield Malvern Prep (PA)
Ramsey McCreary Attack The Woodlands (TX)
Jake Moss Midfield Pingry (NJ)
Griffin Westlin Attack/Midfield Seton Hall Prep (NJ)
Mark McGinley Attack Chagrin Hills (OH)

*Compiled from a multitude of websites. Schools usually officially announce their recruiting class during the fall semester.


How many wins will Notre Dame get in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    (4 votes)
  • 14%
    (7 votes)
  • 51%
    (25 votes)
  • 26%
    (13 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now