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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame was a goal short of reaching Championship Weekend.

CraigsSportsPhotos/Notre Dame Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review with the teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament!

#8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Conference: ACC
2019 Record: 9-7 (2-2 in ACC)
Postseason: Lost to Virginia in ACC Championship, defeated Johns Hopkins in NCAA First Round, lost to Duke in NCAA Quarterfinals
Head coach: Kevin Corrigan (31st Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Bryan Costabile (42)
Assists: Connor Morin and Wheaton Jackoboice (13)
Points: Bryan Costabile (48)
Faceoffs: Charles Leonard (220-of-376; 58.5%)
Ground balls: Charles Leonard (104)
Caused turnovers: Hugh Crance (17)
Goals against average: Matt Schmidt (10.16)
Save percentage: Matt Schmidt (48.7%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: A Brendan Gleason (26 Gs, 12 As, 30 GBs, 7 CTs), D Hugh Crance (17 CTs, 27 GBs), SSDM Drew Schantz (6 CTs, 23 GBs, 2 As), SSDM Timmy Phillips (5 CTs, 17 GBs, 3 Gs, 2 As), M Nick Stinn (3 Gs, 2 As, 7 GBs, 2 CTs), A Ryder Garnsey (7 Gs, 3 As, 2 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 60 of 270 points (22.2%)
Senior starts lost: 32 of 160 (20%)

Season Summary

As they have been for most of the decade, Notre Dame was one of the best teams in college lacrosse in 2019. The Fighting Irish got a boost near the end of the season, but was one goal short of reaching their first Championship Weekend since 2015.

As always, Notre Dame usually has a tough schedule. They had that again this past season, even without Ryder Garnsey for most of the season. After beating Detroit Mercy at home, the Irish suffered a surprise early season one-goal road loss to Richmond. But Notre Dame rebounded with a solid overtime win against Maryland inside the Loftus Sports Center. The team then went out to California and came back to South Bend with a win over Denver.

ACC play began with a visit to Charlottesville against Virginia. Despite holding a two-goal lead entering the fourth quarter, Notre Dame gave up four straight goals to the Cavaliers in a 13-11 defeat. That would begin an eight-game stretch where the Irish would alternate between a loss and a win. A few days later in Ann Arbor against Michigan, a team the Fighting Irish lost to a year ago, the Wolverines came back to tie the game at eight in the third quarter before Notre Dame scored four goals to break away for the victory. But against Michigan’s archrival, undefeated Ohio State, Notre Dame gave up eight goals in the second half and needed two goals in the final 1:17 to force overtime where Colby Smith scored the game-winner.

Conference play resumed with the Fighting Irish going on a big first half run en route to a three-goal win over Syracuse before losing big to Duke. Returning to non-conference play, Notre Dame took care of Marquette but suffered a slip-up against Cornell thanks to a 5-0 Big Red run in the second half. The team’s regular season ended with a big 12-10 win over North Carolina as they entered the ACC Tournament.

Despite losing to the Blue Devils in the regular season, Notre Dame upset Duke in the conference semifinals thanks in part to five goals from Costabile. But the team only scored four goals in a 10-4 loss to Virginia the following weekend in the ACC Championship. Notre Dame was the seventh seed in the NCAA Tournament and hosted Johns Hopkins. But they got a boost on offense with the return of Garnsey, who was academically ineligible for the entire regular season. Garnsey scored a hat-trick in his return, while Morrison Mirer recorded a career-high four goals in a seven-goal win over the Blue Jays. Notre Dame faced Duke for a third time in the NCAA Quarterfinals, with this meeting needing overtime. But Joe Robertson was able to cash in the only possession of the extra period to end the Fighting Irish season.

Brendan Gleason, Brian Willetts, and Connor Morin started all 16 games at attack, even with Garnsey returning for the final two. Gleason finished with 38 points, while the other two had 36 each. Freshman Griffin Westlin also saw some time at the position, finishing with 12 points on the year. Costabile was arguably Notre Dame’s top offensive player, perhaps overall player, in 2019 with 42 goals and 48 points. The 42 goals were a program record by a midfielder. Sophomore Wheaton Jackoboice and freshman Quinn McCahon made up the remainder of the first midfield. Mirer, Nick Stinn, and Tommy McNamara were the second midfield but didn’t produce that much. Mirer led the way with nine points.

Hugh Crance was the senior leader on a close defense unit that also included junior Jack Kielty and sophomore Arden Cohen. Charlie Trense was the teams’ man-down defender. Eric Restic and sophomore Jose Boyer were the two long poles at the defensive midfield spot, with Drew Schantz, John Hallenbeck, and Timmy Phillips as the short stick defenders. Charles Leonard took the majority of the faceoffs for the Irish and recorded the second most ground balls in Notre Dame history with 104. Matt Schmidt started 13 games in goal with John Zullo starting the other three.

Looking Ahead

Notre Dame looks pretty good in terms of returning starters. Eight of the team’s 10 from a year ago are back with Crance and Gleason being the two that are graduating. Costabile returns for his senior season and is 22 goals away from passing Sergio Perkovic for most career goals by a midfielder in program history. Westlin could see some more time at attack as a potential starter. The Fighting Irish need to get their second midfield producing more than last year. Could someone else like Mikey Drake also step up?

There’s a opening on the starting close defense that could go to Trense, Michael Farnish, or someone else. Schantz could be the bigger loss as a short stick defensive midfielder. The starting goalie spot could be up in the air with Schmidt and Zullo potentially competing.

The Fighting Irish also have two new assistants. Former Harvard head coach Chris Wojcik will lead the offense while former Navy associate head coach Ryan Wellner will man the defense.

Poll

How many wins will Notre Dame get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    0-5
    (2 votes)
  • 13%
    6-7
    (10 votes)
  • 35%
    8-9
    (26 votes)
  • 47%
    10+
    (35 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now