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Irish roll behind Wynne, Garnsey in NCAA First-Round Men’s Lacrosse game

(WNDU)
Published: May. 14, 2016 at 10:52 PM EDT
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Sophomore Mikey Wynne scored five goals, freshman Ryder Garnsey added a hat trick and that paved the way for the University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team Saturday night at Arlotta Stadium as the fifth-rated Irish advanced with a 15-7 triumph over 13th-ranked Air Force in an NCAA Championship first-round matchup.

That came in front of 1,017 fans on a windy, overcast, 45-degree evening in South Bend, as the Irish (11-3) advanced to the NCAA quarterfinal round for the seventh straight year (the best active streak in the country) by ending the Falcons’ 15-game win streak (the longest in the nation).

Kevin Corrigan’s club played an NCAA first-round game on its own campus for the eighth time in nine years and won for the seventh time (including six in a row). His Irish took control with a six-goal second-period spree. Notre Dame’s 15 goals marked the most allowed all year by Air Force’s defense that had ranked third nationally. Sophomore Brendan Collins chipped in with a goal and four assists for the Irish for a career-high five points.

From ties at one and two goals, the Irish grabbed a lead on consecutive tallies by Wynne (he finished with his eighth game in 2016 with three or more goals) and senior captain Matt Kavanagh. Notre Dame broke it open with five goals in a 4:53 span of the second period—three by Garnsey (within 3:59) and a blast by junior All-American Sergio Perkovic. Air Force did not score for an 8:44 window of that second period.

Notre Dame’s nine goals in the first half matched its most productive half in 2016 (also nine against Syracuse and Army, both in the first half). The six-goal second period tied the best Irish period in 2016 (also six in the fourth period vs. Denver and third period at North Carolina). Garnsey’s hat trick marked his fourth of 2016. Notre Dame added five more in a row in the third and fourth periods to make it 14-5.

The Irish out-shot Air Force 37-30, won the ground-ball battle 28-17 and won 17 of 26 face-offs. Nine different Irish players scored goals—and only against North Carolina (nine) did Notre Dame match that figure. The 15 goals matched Notre Dame’s second-best scoring total of 2016.

The Irish held their NCAA first-round opponent to single-digit goals for the seventh time in the eight home games played in South Bend. Shane Doss made eight saves in goal for the home team. Meanwhile Notre Dame’s offense managed double-digit goal production for the eighth time in its last eight NCAA outings dating back to 2013.

The Irish now move to the quarterfinal round to play 14th-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina (9-6) next Sunday (May 22) in Columbus, Ohio (either noon or 2:30 p.m. EDT). The Tar Heels defeated sixth-seeded Marquette 10-9 earlier today in another first-round game in Milwaukee. The Irish are making their 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship—tied with top-seeded Maryland for the longest active streak.