Notre Dame Quick Facts
Notre Dame All-Time Record Vs. SU: 3-8
Notre Dame Streak Vs. SU: L2
Notre Dame Last Win Vs. SU: March 28, 2015
Notre Dame 2015 Record: 12-3; Lost in the ACC Semifinals; Lost in NCAAT Semifinals
Notre Dame 2016 Record: 6-1; Wins versus Georgetown, Bellarmine, Detroit, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio State; Loss versus Denver
2016 ACC Preseason Coaches' Poll: #1 out of five
2016 ACC Preseason All-Conference Players: Matt Kavanagh (A), Sergio Perkovic (M), Matt Landis (D)
2016 RPI: #7
2016 SOS: #23
The Irish sit at 6-1 on the season, the only blemish being a one-goal loss to Denver. The Orange hold an 8-3 record in the series between these two teams. The last three matchups have come down to one goal games, including the double overtime thriller in 2015. Notre Dame features two incredible offensive threats in Sergio Perkovic and Matt Kavanagh. Defensively, the Irish are very strong and will be tested against the dynamic Syracuse offense.
The Orange enter the game at 5-2 and are at risk of dropping its third game in a row. The good news for SU is that after Saturday the only tough game will be against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
And the good news for you, is now you have plans to wait out those tough few hours before Syracuse and North Carolina tip off in the final four!
Matt Kavanagh had a tough second half of the year in 2015. After suffering a torn glute muscle and a stress reaction in his pelvic region during the March 7 game versus Denver, Kavanagh's stats suffered, but he toughed it out. The senior makes his money on the wing and has a knack for question mark dodges. This year Kavanagh has seven goals and eleven assists. While he should be healthy for the SU game, he did miss the Bellarmine game after leaving the season opener against Georgetown with an injury. The senior has had 14 career points through six games against the Orange.
Mikey Wynne is the leading goals and points scorer for the Irish. The sophomore has 53 goals through two seasons and is an excellent finisher. He also has one of the best shot percentages in the country. Eddy Lubowicki is the third starter in this dynamic attack grouping. He has six goals and an assist this year.
If Sergio Perkovic gets hot, watch out. The "motor city hit man," as Eamon McAnaney often refers to him, is fire from the outside with a wicked shot. Against Denver in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, Perkovic put up five straight goals in the fourth quarter, does that sound familiar? Syracuse allowed five straight Duke goals in the fourth quarter, three of which were taken by Deemer Class. Class and Perkovic are similar style scorers, and considering how poorly SU responded to Class last week, I have some serious concerns. I think Perkovic could single handedly destroy Syracuse on Saturday.
Brendan Collins is traditionally a dodger, and can create space for Perkovic to operate by probing the defense and drawing early slides. The sophomore has four goals and six assists through seven games. Trevor Brosco is a great off ball mover and has three goals and four assists in his senior year.
P.J. Finley has a .496 faceoff winning percentage and leads Notre Dame in groundballs with 20. While Finley is pretty solid, he took only 8 of 20 against Denver's Trevor Baptiste, one of the best faceoff guys in the country. The Irish sit about midway amongst all teams in division I in faceoff winning percentage. The Orange, meanwhile have a .643 winning percentage. Ben Williams has been about average the last two games. Against Duke, Williams went 12 for 28. The one plus for Finley is that unlike Williams, Finley can create offense off the faceoff.
The Irish have the number one scoring defense in the nation, only allowing 6.57 goals per game. According to Patrick McEwen (@laxfilmroom) of Inside Lacrosse, Notre Dame has the number one defensive efficiency rating. Another interesting battle will take place in the clearing segment of the game. UND has limited its opponents to a combined .741 clearing percentage. SU is the best clearing team in the nation with a .923 clearing percentage and has held opponents to a .791 clearing percentage.
Garrett Epple has only played in four games due to injury. It is unclear whether the junior will return for the Syracuse game, but if he isn't ready look for Jack Sheridan to start in his place. Sheridan has started three games at close defense this year and has six groundballs and four caused turnovers.
Matt Landis is maybe the best close defender in the nation. He leads Notre Dame in caused turnovers with 10 and has 15 groundballs to boot. Landis is on the Tewaaraton Watch List for the second year in a row. Expect the senior to guard Dylan Donahue. Backing up Landis is second year starter Edwin Glazener. He was rated as the 39th best defenseman in his freshman class and has seven groundballs and three caused turnovers in his senior year.
Shane Doss has been solid in net for the Irish. He has a fantastic 6.29 goals against average, good enough for second in the nation, and the third best save percentage in the country at .598. The Irish also have Conor Kelly. Both Doss and Kelly have started a final four game but Kelly has not seen any time this year as a graduate student. Notre Dame has a third option in sophomore Owen Molloy, the number three incoming goalie in his freshman year. Molloy is the goalie of the future for the Irish.
Syracuse will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday at 5 PM. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU and can be heard on TK99. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for game updates.