School: Notre Dame
Mascot: Fighting Irish
Coach: Kevin Corrigan
Location: South Bend, IN
Game Location: Arlotta Stadium
Game Time: NOONER!
Weather: 52 Degrees, Partly Cloudy
All-Time Syracuse Record Vs. Opponent: 8-4
Previous Matchup: 17-7 Syracuse Loss
Opponent Ranking: #1
2016 Record: 5-1
2016 Conference Record: 1-0
2017 Conference Postseason Results: Lost to Duke in the ACC Semifinals
2017 NCAA Tournament Postseason Results: Lost to North Carolina in the Quarterfinals
2016 Team Statistics
Total Goals– Shot Attempts: 70-240
Totoal Opponent Goals– Shot Attempts: 47-178
EMO Goals (Percentage): 9 (.360)
EMO Goals Against (Percentage): 8 (.571)
Team Shooting Percentage: .292
Opponent Shooting Percentage: .264
Shots on Goal Percentage: .583
Opponent Shots on Goal Percentage: .584
Opponent Groundballs: 175
Caused Turnovers: 48
Clearing Percentage: .865
Opponent Clearing Percentage: .839
Penalties: 10:30 PIM
Well we are not getting the #1 vs. #2 matchup that we were hoping for, but nevertheless we do have a top five matchup. Saturday’s game is all about redemption after the 17-7 beat down in the Carrier Dome last season. What a miserable game. If you remember, SU was celebrating its centennial season. Matt Kavanagh put up nine points while only one SU player, Jordan Evans, put up more than one goal. Recently this has been a horrible matchup for SU, as the Orange has not beaten Notre Dame since the ACC Championship game in 2014.
If the Orange can pick up a win on Saturday, there is an argument to put the SU in the first spot in the rankings. Of course that will somewhat depend on what happens in the Penn State – Ohio State matchup. There is no question in my mind that Syracuse has better wins than Penn State, but the Nittany Lions are undefeated and a win against the Buckeyes would be big.
Looking ahead to the ACC Tournament, if Syracuse were to beat Notre Dame it would give the Orange a good opportunity pick up the first seed in the ACCT. In fact, the only way SU would not be the first seed in that scenario is if UNC was to win all four ACC matchups. No matter what, the Orange will not be left out of the ACCT. Even if SU ends up 2-2, Syracuse holds the head-to-head tie breaker against Duke and Virginia.
Now let’s get on to the Irish.
Ryder Garnsey leads Notre Dame in points this year with 28 and is 12th in the nation in points per game. Last year’s ACC Freshman of the Year had 5 goals against Syracuse in 2016. He has a great ability to make tough shots on the wing. Scott Firman will likely lock horns with Garnsey in what should be a very challenging matchup. Without Matt Kavanagh this year, Mikey Wynne is well below his 2016 goal pace but still is tied for for the most goals on this team with 14. He came to Notre Dame rated the fourth best incoming freshman in his class and has started every game in his three years. Wynne likes to work from behind and has a great ability on the crease. The third attackman is sophomore Brendan Gleason. Gleason replaces Kavanagh this season and has seven goals and three assists through six games.
In terms of the man-up offense, Wynne has a team leading four EMO goals but the Irish only convert on a meager .360 of its opportunities.
Sergio Perkovic had 26 goals in 15 games last season. He’s had a great career at Notre Dame with 98 career goals and his 28 goals in 2014 are the most for a freshman midfielder at Notre Dame all-time. That being said, the Motor City Hit Man has just 10 goals this season and two assists. Watch out for Perkovic from deep, the Orange cannot slouch off on him at all because with time and room he is deadly. Additionally, the senior is also a fantastic dodger and at 6’4” he loves getting physical. Unsurprisingly, Desko said in his weekly press conference that the Orange will pole Perkovic.
Inside Lacrosse ranked Bryan Costabile the eighth best freshman midfielder this year. Starting alongside Perkovic, Constable has eight goals and an assist through six starts.
Junior Pierre Byrne never started a game coming into this season and he has a trio of goals and assists so far in 2017. Additionally, John Sexton is the long-stick midfielder for Notre Dame. You will see him play some minutes in the offensive zone as well.
P.J. Finley is the top faceoff guy for Notre Dame. Finley had a great sophomore year, but his statistics dipped in 2016 and his faceoff winning percentage remains sub .500 in 2017. Faceoffs are a weak spot for this Irish team, ranked 51st in the country in winning percentage at .449 while Finley is ranked 63rd in the nation in faceoff winning percentage. Backing him up is John Travisano Jr. out of Ellicott City, MD. The junior is 18-33 at the X. The last matchup between these two teams featured the same faceoff crews, and Ben Wiliams went 11-24 while Cal Paduda had 1-3.
Statistically, Notre Dame is not that impressive, but the strength of this team lies in its defense, eighth in the country in scoring defense allowing opponents just 7.83 goals per game. That being said, the Irish are the 69th best man-down defense and will be facing a Syracuse extra-man unit that is eighth in the country and converting .500 of its opportunities.
Not one of the current Notre Dame starting defenseman started last year’s Syracuse game, although Garrett Epple did play and started 11 of 12 last season while being hampered by an injury. Epple leads all Notre Dame players in caused turnovers this year with 12 and he is second in groundballs. The other two defensemen are sophomore Hugh Crance and senior Pat Healy who played high school ball at my rival school St. Sebastian’s in Needham, MA.
Senior Shane Doss has started 42 games through four years. He is 11th in the nation in goals against average and 19th in save percentage. However Doss is 44th in the nation in saves per game, so his defense doesn’t give up a ton of shots. He is pretty good going low.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the Syracuse Orange at noon on Saturday. The game can be seen on ESPNU and heard on TK99/105. Of course you can always follow me @Orangelax for updates.