JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The weather was perfect, the field was in great shape and the crowd was large and loud. The conditions were right for a memorable night for Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse, but No. 5 Notre Dame had other ideas. Scoring eight goals in the first quarter, the Fighting Irish set the tone early and cruised to a 19-7 win over the Dolphins on Sunday night at EverBank Field.
Notre Dame won the opening faceoff and was quickly off to the races. Sophomore attacker Matt Kavanagh tallied the first goal of the game on a ricocheted shot that traveled off the stick of JU’s goalie Pete DeLuca and into his own. Following up on an extra-man opportunity, the Irish tacked on two more scores for a 3-0 lead that forced a Dolphin timeout at 8:58.
The Fins dented the scoreboard on a shot from Duncan Clancy. The attacker swept the ball between the legs of the opposing keeper for JU’s first score, making it 3-1, but the Irish immediately responded on the next possession. By the end of the first quarter, Notre Dame held an 8-1 advantage.
There were signs of life early on in the second stanza as the Dolphins put two on the board courtesy of Chase McIntyre and Quint Miller, momentarily cutting the deficit to 8-3 with half of the quarter gone. An unassisted goal from Kyle Runyon ended the run however, and the Irish netted the next three as well, going into the half with a 12-3 lead.
Jacksonville opened the scoring in the second half as Dakota Rohlin scored a man-up goal off a feed from Clancy. Once again Notre Dame had an answer. After winning the face-off, Conor Doyle got the ball for ND and deposited it in the back of the net within 30 seconds to reclaim a nine-goal advantage. Doyle, Trevor Brosco and Kavanagh then added to the JU misery, making it 16-4 through three quarters.
Things started clicking for the Dolphins in the fourth quarter. Tom Moore and McIntyre scored consecutive man-up goals within a minute of each other, with Ari Waffle and Clancy assisting. Moore would add one last score before time was up, cashing in with 5:51 remaining to make it 17-7. Only two late goals from the Fighting Irish allowed them to stay even with the Dolphins in the quarter.
For the game, Notre Dame won 23 of 30 face-offs against JU. The Fighting Irish also outshot the Dolphins 56-18 in the contest. DeLuca had 14 saves on the night against the strong ND attack. Clancy had a team-high four points on a goal and three assists.
Kavanagh and Doyle led the Irish with a hat trick apiece. Kavanagh added in three assists for a game-high six points. Conor Kelly earned the win, making four saves before being lifted entering the fourth quarter.
Jacksonville will make its home debut at D.B. Milne Field on Feb. 22 to face future league foe Bellarmine at 2 p.m.