Notre Dame vs. Hofstra
March 24, 2004
The Game Story:
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame men's lacrosse team (2-3) jumped out to a 7-0 lead en route to a 19-11 victory over #13 Hofstra (2-4) Wednesday evening in the Loftus Sports Center. The Irish defense held the Pride without a shot for the first 16 minutes of the game, while three Notre Dame players had five points, highlighted by a five-goal performance from junior M Brian Giordano (Princeton, N.J./Hun School). The Irish will open Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) play next Wednesday, March 31, playing host to #19 Ohio State in a game to be shown on College Sports Television (CSTV).

Notre Dame, playing against a ranked team for the fifth time in as many games this season, snapped a three-game losing skid with the win. The Irish also beat Hofstra for the first time since 1998 after the Pride had won five straight in the series. It was the most lopsided of the five Notre Dame wins against Hofstra (in 11 meetings).

Notre Dame, which came into the game leading the GWLL and ranking eighth in the nation in scoring offense, posted its highest goal output in nearly four years, since beating Fairfield 20-12 on April 22, 2000. The 19 goals were the most given up by Hofstra since a 20-8 loss to Syracuse in the 1993 NCAA tournament.

Giordano matched his career high in goals, scoring twice in the first and fourth quarters and adding a score in the second. He came into the night with just five goals on the season.

In addition to Giordano, Notre Dame sophomores M Brian Hubschmann (Short Hill, N.J./Delbarton H.S.) and A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) both delivered five points. Hubschmann had a career-high four goals to go along with an assist, while Walsh, the GWLL's leading scorer, had two goals and three assists. After scoring just three goals as a freshman -- and never more than one in a game -- Hubschmann has a tally in every contest this season, including three multiple-goal games. On the year, he has 10 goals and six assists.

Walsh registered his fourth multiple-goal game in five contests this season and 10th of his young career. He has had at least three points in every game this season, while Tuesday was his eighth time with five or more points in 19 career games.

After getting off to slow starts in back-to-back games and going on to lose, the Irish dominated the affair from the beginning. Notre Dame took 17 shots in the first period, while Hofstra did not manage one until Tim Treubig's attempt sailed wide right with 13:18 to go in the second quarter. The Irish also held a 9-4 ground ball advantage in the opening period, won four of seven faceoffs, and were successful on all nine of their clear attempts, while allowing the Pride to be successful on just half of their eight tries.

In addition to starting well, Notre Dame improved upon two other previous areas of weakness -- faceoffs and ground balls. The Irish came into the game gathering 5.3 fewer ground balls than their opponents on the season, but Notre Dame corralled a season high in piling up a 47-32 advantage in the category. Senior M Steve Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md./DeMatha Catholic H.S.) and junior LSM Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y./Freeport H.S.) led the Irish with five each, marking the top performance of the season for both. Richez's total matched his career high. Senior A Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington H.S.) and sophomore D D.J. Driscoll (Downington, Pa./Malvern Preparatory School) had four each. In all, 21 different players had ground balls for Notre Dame.

The Irish won 20 of the 32 faceoffs, taking a majority for the first time in 2004. Junior M Craig Bishko (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.) had his best game of the season, winning 75 percent of the draws he took (12-16). His classmate, M Frank Matarazzo (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Bergen Catholic H.S.), was 6-13, while senior M Nick Petcoff (Troy, Mich./Detroit Country Day H.S.) continued his perfect record this season, winning both of his draws to improve to 4-4. Sophomore M Steve Panos (Arnold, Md./Broadneck H.S.) saw his first action of the season, taking one faceoff.

Among the other offensive stars for the Irish were Howell, sophomore M Matt Ryan (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.), and senior A Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md./Boys' Latin H.S.), who all had at least three points. Ryan registered career highs in assists (three) and points (four), while Berger had a pair of scores (as well as an assist) for the 18th multiple-goal game of his career. Howell, who had a goal and two assists, has had multiple points in every contest in 2004.

A pair of Irish veterans, Matarazzo and senior D Mickey Blum (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City H.S.), netted their first career goals on Wednesday. After a Pride goal, Matarazzo won the faceoff, picked up a ground ball and took a shot from the top of the circle that found the back of the net to put Notre Dame up 11-4 with 3:09 left in the first half. Blum put an exclamation point on the Irish first quarter, launching a last-second attempt from three-quarters of the length of the field and watching it bounce through the legs of G Matthew Southard with two seconds left in the period to give Notre Dame a 7-0 advantage.

Additionally, Clagett had his second goal in as many games and sophomore M Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) scored his ninth of the season.

Richez and senior M Owen Mulford (Ocean City, Md./Loyola Blakefield H.S.) both notched assists for the first time this season.

Senior G Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md./Landon School) made 11 saves.

In a physical game that featured 16 penalties, Notre Dame's man-up unit, which came in leading the nation in conversion percentage, had plenty of opportunities. The Irish scored on back-to-back EMOs in the second quarter, but then failed on five second-half chances.

Freshman A Athan Ianucci led the Pride attack, with four goals and an assist, while sophomore A Chris Unterstein had four points (three goals, one assist) off the bench and All-American senior D Brian Zuchelli led Hofstra with five ground balls.

The Pride scored twice to open the second quarter and cut the lead to five before three consecutive Irish goals put Notre Dame up 10-2. Hofstra would never get closer to five the rest of the way, cutting the margin to 12-7 and 13-8 in the third quarter before Notre Dame extended its advantage to 19-9 with five minutes to go in the game.

In addition to Panos, senior A Paul Cappelli (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City H.S.) also saw his first action of the season for Notre Dame.