Fall ball lax in the Midwest. The Missouri Chapter of US Lacrosse puts on the Fall Face Off Classic to bring D1 lacrosse to the Heartland. This year, Navy and Maryland were the Eastern schools that came out and Notre Dame and Ohio State supplied their Midwest counterparts. This year’s event gained a corporate sponsor, AGT SuperTurf, of Missouri. The morning saw scrimmages between MD and ND and OSU and Navy, and these games provided time for all the freshmen players to see game time. The afternoon games were the marquee matchups, and in between the scrimmages and the regular games, a USILA game between University of Missouri and Lynwood University was played on an adjoining field. This event brings big time lax to the Heartland and gives the coaches visibility in an area that has produced a number of D1 players. This year, only two local players were featured, both for the Buckeyes, goalie Drew May and defenseman Pat Dunleavy
For reasons unknown, Richie Meade decided on a jersey switch, so that it impossible to accurately relay in this story who scored and who didn’t in this game. Billy and Steve Looney played, but were ineffective against Notre Dame’s defensive sets. Dingman was back in Annapolis, polishing his grades so that he can play in spring. Notre Dame had its way against a rookie Navy defense, because the Midshipmen lost a number of their top defensemen last year to graduation. Notre Dame used a patient offense, working the ball around the cage and using their creaseman to bounce back and forth looking for a feed or drawing a long stick away and creating an open lane to the net.
Notre Dame unveiled one of their top freshmen, Duncan Swezey, an attackman from Ambler, Pennsylvania (Hatboro-Horsham HS). This kid is the one in the black and red helmet (ND’s freshmen use their HS helmets and gloves until they make the team, hence the reason for some of the odd looks in the game images below) and he will be a good compliment to their AA attackman, Pat Walsh. Swezey bagged two goals for the day, while Walsh was off doing his thing getting 5 points off 3 goals and 2 assists. Matt Russell performed admirably in the cage for Navy as he could but could not contend with the Irish and his team’s lack of defense. One goal should have been credited to him unfortunately as an “own goal”, when he deflected a close shot from Swezey off of his handle, bounced the ball in the air and tried to catch it but knocked it in instead. Sophomore Alex Wharton also provided some theater, when he crossed over to the right in front of the crease, man on him and let loose a sweet behind the back pass that caught Russell out of position.
ND drew first blood at the 11:29 mark with a score by Matt Karweck off a feed from sophomore Alex Wharton. Walsh scored next off a feed from Sean Dougherty while Navy was in EMO. Navy had dropped the ball in the Irish zone, and Doughtery, an LSM, picked it up and ran to the net. Rather than shoot, he drew Russell’s attention and flipped the ball to Walsh. ND 2-0 at 10:58. Navy had a chance next when one of their middies came from top right behind the goal and then around the right pipe, dove and shot, but was called in the crease, negating the goal. Wharton scored solo at 7:31 to put ND up 3-0. Navy got on the board at the 5:14 mark with a middie curling in from the right side and juking Irish goalie Joe Kemp to make it 3-1. Walsh countered at 1:26, taking a pass about 5 yards out on the left of Russell and then crashing the crease along the GLE and rolling to Russell’s right, dipping his stick to roll one in under the radar to increase the lead at the end of the quarter to 4-1.
Navy scored at the beginning of the second quarter and then Russell let in the own goal that was credited to Swezey because it was his shot that initiated the contact by Russell. Swezey scored again with a falling move after coming from the right GLE, and dropping to his knees, he was able to flip the ball behind Russell’s knees. 6-2 ND.
Coach Kevin Corrigan was pleased with the play of the Irish at half. Beside Swezey, other Irish freshmen in action included Davey Leach (Boys Latin) and Dan Gibson (Memphis U HS) at midfield, Pete Christman (Westminster HS) at attack, and Regis McDermott (Chaminade) at defense.
The second half saw a minor melee, with some hard pushing by Navy and a retaliation shove by ND’s Joey Rallo, left both teams in a 5 on 5 set in which ND scored. The referees today seemed to focus mostly on illegal body check calls, dishing out at least 3 in each of the afternoon games. The teams swapped goals to end the third quarter 8-3. Notre Dame held the Middies scoreless in the final quarter, which Podgajny, Ryan and Wharton scored, and Wharton using his behind the back shot at 4:00.
The Irish played Johns Hopkins Friday night at Notre Dame before the USC football game, prevailing in OT 9-8, but its fall ball.