The No. 8 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team suffered a 10-8 setback to Rutgers on Saturday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium. The contest was the first-ever BIG EAST Conference game for both programs. The Irish were paced by two-goal efforts from midfielders Zach Brenneman, Grant Krebs and David Earl, but t the Irish offense was very slow to start today and their efforts were for naught. Incredibly, Notre dame had only 10 shots by the mid third quarter to Rutgers 24. This was Rutgers’ first victory over a ranked opponent since March of 2009 when they defeated Hobart. The Scarlet Knights have won four of their last five contests. Notre Dame leads the series by a 3-2 lead. The only other time Rutgers defeated Notre Dame was on March 21, 1998 when it won by a 13-12 score.
“I thought we really dominated play through most of the game today,” said the Knights’ Jim Stagnitta. “As the game went on, I felt our guys started getting more and more confident. We certainly had a lot of opportunities and shot really well in that second quarter. It got a little hairy in the fourth quarter. We had one goal called back that probably would have put the nail in the coffin but our guys showed great character and hung in there. We played terrific defense today and it was a great way to open Big East conference play with a win on the road against a team like Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame scored the opening goal for either team in the first quarter as Brenneman found the back of the net with 4:11 left. Rutgers tied the contest on a goal from Justin Pennington with less than two minutes elapsed in the second quarter. Pennington had a hat trick today. Notre Dame went back on top when Krebs scored at the 11:35 mark of the second quarter. However, the Scarlet Knights took command with four straight scores from Gerhard Buehning Pennington and Adam Goldberg to give Rutgers a 5-2 lead with just over five minutes left in the first half.
Notre Dame goalie Scotty Rodgers left the game with an strained hamstring with 3:32 left in the first half and did not return. He made six saves on the day, while senior Brendan Moore played the remainder of the first half and made two saves, while not allowing a goal. FreshmanJohn Kemp, the younger brother of former Irish keeper Joey Kemp, played the entire second half between the pipes and made eight saves while surrendering five goals. That was the first action of the season for Kemp. The coaching staff had originally wanted to redshirt Kemp for 2010 but this playing time may have ended that hope. Rodgers will be out for an undetermined time. An Earl goal with less than a minute remaining in the first half sliced the Rutgers lead to 5-3 at the halftime.
Rutgers opened the second half scoring with a goal from Michael Diehl with 8:36 left in the third quarter. Earl, a junior, put the Irish back within two goals (6-4) with 4:21 showing on the clock in the third period, despite the lack of shots taken by the Irish. Kory Kelly gave the Scarlet Knights a three-goal edge (7-4) after three quarters of play. Krebs cut the deficit to two (7-5) once again as he scored with 17 seconds elapsed in the fourth quarter. Rutgers answered back as Pennington scored 30 seconds later to put the Scarlet Knights on top by three. Irish sophomore attackman Nick Beattie tallied a goal with just over 13 minutes remaining in regulation to make it an 8-6 contest. Consecutive scores from Buehning and Duncan Clancy put Rutgers up by four (10-6) with 9:13 left in the game. Notre Dame kept pressuring and cut the deficit to three (10-7) with 7:42 left on a man-up goal from Neal Hicks, who also had two assists. The Irish but the lead to two, 10-8 with 6:46 left as Brenneman notched the game's final goal.
Rutgers outshot Notre Dame 36-25 and won 12 of 22 faceoffs for the Fighting Irish. Scarlet Knight goalie Billy Olin made 11 saves in the victory and he started his first game of the season and snatched 11 saves and two ground balls to secure the victory. With Olin’s 11 saves, it pushes his career total to 357 to put him in 10th place on the RU career saves list. “Billy made some really big saves today,” said Stagnitta. “Rudy (Butler) is going to be a great goalie but sometimes as a freshman the pressure catches up to you. Billy has always been right there and today we needed a spark and he provided that. He gave great effort and had a great game today.”
Up next for the Fighting Irish is a two-game BIG EAST road trip. Notre Dame will face Villanova at 1:00 p.m. (ET) next Saturday (April 3) in Villanova, Pa. A visit to Georgetown on Sunday, April 11 will conclude the trip.
|Neal Hicks||(1, 2)|
|Zach Brenneman||(2, 1)|
|Grant Krebs||(2, 0)|
|Nicholas Beattie||(1, 1)|
|David Earl||(2, 0)|
|John Kemp||8 (0.615)|
|Scott Rodgers||6 (0.545)|
|Brendan Moore||2 (1.000)|