BETHESDA, Md. - The No. 4 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team captured a 10-6 win over Bucknell on Thursday afternoon at Georgetown Prep. Sophomore midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) notched the first hat trick of his career in helping the Irish move to 5-0 on the season.
Trailing 4-2 in the early stages of the third quarter, Notre Dame (5-0) used four straight goals to grab the lead for good. Junior attackman Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga./The Lovett School) started the surge for the Irish with back-to-back goals to knot the game with 9:42 left in the third quarter. The second tally was on a man-up opportunity for Notre Dame. The Irish were 2-for-6 on man-up chances, while the Notre Dame defense held Bucknell scoreless in four man-up scenarios.
The Fighting Irish gained their first lead of the afternoon (5-4) as Brenneman tallied his second goal with the assist going to Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) with 6:31 on the clock in the third quarter. Sophomore LSM Andrew Irving (McLean, Va./The Hotchkiss School) then scored the first goal of his career to give the Irish a 6-4 lead with 5:08 left in the stanza. Following a Bison goal from Perry Menzies, Notre Dame's Duncan Swezey (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) scored and the Irish led 7-5 heading into the final period.
Bucknell (1-4) sliced its deficit to one with 9:47 left in regulation on a Joe Mele goal. The Fighting Irish regained its two-goal edge (8-6) as Swezey fed Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) with 8:05 on the clock.
Hoff connected again, off a pass from Mike Creighton (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep), to give Notre Dame a three-goal advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the contest. Brenneman then put the finishing touches on his hat trick as he scored with under a minute left in regulation. Hicks picked up his game-high fourth point of the afternoon by assisting on the play.
The Bison opened the game's scoring with a goal from Austin Winter at the 8:49 mark of the first quarter. The Bison led 1-0 after the first period.
"I thought they made it difficult on us by playing aggressive defensively and riding us," said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "I felt our offense started to get into a rhythm by the end of the first quarter even though we didn't have anything to show for it. I think we figured out what we needed to do at that point."
The Fighting Irish got on the board with 12:18 remaining in the second quarter as Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary's) found the back of the net off a pass from Hicks. Bucknell regained the lead on a Mele goal with 10:31 left on the clock. The Bison then extended the lead to two (3-1) just over a minute later on a goal from Mike Danylyshyn. Notre Dame cut the deficit to one by the intermission as Brenneman converted on a man-up opportunity off a feed from Krebs.
Senior goalie Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y./MacArthur) made 11 saves to earn the victory, while his counterpart Nick Sciubba made 16 stops. The Irish out shot the Bison 43-29. Notre Dame's Trever Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y./Greenwich) and Jake Marmul (Livonia, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central) both were 4-for-9 in the faceoff X.
"I felt our defense played well all day long," added Corrigan. "Bucknell had some long possessions, but we handled them well. Overall, I was never concerned that we'd be ready to play today. As the week went along, I knew we'd be ready. My only concern was that they (Bucknell) are a good team."
Notre Dame has started a season 5-0 for the third time in program history and the first time since the 2001 campaign. The other 5-0 start came in 1993 when the Fighting Irish produced a program-best 8-0 record to begin a season.
The Irish return to action against Vermont at the Patriot Cup in Dallas, Texas on March 21. Game time is slated for 12 noon (CT).
Bucknell vs. Notre Dame