Ohio State had another chance to rebound from a shaky beginning of the season against one of the nation’s top teams in No. 4 Notre Dame, but the unranked Buckeyes fell 9-8 to the Fighting Irish in another stinging loss Sunday at Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes (5-4) showed promise throughout the game, hoping to end their two-game slide, and even led the Irish (5-2) by one goal entering into the fourth quarter due to a third-quarter goal from senior midfielder John Kelly. But a late rally from Notre Dame powered the Fighting Irish to a four-goal fourth quarter and Ohio State could only muster two goals, leading to its defeat.
In the final minutes of the match, the two teams went goal-for-goal, but the Fighting Irish ultimately held on to their one-goal lead and handed the Buckeyes their fourth loss of the season and third loss in a row.
“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted and certainly the scoreboard, but I think we improved quite a bit this week as a ball club and we’re going to take that confidence into Big Ten play, understand the importance of conference play as it starts and really try to build on the positives of today even with a loss,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said.
Notre Dame put up strong performances across the board with three different players recording two goals each. Senior midfielder John Travisano Jr. had a career day and won 17 of 19 faceoffs, giving the Fighting Irish valuable extra possessions.
Myers said Notre Dame’s faceoff efficiency was a significant part of the momentum change late in the game. But aside from the lost possessions, he said his team’s quick pacing and offensive set play was important to the team’s development.
“Getting more quality looks on the cage was a theme all week for us and I thought for the most part we did a really good job of that,” Myers said.
Sophomore attack Tre Leclaire set the pace for Ohio State’s offense, recording a hat trick three minutes before halftime. He had a game-high five points, serving up two assists and offering six shots on the cage. Three other Buckeyes recorded goals.
Defensively, Ohio State redshirt freshman goalie Josh Kirson made his first career debut and recorded 13 saves. In the fourth quarter, Kirson made an important save to keep the Buckeyes in the game when Notre Dame junior attack Ryder Garnsey got up close for what seemed to be a sure goal for the Fighting Irish.
Aside from the tough decision on the field today, Kelly said he felt like the team gained confidence after going toe-to-toe with Notre Dame.
“Initially I felt like we were doing some things really well offensively and some things we were working really hard on and getting better,” Kelly said. “I feel like we have gotten a lot better this week but we’ve just got to put some of those other pieces together and connect all the dots.”
Ohio State will have a chance to connect those dots when it meets Penn State at Ohio Stadium at 3 p.m. Saturday.