For Notre Dame lacrosse, a tough loss at the hands of St. John's last weekend was something that most people didn't see coming. The Red Storm took the Irish by surprise, taking a 12-10 decision in South Bend.
Today Notre Dame takes the field again as they play in their first-ever Division I lacrosse game in the state of Illinois. The Irish will be the home team against first-year program Marquette as they face off at Loyola Academy.
Notre Dame sits at No. 4 in the national polls, falling from the No. 1 spot after the disappointing loss to St. John's. Their 6-2 record is certainly enough for a tournament bid at this point, but every game seems to be a tough one in college lacrosse this year.
Marquette is looking to build a respectable program as they take their 2-4 record on the road. They're led by freshman attacker Conor Gately, who has recorded seven goals and 14 assists thus far in 2013. They have given up a ton of goals on defense and will certainly have trouble keeping the Irish offense at bay.
The Irish are led by a freshman as well. Rookie Matt Cavanagh has 16 goals and eight assists this year, proving to be one of the most lethal freshman in the country. Goalie John Kemp has been solid in goal for Notre Dame, recording a 53-percent save rate thus far.
Notre Dame should run away with this one, but Marquette has an opportunity to run with one of the most talented teams in the country. If they can keep pace, it will bode well for them moving forward. Look for the Irish to dominate faceoffs and possession time in this one.
Hopefully Marquette can keep it respectable, but I predict that the Irish take this one by a score of 18-5.