SOUTH BEND, IN – Morrison Mirer scored four goals and host Notre Dame jumped out to a 7-1 first-half lead and held off a second-half rally by visiting Johns Hopkins as the Irish topped the Blue Jays, 16-9, in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Sunday evening. Notre Dame (9-6) advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the seventh time in eight years and will take on Duke next Saturday at Hofstra. Johns Hopkins ends the season at 8-8.
The Irish answered a game-opening goal by the Blue Jays’ Forry Smith with a 6-0 run to grab a 6-1 lead after the opening 15 minutes. Five different players scored during the spree for the Irish with Mirer netting a pair to fuel the spree.
The run reached seven early in the second quarter as a Brendan Gleason goal for Notre Dame made it 7-1 before Smith scored his second of the game midway through the period for Johns Hopkins. A three-goal flurry in a four-minute span late in the quarter pushed the Notre Dame lead to 10-2 at the half. Mirer’s third, an extra-man tally from Ryder Garnsey, and a final tally by Charles Leonard accounted for the three goals for the Irish.
The Blue Jays made a push early in the second half as they scored the first four goals of the third quarter to slice the eight-goal halftime deficit in half in less than seven minutes. Smith completed his third career hat trick just 71 seconds into the third quarter and Joey Epstein scored twice in a span of just over two minutes a short time later to make it 10-5. The four-goal run was complete with 8:47 left in the third when junior Cole Williams swept across the field and fired home a left-handed laser to make it 10-6.
The Irish halted the run with back-to-back goals from Mirer and Garnsey to make it 12-6 before Epstein scored his third of the game with 2:32 on the third-quarter clock to make it a five-goal game. The hat trick is the JHU-freshman-record 10th of the year for Epstein.
Notre Dame put the game away by scoring four of the final six goals of the game over the final 16:21 to secure its trip to the quarterfinals. Four different players scored those four goals for the Irish, who never let the Blue Jays score consecutive goals after the half-opening four-goal run that had cut the eight-goal halftime deficit in half.
In addition to Mirer, Garnsey and Bryan Costabile scored three goals and added one assist each for Notre Dame, which got a 17-of-29 performance on faceoffs from Leonard and nine saves in goal from Matt Schmidt. Leonard added one goal and one assist to his effort at the X.
Epstein totaled three goals and three assists, while Smith (3g) and Williams (2g, 1a) added three-point games for the Blue Jays. Jacob Giacalone played the final 47:19 in goal for Johns Hopkins and posted a career-high 10 saves.
Notes: Epstein’s 10 hat tricks were one shy of the JHU single-season record of 11 and he finishes his freshman year with 48 goals and 25 assists for 73 points. The 73 points are the seventh-best single-season total in school history, while the 48 goals are tied for fifth-best in school history. Marr’s goal was the 107th of his career, which ties him with Bill Morrill (1957-59) for 11th-place on JHU’s career goal-scoring list.