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Irish Show Fight As Notre Dame Holds Off SBU

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Irish Show Fight As Notre Dame Holds Off SBU

Photo Notre Dame RecSports

On a cold, rainy, windy evening in South Bend the University of Notre Dame claimed an important victory, defeating St. Bonaventure 13-10.

It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but it was an important one for the Fighting Irish, coming as it did after close losses to Ohio State (15-7), Indiana (25-12), and Bowling Green (24-17). 

“I don’t know how we would have taken another close loss,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Justin Hickey. “We needed a win and it was good to be able to get one.”

The conditions played a huge role in he game. The gametime temperature was in the mid-40s with a 15 MPH wind and rain coming in sideways.

Notre Dame controlled territory for most of the first half thanks in part to the kicking from flyhalf Leo Fangmeyer. That pressure led to a penalty goal from Fangmeyer 26 minutes in, but SBU’s defense held on for most of the first period.

Former scrumhalf and now hooker Chad Sasiatek finally went over just on the stroke of halftime, and Fangmeyer’s conversion staked Notre Dame to a 10-0 lead.

The second half was another slog. Josh Smith scored on a counter to bring SBU closer at 10-5. Fangmeyer added a penalty for a 13-5 lead, and SBU then scored late to close it out at 13-10.  

It didn’t help St. Bonaventure that they lost captain and No. 8 Jack Wiles 20 minutes into the game.

But for Hickey, the key was that the Irish showed some fight.

“We’re still trying to find our identity,” said Hickey. “But even with the loss to Bowling Green we saw that we were coming together, emotionally and with our collective personality. The skill level was there but we hadn’t quite found our soul.”

(Photos Notre Dame RecSports)

The players showed some toughness and grit and determination, and in the end that’s what brought the win home.

“There are times you have to dig deep,” said Hickey. “We were hustling getting on loose balls and doing all the scrappy things you need to do to win a game in these conditions.”

No. 8 Mike Matarazzo had a big day, while Connor Grace emerged as well. Fangmeyer moved to flyhalf from fullback to fill in for injured Drew Corr, who was sidelined in the Ohio State game. He has taken to that position well, but Grace was under some pressure in this game, and showd well on attack and covering the SBU kicks to space.

Notre Dame 13
Tries: Sasiatek
Convs: Fangmeyer
Pens: Fansmeyer 2

St. Bonaventure 10
Tries: Smith, Other