Notre Dame forward Jack Lynn struck in the second minute to give the Fighting Irish a quick lead. Despite the early deficit, it didn’t take long for Michigan to level the game again. In the fifth minute, junior forward Evan Rasmussen found the back of the net for the first time in his career after receiving a well-placed pass from sophomore midfielder Bryce Blevins.
Michigan played host to Notre Dame Tuesday night in a physical battle, but ultimately lost 3-1 after its offense fell flat following the early goal.
After the Wolverines equalized in the fifth minute, the offense maintained a steady barrage of attacks. The Fighting Irish were under constant pressure, but nothing materialized.
In the 17th minute, Michigan freshman defender Jason Bucknor scurried past the Notre Dame midfield and fired a shot towards the bottom left corner. Fighting Irish goalkeeper Bryan Dowd quickly extended and managed to get his glove on the ball, sending it out of bounds.
In the 39th minute, Blevins almost snagged a second assist after curling a ball toward the far post where senior forward Kevin Buca was waiting. Buca extended his leg, but couldn’t quite get a foot on the ball.
In the 43rd minute, Michigan found the back of the net for the second time. But much to the discontent of the Wolverine bench and coaching staff, the goal was ruled offside and disallowed. Just 30 seconds later, Michigan conceded its second goal of the afternoon to Lynn. The momentum had officially turned away from the Wolverines
“Still not sure how ours isn’t a goal to make it 2-1,” Michigan coach Chaka Daley said. “That changes the whole complexion of it, but you’ve still got to play. You’ve still got to pick yourselves up as coaches and as players.”
At the start of the second half, the well-oiled machine that was the Wolverines’ offense appeared to have run out of gas. Michigan mustered just five shots during the second half, and Dowd didn’t have to make a save for the entirety of the second half. In the first half, on the other hand, they took seven shots and forced Dowd to make two saves.
The Wolverines lacked the energy they maintained during the first half. Instead of dominating possession in the middle of the field, Michigan resorted to sending long balls up the pitch, desperately trying to get a striker on the end of them.
The weather could have played a factor in the Wolverines’ offense slowing down. Areas of the pitch turned into puddles after halftime and when the ball was played on the ground, its path became unpredictable.
Michigan’s only real chance of the second half came when senior forward Derick Broche received the ball off a corner and quickly fired one on target with his left foot. The shot took a deflection off a defender for the Fighting Irish, posing no significant threat to the Notre Dame net.
“They found what they needed to find in the game and we didn’t,” said Daley. “(We) got calls going against us a little bit, but that happens. You’ve still got to cope, and deal with it, and keep going.”