JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — — Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman had a career-high five points as the No. 4 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team opened its season Sunday by defeating No. 10 Duke, 12-7, in a rematch of the national championship game.
The Blue Devils survived, 6-5, in overtime at M&T Bank Stadium to win the title in May but couldn't keep up Sunday in front of an announced 8,152 at EverBank Field in a game that was part of the inaugural Sunshine Classic.
Brenneman had three goals and two assists, and the Fighting Irish got two goals apiece from senior long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving, junior attackman Sean Rogers and freshman attackman Westy Hopkins. Notre Dame goalie John Kemp, a sophomore, made 10 saves in his third career start.
Duke's Tom Rynn scored the game's first goal with 9:40 left in the first half off a pass from Justin Turri, and the Blue Devils went up 2-0 when Justin Offit converted at 7:34.
The Irish answered with four quick goals. Rogers got Notre Dame on the board with 5:53 left in the half as he came from behind the net to score, and he evened the contest 20 seconds later. Irving put Notre Dame up 3-2 with 5:17 left in the half, and junior midfielder Max Pfeifer converted a little more than a minute later.
Duke halted the Irish run with a goal by Zach Howell at the 10:32 mark of the third quarter. Notre Dame responded with a man-up goal from senior midfielder David Earl, which made it 5-3 with 8:24 left in the third quarter. Sophomore midfielder Pat Cotter assisted on that goal and scored one himself less than two minutes later to put the Irish up 6-3.
Turri got the Blue Devils back to within 6-4 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter, and Brenneman answered with 2:41 on the clock.
Howell scored just over three minutes into the fourth quarter to make it 7-5, then Notre Dame went on another four-goal spurt.
Brenneman scored 34 seconds after Howell's goal, then Hopkins gave Notre Dame a 9-5 lead with 11:04 left as he took a pass from Brenneman and scored his first career goal. Brenneman completed his hat trick at 10:06, and Hopkins scored again with 7:13 left.
Turri got the Blue Devils back to within 11-6 at 6:14, and Duke's Robert Rotanz made it 11-7 with 1:35 remaining. Irving scored the final goal.
Notre Dame stymied a Duke offense that had 20 goals in its season opener against Siena. The Irish led 38-32 in shots and won 13 of 22 faceoffs. Freshman Liam O'Connor was 7-for-10 in the faceoff circle, and senior Jake Marmul was 6-for-11.
Notre Dame has won a program-record nine straight season openers, including 11-7 against Duke last year. This was the Irish's first victory over a defending national champion in four tries.