England fall to defeat to Notre Dame in opening game

England lost out 4-11 to NCAA D1 Notre Dame in the opening fixture of their Barcelona Tour weekend.

Notre Dame posted two separate five-goal streaks to secure the win against England, who had good periods of possession throughout, but were unable to have the same effectiveness in front of goal.

England started brightly claiming the opening face and quickly getting into settled possession working the ball with good tempo as Josh Sherry-Brennan opened the scoring.

Another chance soon after for Nick Watson was denied and Notre Dame began to make England pay for a spell of indiscipline.

The speed and movement of the Fighting Irish made defending difficult, drawing several penalties from which the ND attack made no mistake on the man-ups.

Four goals, including three from man-up opportunities, put ND into a commanding 1-4 ¼ time lead.

Defensively, England settled in the second, affording the attack more possession and it was England dictating the tempo.

However, the extra ball didn’t translate into goals, with the key pass often missing just at the crucial moment and ND used their few opportunities to add another two.

Nick Watson did get England’s second, after good work from Dan Smith to break up an ND attack, he moved through in transition, picking out Watson on the crease to finish for a 2-6 half-time deficit.

The match continued in a similar vein after the break, England holding their fair share of the ball, with Christian Scarpello and Jimmy Yanes getting their first England appearances after their NCAA commitments, bolstering the options in attack.

Both goalies proved to be on good form in the third, Hal Dwobeng with a number of saves to deny ND, but a sucker punch three goals in three minutes late in the quarter took the game away from England and all but sealed the ND win, going 2-9 up.

England continued to work hard into the fourth, with an even 2-2 last quarter, including perhaps the most eye-catching goal of the game.

After a loose ball in the midfield, Jak Wawrzyniak fought to secure possession and fired off a 25-yard BTB pass to Watson, moving it on to Alex Russell, working round the crease to finish high.

ND finished the game as they started, taking advantage of one more man-up play to finish with 11 for the game.

Ryan Sweetman also got on the board with a characteristic, powerful driving run through the middle and completing the chance to close the game out at 4-11.

England move on quickly with two games on Saturday against Norway (10am UK) and Germany (1.30pm UK) before a rematch against Notre Dame on Sunday morning.