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Fighting Irish down Syracuse, 15-14
CHESTER, Pa. – Notre Dame went on a 6-0 run in the third quarter and held on to defeat Syracuse, 15-14, to win the 2014 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship Sunday afternoon at PPL Park.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan. “We didn’t play tentatively like a team that’s afraid and not sure what’s going to happen to them. We played like a team that’s going to go out and win games.
“The one thing was, no matter what happened – good play, bad play – we turned it right around, focused on the next play and played really hard and really fearlessly.”
Matt Kavanagh, the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led the Irish with four goals and two assists, including back-to-back goals in the pivotal third quarter.
Jim Marlatt tallied three goals and one assist for Notre Dame, while Conor Doyle had a career-high five points.
Irish goalkeeper Conor Kelly finished with seven saves, including stopping Syracuse’s Kevin Rice with four seconds remaining to clinch the league title.
After the Irish jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, Syracuse went on a 5-0 run to take a 6-3 lead. Notre Dame scored four of the last five goals of the first half to send the game to the break tied at 7-7.
Syracuse converted on an extra-man opportunity to start the second half. Notre Dame then scored six goals and held the Orange scoreless for over 13 minutes to take a 13-8 lead.
Trailing 15-10 with under ten minutes remaining in the game, Syracuse scored four straight down the stretch to pull within one. The Orange had the ball with the chance to send the game to overtime but were unable to get the ball past Notre Dame’s Kelly.
Syracuse’s Chris Daddio won 21-of-33 faceoffs, including eight of the first nine in the game. Nick Ossello went 10-of-25 and tied a career high with three points.
Rice, who had six assists and seven points for the Orange in the championship, set new tournament records with 15 points and 11 assists on the weekend. Randy Staats tied a career high with five goals against Notre Dame.
Both teams converted on two extra-man opportunities. Notre Dame was a perfect 2-for-2 with the advantage, while Syracuse went 2-for-3.
Notes: All three games of the 2014 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship were decided by one goal, the first time that has happened…All three games were won by the team that lost the regular season matchup.
Matt Kavanagh, Notre Dame (MVP)
Conor Doyle, Notre Dame
Stephen O’Hara, Notre Dame
Conor Kelly, Notre Dame
Brandon Mullins, Syracuse
Kevin Rice, Syracuse
Randy Staats, Syracuse
Dylan Donahue, Syracuse
Case Matheis, Duke
Deemer Class, Duke
Goran Murray, Maryland
NOTRE DAME QUOTES
Head Coach Kevin Corrigan
“I feel a little bit like I did the other night. It was a different pace of game more than anything else but it was just a slugfest. If you watched Syracuse this weekend, they’re like the Terminator – you just can’t kill them. You think they’re dead, you’ve shot them, and there they are right on your tail again. I’d give them a lot of credit, but certainly I thought our guys played the whole weekend with a lot of moxie. They made tough players, were unafraid and we scored a lot of goals in different ways this weekend. That’s something we’ve prided ourselves on all year and it definitely paid off this weekend.”
On the team’s performance over the weekend:
“I couldn’t be more proud of them. I thought our guys played with so much courage and fearlessness this weekend. We didn’t play tentatively like a team that’s afraid and not sure what’s going to happen to them. We played like a team that’s going to go out and win games. Sometimes we were really good and sometimes we weren’t. I would’ve liked to have about four of those layups in the second half back. Just like the other night, we’d like to have some of those clears back. The one thing was, no matter what happened – good play, bad play – we turned it right around, focused on the next play and played really hard and really fearlessly.”
On the team’s goal outburst in the third quarter:
“I said this the other night after playing Maryland in back-to-back games. When you’re in your seventh quarter in the last three weeks against a team, you should have some success. You really should start – not to figure them out, but to get comfortable with the decisions you have to make. Of course you still have to make them about their players and they’re very good about seeing what you’re doing. I really felt they did three different things over the course of the day, adjusting to what we were taking away. That’s a good, smart, well coached team.”
Junior Goalkeeper Conor Kelly
On the last 30 seconds of the game:
“It was kind of déjà vu of Friday night. We were tied on Friday, but up one, we knew they were going to get a shot off and I was just trying to be ready for it. They can score in a lot of different ways. I just tried to stay ready for everything.”
On playing near his hometown:
“Me and Liam [O’Connor] went to Haverford, so it’s not quite Chester but it’s still Philadelphia. It’s always nice to come home and win in front of the home crowd. It definitely made it special for Liam and I.
Sophomore Attack Matt Kavanagh
On his four-goal performance:
“I think in the first game, I wasn’t really recognizing the second slide coming from behind. I was really aware today of moving it, not really holding on to it, and picking my spots when it was a good time. We had a really good two-man game with the short sticks. Their goalie got kind of confused on some, so I just tried to attack and get some good situations.”
On the team’s offense:
“We knew we could score that many different goals. We can score in so many ways: on the man up, transition from the [defensemen] coming up, six-on-six, faceoffs. We scored in so many different ways today, so it’s hard to stop every part of the game.”
Head Coach John Desko
“Hats off to Notre Dame. They played hard and we won some faceoffs but they got after us. We took the early lead but they kept fighting. In the beginning of the third quarter they went on a run and started to pull away from us, so I had to take a timeout to slow the bleeding and I think we finally settled down, and then we started our comeback. I thought their goalie made a great save at the end, and I thought he played well all day. I was impressed by the way they played today, and they really wanted it. Congratulations to Kevin Corrigan and the staff.”
On the goalie change
“They got some good shots on Bobby today, and I don’t think he got into a rhythm the way he wanted to today. It was just a change up; they were scoring goals and putting up good shots today but we’ve made the change the other way around plenty of times, so it was just a little change up.”
On the Notre Dame defense in the third quarter
“They won a lot of faceoffs and number 20 [Nick Ossello] was very quick today and played well, so we eventually had to change what we were doing so we had to put a pole on one side. They played hard and went after it. They played hard and took the game.”
Sophomore Defender Brandon Mullins
On the game
“We can’t keep giving up 15 goals a game. We can’t keep expecting our offense to keep bailing us out. I thought Notre Dame did a good job using picks and utilizing matchups to get players open but I think our defense really needs to do better though.”
Junior Goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell
On getting the start
“It was like any other game -- I was just trying to get mentally prepared. They have a really good team and their shooters had a really great day today.”
On his game
“It wasn’t my best day today, obviously I just couldn’t get into a rhythm like I did Friday night but thank god Dom came in and he bailed us out a lot in the fourth quarter. He made three huge saves and I thought he played very well today.”
Junior Attacker Kevin Rice
On the last play
“They rotated on our initial dodge and a shorty came out to me and I knew there was about ten seconds left so I took it to the rack and he made a really good save, but I have to finish that shot in that situation.”