April 3, 2015
#1 NOTRE DAME (6-1, 2-0 ACC)
#7 DUKE (7-3, 0-2 ACC)
Saturday, April 4, 2015 – 5 p.m. (ET)
Koskinen Stadium – Durham, N.C.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Pressure? What pressure?
When Dylan Donahue gave Syracuse a 12-11 lead with just over a minute remaining in regulation in last Saturday’s epic showdown between the top-ranked Orange and No. 2 Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish found themselves in an unfamiliar situation. Behind.
Prior to that moment, Notre Dame had either been tied or ahead for the last 178 minutes and 54 seconds of game action. The Irish clearly didn’t like the foreign feeling of trailing so they did something about it.
Seven seconds after the Orange goal the Irish were back on familiar ground as sophomore P.J. Finley won the faceoff, gathered the ball, sprinted down the field and scored the first goal of his career. The Fighting Irish eventually prevailed in double-overtime, 13-12, and on Monday they swapped places with Syracuse in the national polls.
“That’s the character of this team that we build every single day,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan says. “We compete very hard Monday through Friday so it’s nothing for our guys to be there in that moment. We talked to them before the (Syracuse) game and said pressure is what you have when you don’t know what you’re doing. We know what we’re doing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be a battle. They’re going to make some plays and we’re going to make some plays. We just have to get on to the next play. Everyone just has to stay with what we do and trust what we do and trust each other.”
Through seven games this season Notre Dame has trailed for only 11:06, including just 1:10 in the last five contests. The Fighting Irish have fired out of the gate in nearly every game, outscoring opponents 28-8 in the first quarter this season (52-20 overall in the first half).
The top-ranked Fighting Irish (6-1, 2-0 ACC) will look to post another strong start Saturday when they visit No. 7 Duke (7-3, 0-2 ACC) for the latest installment of one of the top rivalries in college lacrosse. The two programs have squared off for the national title twice in the last five seasons, including last May’s affair in Baltimore, an 11-9 Duke victory.
Saturday will be the 10th meeting between the Fighting Irish and Blue Devils in the last six seasons. Notre Dame owns a 4-1 mark in the regular-season affairs, yet Duke has claimed all four NCAA tournament matchups.
While many on the Fighting Irish roster have experienced firsthand the spirited encounters with Duke, Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer Mikey Wynne, a freshman attackman, will be getting his first taste on Saturday.
“It’s been a great rivalry and I was actually at the 2010 championship game (a 6-5 Duke victory in overtime),” Wynne, who has 21 goals this season, says. “I was sitting in the stands not knowing I’d be coming to Notre Dame. I saw that game pan out and was just like, `wow, that was a great college lacrosse game.’
“To now be a part of the rivalry is humbling because of all the great players who have played in it before. Obviously the goal is to go out there and get a win.”
Wynne is a key reason why the Notre Dame offense currently ranks ninth nationally with a 13.4 goals-per-game average. Junior attackman Matt Kavanagh, Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer each of the last two campaigns, has team-best totals for assists (17) and points (31) this season.
“We’re running really good team offense,” Kavanagh states. “We have confidence in everyone who’s out there that they can put the ball in the back of the net and that makes my job easier as a feeder. I don’t really have to choose my spots to go all in and shoot it every time.”
The Fighting Irish also have been able to flex their muscle on the defensive end of the field as they rank 13th nationally in fewest goals allowed per game (8.1). Notre Dame has produced the ACC Defensive Player of the Week each of the last three weeks with junior defenseman Matt Landis earning the accolade twice and sophomore goalie Shane Doss took home the honor after the shutout victory over Ohio State.
The awards and lofty rankings are the byproducts of an already successful season, but the Fighting Irish know it’s only early April and a lot of work is left.
“Coach (Corrigan) tells us not to get too high or too low after any one game,” Wynne says. “We just have to take every game for what it is and enjoy it, but know you have the next game to worry about. The mentality in the locker room is that everybody knows that it (Syracuse) was a great win, but it’s on to the next one. No one in the locker room talks about championships, we just talk about getting better every single day. Obviously everyone’s goal in the back of their head is to win a championship, but we’re just trying to do the best we can every day.”
SETTING THE STAGE
– No. 1 Notre Dame (6-1, 2-0 ACC) travels to No. 7 Duke (7-3, 0-2) on Saturday for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown. Faceoff is slated for 5 p.m. (ET) at Koskinen Stadium.
– The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and WatchESPN with Mike Corey (play-by-play) and Paul Carcaterra (analyst) on the call. Live stats will be available at GoDuke.com.
– This will be a rematch of the 2014 national title game. Duke topped Notre Dame 11-9 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
NOTRE DAME BACK AT NO. 1
– After beating No. 1 Syracuse, Notre Dame moved to the top of the USILA (coaches) and Cascade/Maverik (media) polls.
– This is the fifth week in the history of the Fighting Irish program that they have been No. 1 in both polls. Here are the previous appearances:
April 18 – May 2, 2011 (USILA & media polls – 2 weeks)
March 25 – April 1, 2013 (USILA & media polls – 1 week)
April 22 – April 29, 2013 (USILA & media polls – 1 week)
ANOTHER DATE WITH DUKE
– Saturday will be the 15th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Duke and the 10th encounter in the last six seasons.
– Duke has won the last three meetings and lead the series 9-5.
– The Irish are 4-5 against the Blue Devils since the beginning of the 2010 season. The Fighting Irish are 4-1 in the regular-season meetings in that time, while Duke has captured the four NCAA tournament matchups.
– Duke bested Notre Dame in the 2010 national title game (6-5 in OT), the 2011 quarterfinals (7-5), the 2013 quarterfinals (12-11) and the 2014 national title game (11-9).
– Notre Dame has won the last three showdowns at Duke. The last meeting in Durham occurred in 2013 and the Irish prevailed 13-5. Notre Dame is 3-4 all-time at Duke.
IRISH AGAINST THE BLUE DEVILS
– Jim Marlatt has 10 goals and three assists in five career games against Duke, while Matt Kavanagh has nine goals and five assists in four meetings with the Blue Devils. Sergio Perkovic has produced six goals, including five in the 2014 national title game, in two encounters with Duke. Conor Doyle has registered four goals and four assists in five showdowns against the Blue Devils.
– Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan is 10-12 against a John Danowski-coached team. Corrigan went 6-7 versus Danowski’s Hofstra teams and the Irish head coach is 4-5 against Danowski during his Duke tenure.
IRISH CLIP CUSE IN DOUBLE-OVERTIME
– In a game that lived up to the billing, No. 2 Notre Dame topped No. 1 Syracuse in double-overtime, 13-12, last Saturday in front of 3,602 fans at Arlotta Stadium. Senior captain Jack Near netted the game winner for the Fighting Irish.
– It was the first time in program history that Notre Dame defeated a top-ranked opponent. The Irish had been 0-4 all-time against No. 1 teams.
– Four different Fighting Irish players – Mikey Wynne, Sergio Perkovic, Nick Ossello and Near – all tallied two goals, while Matt Kavanagh registered one goal and a game-high three assists. Sophomore goalie Shane Doss made 12 saves.
– The Fighting Irish limited Syracuse to just three first-half goals, which was the Orange’s second-lowest scoring output in any half this season. Notre Dame held Syracuse without a goal for 18:54 during portions of the second and third quarters en route to building the 9-3 lead that signified Syracuse’s largest deficit of the season.
– The Orange secured its first lead of the game (12-11) at the 1:06 mark of the fourth quarter and Notre Dame had a quick response as P.J. Finley won the ensuing faceoff and raced down the field and scored the first goal of his career to make it 12-12 with 59 seconds showing on the clock.
– The Irish stopped both Syracuse possessions in overtime. Doss saved a point-blank shot from Dylan Donahue in the final seconds of the first overtime.
LANDIS EARNS ANOTHER ACC HONOR
– For the second time in three weeks, junior defenseman Matt Landis was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Irish top Syracuse, 13-12 in double-overtime. Landis shared this week’s honor with North Carolina’s Stephen Kelly.
– Notre Dame has produced the ACC Defensive Player of the Week each of the last three weeks. Landis has copped the accolade twice in that span, while sophomore goalie Shane Doss garnered the citation last week.
NOTRE DAME NAMED NCAA.COM TEAM OF THE WEEK
– The Fighting Irish were named the NCAA.com Men’s Lacrosse Team of the Week for the win over top-ranked Syracuse.
DOSS GETTING IT DONE
– Sophomore goalie Shane Doss is seventh nationally in save percentage (.588) and ninth in goals-against average (7.68). Doss leads the ACC in both of those categories.
– Doss was named the USILA Division I Defensive Player of the Week and the ACC Defensive Player of the Week after the Irish shut out Ohio State, 9-0, on March 21.
– He has made 10 or more saves in five of his six starts this season, including 12 in last Saturday’s win over Syracuse.
– Doss has a 5-1 record this season and a 10-4 career mark.
KAVANAGH PRODUCING POINTS
– Matt Kavanagh has produced three or more points in six of seven games this season. He ranks 11th nationally in assists per game (2.43) and 16th in points per game (4.43).
– The junior attackman has notched six or more points in three games this season and in 11 games during his career.
– Kavanagh’s career 3.76 points-per-game average is fourth among all active Division I players.
– Kavanagh currently has a team-best 16-game goal streak, which is the longest of his career.
– Notre Dame boasts the nation’s third-best man-up offense (.588). The Fighting Irish are 10-of-17 in extra-man opportunities this season. Mikey Wynne has a team-best four man-advantage goals, while Matt Kavanagh and Sergio Perkovic both have two man-up tallies.
FIGHTING IRISH SPURTS
– Notre Dame has produced significant scoring runs in each of the last six games.
– The Fighting Irish extended their 5-3 halftime lead against Syracuse with four straight second-half scores to claim a six-goal advantage (9-3).
– Notre Dame scored every goal in the 9-0 win over Ohio State on March 21.
– The Fighting Irish scored the first seven goals in the 11-9 victory at Virginia.
– Notre Dame surrendered the first goal to Denver before scoring five straight times, but the Irish would suffer an 11-10 overtime setback.
– After Dartmouth tied Notre Dame, 2-2, the Fighting Irish rattled off 14 consecutive tallies in the 20-5 victory.
– The Irish overturned a 1-0 deficit at Michigan with nine straight goals en route to the 17-8 victory.
– The Fighting Irish have outscored their opponents 28-8 in the first quarter and 52-20 in the first half.
– Nine of Notre Dame’s 11 regular-season opponents currently appear in both polls, including five in the top 10.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
– Notre Dame has had at least six different goal scorers in six of seven games this season. Nine Irish players netted a goal in last Saturday’s win over Syracuse.
– Notre Dame had a season-high 10 goal scorers in wins over Dartmouth and Michigan. The Irish had a season-low four goal scorers in the win at Virginia.
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director