April 18, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A flurry of activity in the final minutes of regulation ended with the top-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team claiming a 15-14 win over No. 2 North Carolina on Saturday afternoon in front of a capacity and record crowd of 4,522 at Arlotta Stadium.
The victory clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title for the Fighting Irish, who have won six straight games all against ranked foes. Notre Dame will face Duke Friday in the semifinals of the ACC Championship at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. Faceoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Notre Dame (9-1, 4-0 ACC) trailed 14-12 late in Saturday’s contest when Irish junior attackman Matt Kavanagh raced towards the goal and was shoved into the cage by North Carolina’s Evan Connell resulting in a two-minute non-releasable penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Fighting Irish took full advantage by netting three goals in the final 1:15 of the game. Kavanagh scored the first tally of the run and Sergio Perkovic knotted the game, 14-14, with 33 seconds remaining. Kavanagh completed his four-goal performance when he deposited the game winner with seven seconds showing on the clock. Jim Marlatt assisted on each of the final three goals.
“We work on those situations all the time,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said about the final moments of the game. “The last thing we did on Wednesday, which was our last live day of practice this week, was work on if we are up with two minutes left in the game or down with two minutes left in the game and what are our options and what things are we going to do. We go through a timeout and try to simulate all the different things we’ve seen them do late in games.
“Those are situations we literally work on from the first week of practice until now so our guys have a comfort level with those situations. It doesn’t mean it’s always going to work, but they know we have a plan so they’re not freaking out and not trying to step out of their role and make some great play. They know that they have a job to do and everybody is counting on them to do their job.”
The game featured 10 ties and six lead changes and neither team lead by more than two goals. It was back-and-forth from the start as the two teams alternated the first four goals of the contest, beginning with Notre Dame’s Conor Doyle, who had three goals on the afternoon. Kavanagh and sophomore long-stick midfielder Pat Healy also scored for the Irish in the opening quarter, which ended deadlocked at 3-3.
Healy’s goal ignited a 3-0 Irish run, which also featured goals from Kavanagh and Doyle, that gave Notre Dame a 5-3 lead with just over two minutes elapsed in the second quarter.
North Carolina (12-2, 3-1) answered with three straight goals of its own to claim a 6-5 advantage with 4:42 left in the first half. Chad Tutton (man-up), Luke Goldstock and Peyton Klawinski scored for the Tar Heels during that run. Goldstock paced North Carolina with four goals in the game. Another Klawinski goal was sandwiched by scores from Doyle and Perkovic which made it 7-7 at halftime.
Both teams surged out of the gate in the second half. Shane Simpson put the Tar Heels back on top, 8-7, but Notre Dame’s Mikey Wynne scored three times in a span of 1:06 to give the Irish a two-goal cushion (10-8) by the 11:41 mark of the period. Tar Heel tallies from Jimmy Bitter and Goldstock tied the score (10-10) once again.
Wynne’s fourth tally of the quarter gave the Irish a one-goal edge that was wiped away when Goldstock scored to make it 11-11 by the end of the stanza.
North Carolina continued its run into the fourth period with scores from Tutton and Goldstock to claim its first two-goal lead (13-11) of the game. Perkovic sliced the deficit to one, but Bitter pushed the lead back to two (14-12) with 2:19 left to play. Connell’s penalty occurred with 1:26 remaining in regulation.
Notre Dame owned a 48-46 advantage in shots, while the Tar Heels held a slim 18-15 edge in faceoffs. P.J. Finley went 15-of-31 in faceoffs for the Irish, while Stephen Kelly took every attempt for the Tar Heels.
Fighting Irish sophomore Shane Doss made nine saves in the cage and North Carolina’s Kieran Burke finished with 11 stops.
Each of the last four showdowns between Notre Dame and North Carolina has been decided by a single goal. The Fighting Irish are 3-1 in those contests.
North Carolina will meet Syracuse in Friday’s second ACC Championship semifinal. The title game is slated for 1 p.m. (ET) next Sunday at PPL Park. Notre Dame is the defending ACC champion.
April 18, 2015
Arlotta Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
#2 North Carolina (12-2, 3-1) – 3 4 4 3 – 14
#1 Notre Dame (9-1, 4-0) – 3 4 4 4 – 15
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director