Senior midfielder Max Pfeifer tallied three goals and one assist on Sunday's win over Virginia.

Irish Earn NCAA Semifinal Berth With 12-10 Win Over Virginia

May 20, 2012

NCAA Tournament Central

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CHESTER, Pa. – For the third time in program history the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team will be playing on Championship Weekend. No. 4 Notre Dame topped No. 5 and defending national champion Virginia 12-10 on Sunday afternoon in the NCAA quarterfinals at PPL Park.

Notre Dame (13-2) will face top-seeded Loyola (16-1) at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The contest will be aired on ESPN2/ESPN3. Notre Dame was the 2010 NCAA finalist and a semifinalist in 2001.

Senior midfielder Max Pfeifer registered three goals and one assist for the Fighting Irish, while junior midfielder Steve Murphy also had four points on two goals and two assists. Senior attackman Sean Rogers chipped in two goals for Notre Dame, who used eight goal scorers in the victory. Junior goalie John Kemp had 14 saves for the Irish.

Sunday’s back-and-forth contest was knotted 6-6 after three quarters of play. Notre Dame won the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter and senior long-stick midfielder Bobby Smith picked up the ground ball and scored to put the Irish on top (7-6). Virginia answered backed 20 seconds later on a Steele Stanwick goal to make it a 7-7 contest. Stanwick had a game-high seven points on two goals and five assists.

Murphy put the Irish back on top (8-7) with 12:35 left in the contest. Eric Keppeler assisted on the goal. The Cavaliers tied the game once again (8-8) as Colin Briggs found the back of the net with just over 11 minutes showing on the clock. There were five ties in the game.

Notre Dame snapped the final tie by rattling off four straight goals to take command of the game. Junior midfielder Ryan Foley began the surge with 7:41 left and goals from Keppeler, a senior midfielder, and Rogers 48 seconds apart put the Irish up 11-8 with 3:25 remaining. Pfeifer completed his hat trick with 1:36 showing on the clock.

Virginia had late goals from Matt White and Stanwick.

“I’m just thrilled to get a win against a very good Virginia team,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. “I’m also thrilled to have a chance to play next week.”

Notre Dame (12-2) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Pfeifer and Conor Doyle. Virginia got on the scoreboard with 10:30 remaining in the first quarter on a tally from Briggs.

Sophomore attackman Westy Hopkins put the Fighting Irish back up by two (3-1) when he deposited a feed from Pfeifer at the 4:24 mark of the opening quarter. The Cavaliers responded less than a minute later on a Chris Bocklet goal and Virginia’s Rob Emery knotted the game (3-3) with 1:19 left in the first period. The score was 3-3 after the opening quarter.

Virginia (12-3) grabbed its first – and only – lead of the game with 9:08 showing in the second quarter when Emery scored again. The Fighting Irish answered Virginia’s 3-0 run with three unanswered goals of their own. Pfeifer’s second goal of the game evened things up (4-4) with 7:07 left in the first half. Jim Marlatt assisted on the tally.

The Irish regained the lead with just over four minutes remaining in the half as Rogers scored off a pass from Murphy. Murphy then tallied a goal of his own to push the Notre Dame lead to two (6-4) with 2:16 remaining in the first half. His classmate Tyler Kimball notched the assist on the score. The Fighting Irish led 6-4 at halftime.

Virginia trimmed the Irish lead back to one (6-5) with 4:26 left in the third quarter on Bocklet’s second goal of the game. The Cavalier goal snapped a scoreless streak that reached 19:42 in length. Virginia then knotted the game (6-6) on a goal from Owen Van Arsdale with just over two minutes remaining in the third period.

Virginia held a 38-35 advantage in shots. Cavalier goalie Rob Fortunato made eight saves on the day. Both teams won 13 faceoff attempts.

“The great thing about our team is that we don’t have any idea who’s going to step up in the next game,” commented Corrigan. “The players are all buying in to what we are doing. It seems like every game or every half it changes who we are getting plays from. The most gratifying thing about that is that means everyone is out there trying to make plays.”

NCAA Championship Quarterfinals
May 20, 2012
PPL Park – Chester, Pa.

#5 Virginia (12-4) 3 1 2 4 – 10
#4 Notre Dame (13-2) 3 3 0 6 – 12

Virginia Scoring (goals-assists):
Steele Stanwick 2-5, Chris Bocklet 2-0, Rob Emery 2-0, Colin Briggs 2-0, Matt White 1-2, Owen Van Arsdale 1-0, Pat Harbeson 0-1, Chris LaPierre 0-1; Goalie: Rob Fortunato (L, 60:00, 8 saves, 12 GA)

Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Max Pfeifer 3-1, Steve Murphy 2-2, Sean Rogers 2-0, Eric Keppeler 1-1, Westy Hopkins 1-0, Conor Doyle 1-0, Ryan Foley 1-0, Bobby Smith 1-0, Jim Marlatt 0-1, Tyler Kimball 0-1; Goalie: John Kemp (W, 60:00, 14 saves, 10 GA)

— ND —