March 3, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team jumped five spots to sixth place in this week’s Warrior media poll after erasing a five-goal second-half deficit en route to Saturday’s 11-10 win at North Carolina. The Fighting Irish also are sixth according to Lacrosse Magazine and they are eighth in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) poll.
The Tar Heels were ranked second at the time of the contest and it marked the highest ranked opponent the Fighting Irish have toppled since taking down No. 2 Duke, 7-3, in the 2012 season opener. That win over the Blue Devils was the first of nine victories over top-10 foes the Irish have produced in the last three seasons.
While notching a win against a highly-ranked opponent is nice, it’s even better when it makes you 1-0 in your new league. Saturday’s game was the program’s first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference contest and there was no better way to make an entrance than with a dramatic victory.
After falling behind 8-3 early in the third quarter, the Fighting Irish rattled off five straight goals en route to the win. The surge began and ended with scores from sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh, who finished with three goals and two assists on the afternoon. Kavanagh has produced a hat trick in all three games this season and leads the Irish in goals (9) and assists (8). Nationally, he ranks fourth in points per game, eighth in assists per game and 19th in goals per game.
Kavanagh also had nine goals through the first three games of last season. In two career games against North Carolina, he has compiled seven goals and four assists. Last year, he netted the triple-overtime winner to cap off a four-goal, two-assist performance against the Tar Heels.
Senior Liam O’Connor also had a huge day on Saturday as he went 16-of-23 in the faceoff X. O’Connor has won 41 of his 62 attempts this season and that .661 percentage ranks fifth in the country. As a team, Notre Dame has the nation’s second-best faceoff winning percentage (.676).
The Fighting Irish rank first nationally in man-up offense (.667). Notre Dame converted on four of its seven man-up opportunities versus the Tar Heels. Freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic hammered home two man-up goals in the game and has a team-best four man-up scores this season.
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