Neal Hicks netted three goals on Saturday against Fairfield.

No. 2 Notre Dame Tops Quinnipiac, 7-4, In GWLL Semifinals

May 1, 2009

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BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – The No. 2 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team captured a 7-4 win over Quinnipiac in the semifinals of the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) tournament on Friday evening at Seaholm High School. Junior attackman Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga./The Lovett School) paced the Irish with three goals.

The Fighting Irish improved to 14-0 with the victory. The win total matches a program record that has been reached previously in 2008 (14-3) and 2001 (14-2). Notre Dame will face Ohio State in the GWLL title game on Sunday at 12 noon (ET). That is a rematch of last season’s GWLL championship game that the Irish won 9-2. The third-seeded Buckeyes topped No. 2 seed Air Force, 10-5, in the other semifinal contest on Friday.

Quinnipiac, the fourth seed in the tournament, got on the board first, yet the top-seeded Irish responded with the game’s next six goals. Kevin Kelly scored the goal for the Bobcats at the 7:57 mark of the first quarter. Hicks deposited his first tally of the night, off an assist from Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School), with 6:25 on the clock in the opening period to even the contest. A goal from junior midfielder Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s) with 14 seconds remaining in the period gave Notre Dame a 2-1 lead by the end of the first quarter. Nicholas Beattie (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) picked up the assist on the play.

Beattie, a freshman attackman, put the Irish up by two (3-1) with 11:10 left in the second quarter. Goals from senior attackman Duncan Swezey (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) and Hicks five seconds apart midway through the period gave Notre Dame a 5-1 lead at halftime. The Hicks goal was on a man-up situation and was assisted by sophomore Jake Marmul (Livonia, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central), who was playing near his hometown.

Notre Dame upped the margin to a game-high five goals (6-1) as Krebs scored off a feed from Swezey with 13:53 left on the clock in the third quarter. Kelly responded for Quinnipiac to make it 6-2 with 11:34 left in the quarter. Those were the only two goals of the period. Prior to the second Bobcat goal, the Irish defense had held Quinnipiac scoreless for 25:29.

The Irish regained their five-goal edge when Hicks completed his hat trick with Swezey picking up the assist at the 12:22 mark of the fourth quarter. That was the third time this season that Hicks had scored at least three goals in a game. Quinnipiac’s Jack Oppenheimer scored 15 seconds later to make it 7-3. The game’s final tally came from the Bobcats’ Ted Dimond with 6:11 showing in regulation.

Notre Dame held a 48-19 advantage in shots. Irish goalie Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y./MacArthur), the 2009 GWLL Player of the Year, made 13 saves to remain perfect on the season. His counterpart Kevin Benzing had 14 stops in the loss. The Notre Dame defense has held its opponents to four goals or fewer on four occasions this season. The Fighting Irish lead the nation with a 6.07 goals-against average.

The Irish went 9-for-15 in the faceoff X. Marmul went 6-4, while junior Trever Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y./Greenwich) was 3-2.

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GWLL Semifinals – May, 1, 2009 – Seaholm High School – Birmingham, Mich.
Quinnipiac (4-9) – 1 0 1 2 – 4
#2 Notre Dame (14-0) – 2 3 1 1 – 7

Quinnipiac Scoring (goals-assists):
Kevin Kelly 2-0, Jack Oppenheimer 1-0, Ted Dimond 1-0, Gary Messina 0-1, A. DeAlmeida 0-1; Goaltender: Kevin Benzing (L, 60:00, 14 saves, 7 GA)

Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Neal Hicks 3-0, Grant Krebs 2-0, Duncan Swezey 1-2, Nicholas Beattie 1-1, Peter Christman 0-1, Jake Marmul 0-1; Goaltender: Scott Rodgers (W, 60:00, 13 saves, 4 GA)

— ND —