April 28, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senior midfielder Lucius Polk (Washington, D.C./St. Albans) scored four goals and sophomore Duncan Swezey (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) added two goals and three assists to help lead No. 10 Notre Dame to a 12-6 Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) victory over No. 20 Ohio State on Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The win gives the Irish the GWLL title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Irish will wrap up their regular-season schedule next Saturday (May 5) at GWLL foe Quinnipiac.
Notre Dame (10-3, 4-0) held an 8-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter before running off four straight goals to capture its seventh straight victory. Polk opened the fourth-quarter scoring with his fourth goal of the game, which was a man-up tally, off a pass from freshman Will Yeatman (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo), who had two goals and two assists on the day.
A goal from Swezey upped the Irish lead to four (10-6) with 4:35 left in the game. Yeatman then notched his second score off a pass from Michael Podgajny (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley) before Podgajny netted a goal of his own to make it a 12-6 final.
The Ohio State (8-5, 4-1) offense entered Saturday’s contest averaging over 11 goals per game, yet the Fighting Irish defense limited the Buckeyes to just six goals. The Notre Dame defense has held its opponents to six goals or fewer during the past seven games, all Irish wins. Junior goaltender Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) made 13 saves on Saturday to up his record to 10-3 this season.
The Irish opened the game with a 3-0 run on a goal from Yeatman and back-to-back Polk tallies. Ohio State’s Ben Drake scored to make it a 3-1 contest at the end of the first quarter.
Goals from Swezey and fellow sophomore Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) opened the second quarter to up the Irish lead to four (5-1). Swezey’s goal was assisted by Podgajny, who had three assists on the day. Back-to-back goals from the Buckeyes’ Joe Benson cut the deficit to two (5-3). Hoff then found the back of the net off a pass from Swezey to make it 6-3 with 6:40 left in the first half. Polk’s third tally was sandwiched between Ohio State goals from Kevin Buchanan and Benson to make it a 7-5 game at the intermission.
Joel Dalgarno trimmed the Notre Dame lead to one with a goal at the 11:46 mark of the third quarter. The only other score of the period came from Notre Dame’s Ryan Cunn (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip), who netted a goal with 1:52 left on the clock to give the Irish an 8-6 advantage heading into the final quarter.
The Irish out shot the Buckeyes 41-30, while Notre Dame also converted on 2-of-3 man-up opportunities. Ohio State goaltender Stefan Schroder made 15 saves on the day.
This marks Notre Dame’s 10th GWLL championship and its first since the 2003 season. The Irish will return to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and it will be the program’s 12th tournament appearance. Notre Dame fell to eventual national champion Virginia 14-10 in the first round of the 2006 tournament.
Next Saturday’s Notre Dame-Quinnipiac game is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET). Pairings for the 2007 NCAA Tournament will be announced on Sunday, May 6.
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#10 Notre Dame (10-3, 4-0) – 3 4 1 4 – 12
#20 Ohio State (8-5, 4-1) – 1 4 1 0 – 6
Ohio State Scoring (goals-assists):
Joe Benson 3-0, Kevin Buchanan 1-2, Joel Dalgarno 1-0, Ben Drake 1-0, Jeff Ryan 0-2, Mario Ventiquattro 0-1; Goaltender: Stefan Schroder (L, 60:00, 15 saves, 12 GA)