Sergio Perkovic scored all five of his game-high five goals in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame Falls 11-10 To Denver In National Championship Semifinals

May 23, 2015

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It was heartbreak for the top-seeded University of Notre Dame’s lacrosse team on Saturday afternoon in its 2015 NCAA Championship national semifinal game against Denver at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Wesley Berg’s goal with 2:03 left in overtime lifted the No. 4 seed Pioneers to an 11-10 decision over the Irish. Berg’s score came after Notre Dame rallied from a four-goal deficit (10-6) with 4:23 left in the contest.

Senior midfielder Nick Ossello sent the game into overtime when he cashed in on his second goal of the game with nine seconds left in regulation.

Sophomore midfielder Sergio Perkovic proved to be unstoppable in the final 15-minute stanza as he netted all five of his goals in the fourth quarter. Perkovic matched his career high with a five-goal performance he had a year ago in 2014 when Notre Dame lost to Duke in the national championship game.

The Irish, who were making a program-first second consecutive appearance in the national semifinals and fifth overall appearance in Championship Weekend, saw their season come to an end at 12-3. The Pioneers improve to 16-2 heading into their championship title matchup with No. 6 seed Maryland on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t think we played particularly well in certain points of the game, but we did what we needed to do to be in a one-play game at the end.” head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “And we didn’t make that play.”

Saturday’s contest ended much like the first meeting between the two teams on March 7 in Denver where the Pioneers rallied for the game-winner with 3:18 left in overtime for a similar 11-10 victory. Today’s semifinal matchup between the Irish and the Pioneers was the 20th all-time meeting but first in an NCAA Championship game.

Denver’s extended its win streak to three straight over Notre Dame. In fact, the game marked the fourth time in the last five meetings that the contest was decided in overtime.

The Pioneers went up 2-0 early 3:56 into the first quarter on goals by Tyler Pace and Jack Bobzien.

Notre Dame tied the game at 2-2 off of scores from Jim Marlatt and Conor Doyle with 7:32 and 4:30, respectively, remaining in the first quarter.

Denver’s Zach Miller put the Pioneers up 3-2 5:52 into the second quarter on the first of his two goals, but Notre Dame struck back quickly when Ossello netted his first score of the game 52 seconds later.

Connor Cannizzaro, who finished the game with a goal and an assist, found the back of the net for the Pioneers with 6:51 left in the second quarter to put Denver up 4-3.

The defense tightened up for both teams following the score by Cannizzaro as Notre Dame was left trailing at the half for just the third time this season. The three first-half goals by the Irish were the second-fewest this season. In its semifinal game against Duke at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, Notre Dame trailed the Blue Devils 5-1 at intermission.

The third quarter was a low-scoring affair for both teams. Irish senior midfielder Will Corrigan netted the half’s first score when he tied the game at 4-4 2:12 into the third quarter. The tally extended Corrigan’s goal-scoring streak a to a career-best five consecutive contests. Playing in his final collegiate game, Corrigan also assisted on two of Perkovic’s five fourth-quarter goals to match his career high with three points.

Denver went up 5-4 on Berg’s first goal of the game off an assist from Bobzien with 7:23 remaining. Mike Riis then added the quarter’s final score with one second remaining as Denver headed into the fourth quarter with a 6-4 advantage.

The Pioneers struck first in the final stanza on Erik Adamson’s score off a feed from Pace with 9:49 to give the Pioneers a 7-4 advantage.

Perkovic ended the scoring drought for Notre Dame 1:49 following Adamson’s score as he netted his first goal of the game off an assist from Eddy Lubowicki with eight minutes remaining to pull the Irish to within 7-5.

Miller netted his second score of the game for Denver 40 seconds later before Pace’s goal gave the Pioneers a four-goal lead, 9-5, with 5:29 left in the contest.

Perkovic and Corrigan connected for the first of their two fourth-quarter combinations at 4:40 as Notre Dame trimmed the deficit to 9-6.

In what would be Denver’s final score in regulation, Berg tallied his third goal of the game 17 seconds later to push the Denver lead back to four goals, 10-6.

Perkovic would then go on to score Notre Dame’s next three goals in a span of 1:35. His fifth goal of the game came with 2:03 remaining in regulation.

Notre Dame fell to 2-3 all-time in semifinal games on Championship Weekend.

The contest marked the 10th overtime affair in NCAA semifinal history. The last semifinal overtime contest was played in 2008 when Syracuse defeated Virginia, 12-11, in double-overtime.