May 26, 2012
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With its back to the wall, No. 4 seed Notre Dame put together a valiant second-half charge, but could not quite manage to complete the comeback, falling to top-seeded Loyola (Md.), 7-5, in the semifinals of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
With the loss, Notre Dame ends its season with a 13-3 record, having advanced to Championship Weekend for the second time in three years. Loyola improves to 17-1 on the campaign.
The Fighting Irish held the high-powered Greyhounds scoreless for the final 26:40 of the contest, thanks in part to junior goalie John Kemp, who made 13 saves on the day. Sophomore attackman Westy Hopkins netted two goals for Notre Dame, while Loyola attackman Eric Lusby registered five goals and one assist.
“I want to congratulate Loyola. They played well, and I thought they made enough plays and made more plays than we did and deserved to win,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. “I didn’t think we played very well. There was no quit in our guys, but we just didn’t play well today.”
Lusby opened the game’s scoring at the 11:26 mark of the first quarter. Notre Dame answered back midway through the first quarter on a man-up goal from Jim Marlatt. Alex Eaton assisted on the play. Another tally from Lusby put the Greyhounds up for good with 3:21 left in the first quarter. Loyola led 2-1 after the first period of play.
The Greyhounds went up by two (3-1) on a goal from Davis Butts and they extended the lead to three at the 10:47 mark of the second quarter on Lusby’s third goal of the game.
The Irish trimmed the lead back to two (4-2) with just over two minutes left in the half as Hopkins found the back of the net. Notre Dame’s Liam O’Connor won the ensuing faceoff and fed Nicholas Beattie, who scored to make it a one-goal affair (4-3). The goals occurred six seconds apart.
Loyola’s Josh Hawkins scored with two seconds left in the half to give the Greyhounds a 5-3 lead at the intermission.
“I don’t think that (the late goal from Hawkins) mattered,” added Corrigan. “Quite honestly, if it had been 4-3 (at halftime), they (Loyola) would have been kicking themselves in the pants. There were still plays to be made in the second half and we needed to make them. So I don’t think that goal is as big as most people are going to think it was. I think 5 3 was probably more reflective of the play in the game in the first half than 4-3 was.”
Lusby netted his fourth goal of the afternoon 21 seconds into the second half to push Loyola’s lead back to three (6-3). The Greyhounds grabbed a four-goal advantage (7-3) with 11:40 showing on the clock in the third quarter on Lusby’s fifth goal. Loyola led 7-3 after three quarters of play.
Notre Dame got back in the scoring column midway through the fourth period when junior defenseman Matt Miller picked off a pass in the defensive zone, carried it the length of the field and dished off to Sean Rogers, who converted from the right side with 7:18 remaining. Fifty seconds later, the Irish trimmed the deficit to two goals (7-5) when Hopkins netted his second unassisted tally of the afternoon.
Notre Dame’s defense continued to be stout, forcing three Loyola turnovers in the final four minutes and creating numerous offensive chances, but Loyola goalie Jack Runkel made three stops down the stretch. Runkel had 15 saves on the day.
The Fighting Irish won 13 of the 14 faceoff attempts on the day. O’Connor, a sophomore, was 12-for-13, while freshman Nick Ossello was 1-for-1.
Both teams had 28 shots in the game. The Irish were 1-for-2 in man-up opportunities, while the Greyhounds were 0-for-3.
NCAA Championship Semifinals
May 26, 2012
Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Mass.
#4 Notre Dame (13-3) 1 2 0 2 – 5
#1 Loyola (17-1) 2 3 2 0 – 7
Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Westy Hopkins 2-0, Sean Rogers 1-0, Jim Marlatt 1-0, Nicholas Beattie 1-0, Matt Miller 0-1, Alex Eaton 0-1, Liam O’Connor 0-1; Goalie: John Kemp (L, 60:00, 13 saves, 7 GA)
Loyola Scoring (goals-assists):
Eric Lusby 5-1, Davis Butts 1-0, Josh Hawkins 1-0, Mike Sawyer 0-1, Justin Ward 0-1, Chris Layne 0-1; Goalie: Jack Runkel (W, 60:00, 15 saves, 5 GA)
— ND —