April 24, 2015
Chester, Pa. – The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team’s bid to win a second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference tournament crown came to an end on Friday night in the semifinals of the 2015 ACC Championship. The top-ranked and No. 1 seed Fighting Irish had its six-game win streak snapped with a 13-8 loss to No. 6 and fourth-seeded Duke at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Led by Case Matheis’ four goals, the Blue Devils (11-4) avenged their 15-10 loss to Notre Dame (9-2) earlier this month on April 4. The setback marked the first for the ACC regular-season champion since March 7 when it suffered an 11-10 overtime loss at Denver.
Unlike the first matchup between the two teams in which the Irish scored eight first-half goals, Notre Dame’s potent offense was held in check for much of the game and was held to a season-low eight scores over the course of 60 minutes.
“I don’t think we played well at all. Give Duke a lot of credit,” head coach Kevin Corrigan said following the game. “On our first couple of possessions I thought we had about five great chances. We just did not play good offense after that for an extended period of time. We did not come as well prepared as we needed to be today. We got beat by a team that played very well.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Duke jumped out to a 3-0 advantage less than three minutes into the second stanza. Matheis netted the Blue Devils first and third goals of the game, with the game’s first score coming less than 41 seconds into the second quarter. Kyle Keenan added Duke’s second goal before Matheis tossed in his second goal at 11:41.
Senior Nick Ossello, who finished with two goals in the game, finally got the Irish on the scoreboard at 8:58 with his 15th goals of the season off an assist from junior Matt Kavanagh, but that would be Notre Dame’s only score of the second quarter. Duke would rattle off two more scores in the final 4:36 before intermission and owned a commanding 5-1 advantage at the break.
The Blue Devils scored the first five goals of the third quarter to extend its consecutive goal-scoring streak to seven straight before freshman Mikey Wynne ended Notre Dame’s scoring drought by dropping in his 31st goal of the season off an assist from Cole Riccardi with 1:05 remaining in the period.
Duke opened up a 12-2 advantage in the game on back-to-back goals by Kyle Rowe and Matheis that provided Notre Dame’s with its largest deficit of the season. Heading into Friday night’s game, Notre Dame had only trailed less than 37 minutes in its first 10 games.
The Irish, however, made the game interesting by rattling off six straight goals in just over six minutes as Notre Dame closed the gap to 12-8 with 4:14 to play in the contest.
Sophomore Sergio Perkovic began the six-goal barrage with the first of his two goals in the game with 10:48 remaining. Senior Jack Near responded with his fifth goal of the season 22 seconds later before Will Corrigan with his third in 2015 cut the deficit to 12-5 with 8:25 left in the game.
Notre Dame scored its final three goals of the game over the course of the next 3:26 in the contest on scores from Ossello, Perkovic and Kavanagh. Kavanagh’s second score of the game and 22nd of the season trimmed the Blue Devil lead to 12-8 with 4:14 to play.
Justin Guterding scored his third goal of the game and 44th goal on the year with 1:28 to play to end the Blue Devils’ scoring skid.
Notre Dame outshot Duke 38-32 in the game, but the Blue Devils owned a 44-30 advantage in ground balls.
“I thought we had some sloppy turnovers, we had some guys forcing things that just weren’t there. We played as though it was going to be easy, but it wasn’t going to be easy,” Corrigan said. You don’t play a team in the top six in the country and expect it to be easy. But that’s what it looked like. Call it impatience; call it a lack of good judgment. We forced too many things and gave away too many possessions.”
Notre Dame returns to action next Saturday, May 2 when the Irish conclude the regular season at Army at 1 pm.
April 24, 2015
PPL Park Â· Chester, Pa.
#6 Duke (11-3) – 0 5 5 3 — 13
#1 Notre Dame (9-2) – 0 1 1 6 — 8