May 11, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) goal with 1:28 left in the first overtime period gave No. 5 Notre Dame an 8-7 victory over No. 10 Colgate in NCAA Tournament first-round play at a rainy Alumni Field on Sunday afternoon. The sixth-seeded Fighting Irish will now play in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the fourth time in program history.
Notre Dame (14-2) will take on third-seeded Syracuse (13-2) next Sunday (May 18) in the NCAA quarterfinals in Ithaca, N.Y. Game time is slated for 3:00 p.m. (ET) at Schoellkopf Field. The contest will be aired live on ESPNU.
“Anytime you win in the tournament it means you’ve survived to play another day,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. “The goal is to survive. You’d love to play well and play brilliantly and beautifully and all that. I don’t think we did any of that today. I thought we played very gutsy and I thought we battled. I don’t think we played that well, but it doesn’t matter. The important thing in the tournament is to win.”
The Fighting Irish, who used eight different goalscorers, never led in the game until Christman’s goal found the back of the net to give Notre Dame its first victory in the NCAA Tournament since the 2001 quarterfinals. The victory also brings the program-record home win streak to 19 games for the Irish. Notre Dame has now won a season-best seven straight games overall.
Colgate (11-6) jumped out on top with a goal from Matt Lalli with just under two minutes gone by in the contest. The Irish responded on a goal from Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney), with the assist going to Alex Wharton (Baltimore, Md./Gilman), with four-and-a-half minutes to go in the opening period. The Raiders went ahead 3-1 by the end of the quarter on scores from Kevin Colleluori and Brandon Corp.
Notre Dame, who was hosting an NCAA Tournament game for the first time, sliced the lead to one (3-2) as Dan Gibson (Germantown, Tenn./Memphis University School) assisted on a Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) goal. However, Colgate struck back with tallies from Ian Murphy and Zack Craumer to take a 5-2 lead into halftime.
The Irish began the second-half scoring with unassisted goals from Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s) and Adam Felicetti (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) to make it a 5-4 contest in favor of the Raiders with 4:57 remaining in the third quarter. Colgate got its advantage back up to two (6-4) on a man-up score from Joshua Back.
The Raiders led 6-4 after three periods of play, yet Notre Dame would score four of the game’s next five goals to take the victory.
Wharton began the final surge for the Irish with a man-up tally with 11:21 left in regulation. It would be nearly seven minutes until the next goal was scored and that came from Colgate’s Colleluori to give the Raiders a 7-5 lead.
Notre Dame upped the defensive pressure and Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga./Lovett School) scooped up a ground ball off a failed Raider clear and scored with 3:45 showing on the clock. Michael Podgajny (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley) would net the equalizer with 1:29 left in regulation.
Colgate gained possession first in overtime and it looked as though the Raiders were going to pull the upset as Craumer had a good look from close range, yet Irish goaltender Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) made a huge save to keep the Notre Dame season alive.
“We have a ton of faith in our goalie Joey (Kemp) and our defense because they’ve been unbelievable all season long,” added Christman, a midfielder. “We’re confident in our offense and I don’t think we ever feel like we’re out of a game even when it may have appeared the wind had been taken out of our sails when we were down 7-5. You have to have faith and I think we had that until the final whistle.”
Kemp’s save paid off on the other end of the field as Christman, who also scored the game-winner in the final seconds against Albany earlier this season, scored to send the Irish into the quarterfinals. Notre Dame’s other trips to the NCAA quarterfinals came in 1995, 2000 and 2001.
“I got the short-stick (defender) on me and I saw an alley,” commented Christman about his game-winner. “Mike (Podgajny) cleared through and it was a little bit of a low-angle shot and I think coach’s heart stopped for a little bit there. I saw that he (the Colgate goalie) had been kind of going low all day, so I decided to put one up high.”
The Fighting Irish out shot the Raiders, 40-23, on the afternoon. Kemp made eight saves in the win, while his counterpart, Tim Harrington, had 18 stops. Taylor Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md./DeMatha) went 12-for-18 in faceoffs against Colgate’s Chris Eck. That was a featured match-up as Clagett entered as the nation’s second-best faceoff man and Eck was fifth.
Notre Dame’s 14 victories this season matches the program record from the 2001 campaign. That year, the Irish ended the season 14-2 after falling in the national semifinals.
The overtime win was the first of its kind for Notre Dame since the 2005 campaign. This also marked the second straight NCAA game for the Irish that went to overtime. The Irish fell to eventual national champion Johns Hopkins, 11-10, in overtime during last season’s first round of the NCAA Championship.
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#10 Colgate (11-6) – 3 2 1 1 0 – 7
#5 Notre Dame (14-2) – 1 1 2 3 1 – 8
Colgate Scoring (goals-assists):
Kevin Colleluori 2-0, Zack Craumer 1-2, Brandon Corp 1-1, Matt Lalli 1-1, Ian Murphy 1-0, Joshua Back 1-0, Rob Bosco 0-1; Goaltenders: Tim Harrington (W, 62:32, 18 saves, 8 GA).
Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Alex Wharton 1-1, Ryan Hoff 1-0, Grant Krebs 1-0, Michael Podgajny 1-0, Peter Christman 1-0, Adam Felicetti 1-0, Neal Hicks 1-0, Zach Brenneman 1-0, Dan Gibson 0-1; Goaltender: Joey Kemp (W, 60:00, 8 saves, 7 GA)