June 1, 2015
— It lasted maybe 10 minutes in real time, yet it likely goes down as the one of the most stunning individual performances in the history of college men’s lacrosse.
The official score sheet says Irish sophomore midfielder Sergio Perkovic scored five goals in the University of Notre Dame’s NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship national semifinal game against Denver May 23 in Philadelphia. A close look at the scoring summary shows that all five goals came in the final period. An even closer inspection indicates that the five goals came over a span of 5:57 in clock time. That would be an amazing accomplishment by a team (especially at the NCAA national semifinal level, against a team that ultimately won the title), much less for an individual.
The NCAA has no individual scoring-by-period records to prove it, but it’s likely Perkovic did something never before accomplished in NCAA men’s lacrosse history while depositing those five goals into the net. His scores came at 8:00, 4:40, 3:38, 3:01 and 2:03, so the last four came in a 2:37 span. ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich called Perkovic’s performance versus Denver the top moment of the entire 2015 season.
The NCAA record for most goals in the fourth period of a national semifinal game by an entire team is nine (accomplished twice). The NCAA Championship record for most individual goals in a single game is nine (also done twice), while the all-time regular-season mark for individual goals in a game is 11.
Those five Perkovic goals tied the Notre Dame NCAA single-game mark for goals set last year by Perkovic in the title game against Duke (also established by Matt Kavanagh in 2014 in the semifinals versus Maryland–as well as by David Earl in 2010 and Randy Colley in 1995). In fact, Perkovic’s late-game show against Denver brought back distinct memories of his 2014 title effort versus Duke when the then-freshmen notched his five goals in a 24-minute span during the third and fourth periods –and lacrosse fans thought that was prolific.
Perkovic’s five goals against the Pioneers tied for the seventh most productive output in a national semifinal game, while his five in the 2014 title game tied for the sixth most in a championship game. His five tallies against Denver marked a season high as well as his sixth game in 2015 with three or more goals.
— Notre Dame’s 11-10 overtime loss to Denver in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship national semifinals marked the 10th overtime semifinal in the history of the tournament.
The Irish now have been involved in two overtime tilts on Championship Weekend over the last six years combined (also including the 6-5 Irish loss to Duke in the 2010 title game).
The most recent team with two overtime outings is Syracuse, an extra session winner in the 2008 semifinals over Virginia and an overtime winner in 2009 in the title game against Cornell.
Virginia has played the most overtime games on Championship Weekend, with five in the semifinals (the last in 2008) and four title games (the most recent in 1996).
— In the NCAA semifinal versus Denver, the Irish managed only four goals over the first 52:00 and then scored six times in the final 8:00.
— Senior midfielder Will Corrigan closed out his Irish career against Denver with a season-high goal and two assists, matching his career high in points.
— Making the 2015 NCAA Championship all-tournament team was Irish midfielder Sergio Perkovic, marking the second straight year he earned that honor.
— The 2015 Notre Dame NCAA wins over Towson and Albany pushed the all-time Irish NCAA victory total to 17. The only teams with more are Cornell, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, North Carolina, Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia. The Irish are 12-6 over the last six NCAA events combined (2010-2015), including national semifinal appearance in 2012 and 2015 and title game appearance in 2010 and 2014.
— The goal by Irish senior attack Conor Doyle against Denver tied him for the all-time Notre Dame lead in NCAA goals and points. Doyle ends his Irish career with 30 points in NCAA play (3 in 2012, 5 in 2013, 12 in 2014 and 10 in 2015) and that ties him with current Irish attack Matt Kavanagh who also has 30 (10 in 2013, 18 in 2014 and 2 in 2015). Doyle also is the current Irish NCAA leader in goals (tied with Kavanagh) with 20 (3 in 2012, 5 in 2013 and 2014 and 7 in 2015). Hot on the heels of that mark is Sergio Perkovic who in his first two years in NCAA play already has 19 goals (9 in 2014, 10 in 2015). Doyle also is Notre Dame’s career NCAA assist leader with 10 (tied with Kavanagh).
— Notre Dame’s last six NCAA losses (2010-2015) have come by a combined nine goals, including three two-goal losses and three one-goal defeats (two of those in overtime).
— Each of Notre Dame’s final 12 games in 2015 came against ranked opponents, including teams rated #1 (Syracuse), #2 (North Carolina), #3 (Denver in NCAA semifinal), #4 (at Denver in regular season), #6 (Albany in NCAA quarterfinal and Duke in ACC Tournament semifinal) and #7 (at Duke and at Virginia in regular season). The 12 straight games against ranked opponents qualifies as an all-time Notre Dame record, topping the previous record of eight straight to end the 2014 season.
— Notre Dame played four one-goal games in 2015 (three overtime affairs), winning two of those (Syracuse in OT and North Carolina). The Irish played three other two-goal games (defeating Georgetown, Virginia and Towson). Both Notre Dame OT losses came against eventual national champion Denver.
— No other team in the country has advanced to (at least) the NCAA quarterfinals each of the last six seasons other than Notre Dame. Duke had been tied with the Irish in that category until the Blue Devils fell in the first round in 2015. Notre Dame is 12-6 over that six-year span. (Only Duke at 16-3 has more wins over those six seasons.)
— Only two teams have played in each of the last 10 NCAA Championships–Notre Dame and Maryland. The Irish are 13-10 over that decade in NCAA play.
— Notre Dame will return a strong contingent of players for the 2016 season, including three 2015 first-team All-Americans, one of them the returning national defensive player of the year:
* Attack Matt Kavanagh (27 goals, 24 assists in 2015)
* Midfielder Sergio Perkovic (team-high 34 goals, 7 assists in 2015)
* Defenseman Matt Landis (he claimed the William C. Schmeiseer Award as the top defenseman in the country from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association)
The Irish return all three starting defensemen in Landis, honorable mention All-American Garrett Epple and Edwin Glazener, along with goaltender Shane Doss. Notre Dame also returns three of its top four scorers from 2015 in Kavanagh (51 points), Mikey Wynne (33 goals in 2015) and Perkovic (41 points in 2015).
The top Irish losses are second-team All-America midfielder Jack Near (19 points in 2015), honorable mention All-Americans Doyle (team-high 51 points in 2015) and midfielder/faceoff specialist Nick Ossello (23 goals, 58 of 121 on face-offs in 2015), starting midfielder Will Corrigan (8 goals, 6 assists in 2015) and midfielder Jim Marlatt (11 goals, 9 assists in 2015; 18 career NCAA points on 9 goals, 9 assists).
— Notre Dame has lost to the eventual NCAA champion in eight of its last 10 appearances in the postseason, including four seasons in a row:
2015–lost to eventual champion and #4 seed Denver in national semifinal
2014–lost to champion and #1 seed Duke in title game
2013–lost to eventual champion and #7 seed Duke in quarterfinal
2012–lost to eventual champion and #1 seed Loyola in national semifinal
2011–lost to #5 seed Duke in quarterfinal (Duke lost in national semifinal)
2010–lost to champion and #5 seed Duke in title game
2009–lost to unseeded Maryland in first round (Maryland lost in quarterfinal)
2008–lost to eventual champion and #3 seed Syracuse in quarterfinal
2007–lost to eventual champion and #3 seed Johns Hopkins in first round
2006–lost to eventual champion and #1 seed Virginia in first round
— Here’s where Notre Dame as a team and Irish individuals finished in the final NCAA stats for 2015 (top 20 rankings):
— 4th in man-up offense (.524)
— 4th in winning percentage (.800)
— 6th in scoring margin (+3.93)
— 7th in shot percentage (.333)
— 8th in scoring offense (13.27)
— 9th in points per game (19.8)
— 9th in ground balls per game (33.07)
— 12th in caused turnovers (7.8)
— 19th in scoring defense (9.33)
— Conor Doyle 8th in shot percentage (.456)
— Mikey Wynne 11th in shot percentage (.452)
— Shane Doss 19th in save percentage (.546)
— Shane Doss 20th in goals-against average (9.06)
Doss led the Atlantic Coast Conference in both save percentage and goals-against average, and Doyle led the ACC in shot percentage.
— Notre Dame led the ACC in 2015 (all games) in these team categories: man-up scoring percentage (.524), fewest penalties/game (2.8), goals-against average (9.25), fewest penalty minutes/game (2.0) and caused turnovers/game (7.8). Matt Kavanagh and Conor Doyle both set an ACC high for assists in a game in 2015 with five (Kavanagh vs. Dartmouth, Doyle vs. Army), with four other conference players also accomplishing that feat. In conference competition, Doyle and three other ACC players set the standard with seven points in a league game (Doyle did it in the Irish regular-season victory at Duke with three goals and four assists).
— Irish junior attack Matt Kavanagh attended the presentation of the Tewaaraton Award Thursday night at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., as one of the five finalists for the honor. Albany’s Lyle Thompson won the award for the second straight year. Kavanagh was joined by his parents along with Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan. Also in attendance was Notre Dame women’s finalist Barbara Sullivan and Irish women’s head coach Christine Halfpenny. Notre Dame was the only institution to have both a men’s and a women’s Tewaaraton finalist.
— Notre Dame finished second behind NCAA champion Denver in the final Inside Lacrosse media poll issued Friday. Among teams on the 2015 Irish schedule, Denver finished first, Syracuse fourth, North Carolina sixth, Albany seventh, Duke eighth, Ohio State ninth, Virginia 11th, Georgetown 15th, Towson 16th and Army 20th. The Irish finished 9-3 against that group in 2015.
— Lacrosse magazine came up with its Early Top 20 for the 2016 season, and that list featured Duke, Notre Dame, Denver, Maryland and Johns Hopkins in the top five slots.
— Christian Swezey of Inside Lacrosse offered his own “Way-Ahead 2016 Rankings” and he listed Notre Dame, Denver, Johns Hopkins, Maryland and Harvard as his top five–with these comments about the Irish, “The Irish have lost to the eventual national champion in eight of the past 10 NCAA Tournaments. They aren’t missing by much. Face-offs are a worry, but the close defense, SSDMs and goalie play will be fine. And any offense with senior Matt Kavanagh (27G,25A), sophomore Mikey Wynne (33G) and junior Sergio Perkovic (34G) is going to be difficult to stop. The Irish reach the summit in 2016.”
— by John Heisler, senior associate athletics director