Notre Dame men's lacrosse: Irish put clamps down on Terps in semis

Associated Press
ND Insider

BALTIMORE — Notre goalie Conor Kelly outplayed his All-America counterpart for Maryland and helped send the Irish into the NCAA championship game for the second time.

Kelly made 14 saves to anchor a suffocating defensive effort as sixth-seeded Notre Dame defeated No. 7 Maryland, 11-6, on Saturday.

“I’m really happy with the way our guys played today. It sure helps when Conor’s back there making some of the saves he made today,” said Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan.

Matt Kavanagh scored five goals and dished off two assists to lead the offense, which shredded a Maryland defense that had been ranked No. 1 nationally with just seven goals allowed.

“I thought we played great team offense. We executed our sets perfectly,” Kavanagh said. “I was just on the back end of some great team offense.”

Conor Doyle had a goal and three assists for Notre Dame (12-5), which will play top-seeded Duke in Monday’s final. John Scioscia and Nick Ossello netted two goals apiece for the Irish, who outscored the Terps, 4-1, in the third quarter to build a 10-5 lead.

“Notre Dame executed very well in just about every facet and certainly outplayed us in every facet,” said Maryland coach John Tillman.

In his 26th season at the helm, Corrigan has built Notre Dame into a perennial playoff program that has made three final four appearances. He did not want to reflect on what it would mean for the Irish to capture their first national title.

“Now is not the time for me to have perspective,” Corrigan said. “This is the 2014 team’s only chance to win a national championship, and I’m not focused on anything else. I’m not going to take my eye off the ball here on Saturday afternoon. Our deal is to try to finish this on Monday.”

Defenseman Stephen O’Hara put the clamps on Maryland leading scorer and All-American Mike Chanenchuk, who was held to two goals and an assist after totaling nine points in last week’s quarterfinals. The Terrapins equaled a season-low with six goals on 38 shots.

“I think we were a little stubborn with our shooting. We talked all week about (not) shooting high. We felt (Kelly) was better high than low,” Tillman said. “I don’t think we could have emphasized it more, and then we come out early and go back to old habits.”

Joe LoCascio also scored two goals for Maryland (12-4), which committed a season-high 19 turnovers. Amato made 10 saves for the Terps, who have now lost in the semifinals and finals 17 times since winning their last national title in 1975.

It will be an all-ACC championship game and a rematch of the 2010 final, which Duke won, 6-5, in overtime.

Duke 15, Denver 12: Duke is so talented offensively that even its backups are dangerous.

The Blue Devils lost a key cog in their high-scoring offensive machine when All-American attackman Josh Dionne suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week’s quarterfinals.

No matter.

Kyle Keenan filled in and scored four goals to lead the top-seed into the final.

Keenan was an attackman in high school, but was forced to play midfield this season in order to crack Duke’s loaded lineup. Head coach John Danowski said Keenan was the ideal choice to replace Dionne, and the sharp-shooting left-hander wouldn’t let the Blue Devils miss a beat.

“I was just at the right place at the right time,” Keenan said of his career-high goal output. “I have to credit my teammates. I got a bunch of greet feeds today and just had to finish.”

Attackman Jordan Wolf totaled three goals and two assists for Duke (16-3), which will seek its second straight national championship and third overall.

Notre Dame’s Matt Kavanagh rejoices after scoring against Maryland during Saturday’s national semifinals in Baltimore. (AP Photo/GAIL BURTON)
Maryland goalie Niko Amato is unable to stop a shot by Notre Dame’s Pat Cotter during their national semifinal showdown Saturday in Baltimore. Notre Dame won 11-6 and will face Duke in Monday’s final. (AP Photo/GAIL BURTON)

MEN

At M&T Bank Stadium

Baltimore

Saturday, May 24

Division I Semifinals

Duke 15, Denver 12

Notre Dame 11, Maryland 6

Sunday, May 25

Division III Championship

Tufts vs. Salisbury, 1 p.m.

Division II Championship

Limestone vs. Long Island-Post, 4 p.m.

Monday, May 26

Division I Championship

Duke vs. Notre Dame, 1 p.m.

— — —

WOMEN

Sunday, May 25

At Gettysburg, Pa.

Division III Championship

Trinity (Conn.) vs. Salisbury, 2:30 p.m.

At Towson, Md.

Division I Championship

Maryland vs. Syracuse, 8:30 p.m.