May 3, 2009
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - A season-high six goals from senior attackman Ryan Hoff paved the way for the No. 2 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team in capturing the 2009 Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) tournament title with a 16-7 victory over Ohio State on Sunday afternoon at Seaholm High School. The Fighting Irish receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship with the win.
The victory improved Notre Dame to 15-0 on the season. The win total is a program record for victories in a single season. Notre Dame will find out their NCAA opponent tonight when the pairings are announced. The live NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship `Selection Show' can be seen on ESPNU and a complete bracket and schedule can be found on www.ncaa.com. The show also will air on ESPNEWS beginning at 10:00 p.m. (ET). The first round of the NCAA Championship will take place May 9 & 10 at campus sites.
Notre Dame struck first against the Buckeyes on a goal from Peter Christman less than two minutes into the contest. That would be the first of a career-high tying three goals on the day for Christman, a senior midfielder. He now has three hat tricks on the season.
Ohio State (8-8) answered on a tally from Mike Pires with 9:54 left in the opening period. The Irish regained the lead for good 10 seconds later on a Neal Hicks goal with an assist going to Trever Sipperly. Notre Dame made it 3-1 on Hoff's first score of the day. The Buckeyes cut their deficit back to one (3-2) on a Mario Ventiquattro tally with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Fighting Irish then broke the game open with a 6-0 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and all of the second period. The uprising began on a Hoff goal with 1:19 left in the first quarter. Second-quarter goals from Nicholas Beattie, David Earl and Christman along with two scores from Hoff gave Notre Dame a 9-2 lead at the intermission. The 9-2 score was the final result of last season's inaugural GWLL title game that the Irish took over the Buckeyes.
"It was great to win this given that it's the end of the league," said Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan, whose team will move into the BIG EAST Conference beginning next season. "I think we've had a lot of success in the league and I know it was a point of pride for our guys to finish it off with a win this year and have the championship when the league ends. So it was very, very gratifying."
The two teams alternated the first six goals of the second half. Ohio State stopped the Irish surge on a goal from Jeff Ryan. The goal snapped a scoreless streak that had reached 22:46. Notre Dame responded with a Grant Krebs goal at the 8:36 mark of the third quarter. Following a Buckeye goal seven seconds later from Ventiquattro, the Irish claimed an 11-4 lead on Earl's second goal of the day.
After a Buckeye goal from Brian Lalley, Notre Dame went on a 5-0 run to put the game out of reach. Hoff began the stretch with his fifth goal of the day off a pass from Hicks, who matched a career-high with four assists on the afternoon. A man-up goal from Christman off a feed from Krebs made it 13-5 in favor of Notre Dame at the end of three quarters.
The Fighting Irish scored the first three goals of the final period. Hoff netted his sixth goal of the contest just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter. The six goals were one off the school record that he co-owns. Kelly McKenna then scored to put the Irish up by 10 (15-5). That goal was originally credited to Hoff. Notre Dame's final goal came from Matt Ciambella on an assist from Adam Felicetti.
Notre Dame defenseman Sam Barnes locked down on Ohio State's leading scorer and Joel Dalgarno, who did not net a goal until he put home the Buckeyes' final two tallies late in the contest. Barnes was out of the game at that point.
The Irish out shot the Buckeyes 45-27 and goalie Scott Rodgers stayed perfect on the season by making 10 saves and allowing just five goals in 50:39 of play. Freshman Colt Power relieved Rodgers and made four saves. Ohio State's Brandon Freeman had 16 stops in the loss. Notre Dame owned the faceoff X by winning 19 of 26 chances. Sipperly went 12-3, while Jake Marmul was 7-4.
"Today I was most impressed that we stayed in character all day," added Corrigan. "We didn't try to do too much, but I felt we were very effective at both ends of the field. In the first half, we felt like we had a pretty good opportunity on every offensive possession. Their guy (Freeman) made some nice saves, particularly early on, but we kept the pressure on him. At the defensive end, we just did what we've been doing all year. We try to make ourselves hard to play against and we try to make people not get what they like most."
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GWLL Final - May, 3, 2009 - Seaholm High School - Birmingham, Mich.
Ohio State Scoring (goals-assists):
Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):