May 29, 2010
BALTIMORE, Md. - The Notre Dame men's lacrosse team will be playing in the title game of the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history following a 12-7 semifinal win over No. 7 Cornell on Saturday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. The Irish will face No. 5 seed Duke in the final at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Monday back at M&T Bank Stadium.
Senior attackman Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga./Lovett School) matched a career-high total with four goals in spearheading the Notre Dame (10-6) offense. Junior midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) tallied three goals for the Fighting Irish. Senior goalie Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y./MacArthur) made a season-high 16 saves, including 10 in the first half.
"I thought our defense played very well again," said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "I thought Scott (Rodgers) was terrific in the cage. Offensively, we were very opportunistic. I don't know if we played very well offensively, but we made plays very well offensively. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play on Monday."
Cornell struck first less than two minutes into the contest on a goal from Roy Lang. The Fighting Irish responded with four consecutive tallies. Notre Dame evened things up (1-1) with 2:54 left in the first quarter on a goal from sophomore attackman Sean Rogers (New Hyde Park, N.Y./Holy Trinity).
The Fighting Irish grabbed the lead for good (2-1) with just over one minute left in the opening quarter as Hicks found the back of the net. Senior midfielder Adam Felicetti (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) scored with six seconds left in the first quarter to give Notre Dame a 3-1 edge after the first period of play. It was the first goal of the season for Felicetti.
Notre Dame went up by three (4-1) 38 seconds into the second quarter on a Brenneman tally. Cornell put a halt to Notre Dame's run as Steve Mock scored with 12:49 left in the second quarter. The goal snapped a scoreless streak of 15:44 for the Big Red.
A man-up goal from Brenneman gave Notre Dame a 5-2 lead with 10:40 left in the second quarter. The Big Red sliced the Irish lead to two (5-3) with 3:33 remaining in the first half on Mock's second goal of the day. Hicks deposited his second goal of the game with 16 seconds left in the first half to give Notre Dame a 6-3 lead at the intermission.
Brenneman's third goal of the day put Notre Dame up by four (7-3) with less than three minutes elapsed in the second half. Mock notched his third goal of the game just over a minute later to make it a 7-4 affair. Cornell cut the deficit to two (7-5) midway through the third period on a Ross Gillum goal.
A man-up tally from Hicks, his third goal of the contest, with 5:57 left in the third quarter put Notre Dame up 8-5. Notre Dame led by that score heading into the final period.
The Fighting Irish grabbed a four-goal advantage (9-5) with 10:55 left in regulation on a goal from freshman midfielder Steve Murphy (Shirley, N.Y./William Floyd). A goal from Cornell's Ryan Hurley with 6:08 showing on the clock cut the Irish lead to three (9-6). The fourth goal from Hicks gave Notre Dame a 10-6 lead with 4:20 left in the contest.
Junior long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving (McLean, Va./The Hotchkiss School) put Notre Dame up 11-6 with two minutes left in the game. A goal from senior midfielder Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary's) gave the Irish a six-goal advantage (12-6), their largest of the game, with 1:32 showing on the clock. Hurley scored the final goal of the game, a man-up tally with 16 seconds left.
"I thought it was going to be a long day when they scored first," stated Rodgers. "But it's definitely good to make your first save when you get out there as a goalie because you want to get into a rhythm and you want to feel out the shooters. So I definitely think (making the first save) helped."
Cornell held a 40-32 edge in shots. Big Red goalie AJ Fiore made 10 saves. Cornell won 12 of 23 faceoffs.
Monday's title game is slated for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) start. It will be aired live on ESPN HD and ESPN3.com.
May 29, 2010 - M&T Bank Stadium - Baltimore, Md.
NCAA Championship Semifinals
#14 Notre Dame (10-6) - 3 3 2 4 - 12
#7 Cornell (12-6) - 1 2 2 2 - 7
Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Neal Hicks 4-0, Zach Brenneman 3-0, Sean Rogers 1-1, Grant Krebs 1-0, Adam Felicetti 1-0, Steve Murphy 1-0, Andrew Irving 1-0, Nicholas Beattie 0-1, Colin Igoe 0-1, David Earl 0-1; Goaltender: Scott Rodgers (W, 60:00, 16 saves, 7 GA)
Cornell Scoring (goals-assists):
Steve Mock 3-0, Ryan Hurley 2-1, Ross Gillum 1-1, Roy Lang 1-0, Rob Pannell 0-2, David Lau 0-2, Jack Dudley 0-1; Goaltender: AJ Fiore (L, 60:00, 10 saves, 12 GA)
-- ND --