April 26, 2014
#9 NOTRE DAME (7-5)
#4 SYRACUSE (10-3)
ACC Championship Final
Sunday, April 27 1 p.m. (ET)
PPL Park Chester, Pa.
SETTING THE STAGE
No. 9 Notre Dame (7-5) will take on No. 4 Syracuse (10-3) Sunday in the title game of the ACC Championship. Faceoff is slated for 1 p.m. (ET) at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Syracuse is the tournament's No. 3 seed and Notre Dame is the No. 4 seed. The winner will get the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The Fighting Irish took down top-seeded Maryland, 6-5, in the semifinals on Friday, while the Orange bested Duke, 16-15.
Sunday's showdown will be aired on ESPNU and WatchESPN. Eamon McAnaney (play-by-play), Quint Kessenich (analyst) and Paul Carcaterra (reporter) will be on the call. Live stats will be available via TheACC.com
THE SYRACUSE SERIES
Sunday will be the 10th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Syracuse. The Orange own an 8-1 advantage in the series.
Notre Dame fell to Syracuse, 11-10, on March 29 inside the Carrier Dome. The Irish erased a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter but Kevin Rice scored with just over two minutes left to give Syracuse the victory. Conor Doyle scored a career-high four goals for the Fighting Irish, while freshman goalie Shane Doss made a career-best 11 saves. Rice led the Orange with four goals and two assists.
This is the second straight season that Notre Dame and Syracuse will meet in a conference tournament. The Orange topped the Irish, 9-3, in the semifinals of last year's BIG EAST Championship.
Notre Dame's lone win over Syracuse was an 8-6 decision during the 2012 regular season at Arlotta Stadium.
IRISH FIGHT BACK TO TOP THE TERPS
Matt Kavanagh scored with 6.5 seconds remaining to give Notre Dame a 6-5 win over Maryland on Friday night in the semifinals of the ACC Championship. That was Notre Dame's first lead of the game.
Notre Dame scored five of the game's final six goals.
Six different Irish players scored all six of their goals. Junior midfielder Jack Near assisted on Notre Dame's first and last goals.
Junior goalie Conor Kelly made 12 saves for the Fighting Irish.
The five goals were a season-low total for the Terrapins. It was the first time the Irish held a top-five opponent to five goals or fewer since a 13-5 win at No. 5 Duke in the 2013 season opener. The Notre Dame defense held Maryland's leading scorer, Mike Chanenchuk (28g, 16a), without a point for the first time this season.
It was the first win this season for the Irish in which they had fewer faceoff wins, fewer shots and fewer ground balls than their opponent.
The six goals were the fewest amount in a Notre Dame victory since a 6-5 overtime triumph at Hofstra in 2012.
ASSISTING THE EFFORT
Notre Dame had an assist on four of its six goals Friday versus Maryland.
Over the last three games, 20 of Notre Dame's 29 nine goals have been assisted.
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT HISTORY
This is Notre Dame's fifth appearance in a conference tournament. The Irish are 5-2 all-time in league playoffs.
Notre Dame won the only two Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) tournaments ever held (2008 & 2009). The Irish were the top seed for both GWLL tournaments and defeated Ohio State in the final each time.
The Fighting Irish were 0-2 in the BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame was the No. 1 seed for the inaugural tournament in 2012 and fell to St. John's, 8-7, in the semifinals. The Irish were the No. 3 seed for last season's tournament and were topped by No. 2 seed Syracuse, 9-3, in the semifinals.
IRISH IN THE CAGE
Junior Conor Kelly has started each of the last two contests and has combined to post 26 saves in those games. He had a career-high 14 saves last Saturday against Maryland. That was his first start since the North Carolina game on March 1. Kelly is 2-2 this season with a 9.42 goals-against average and a .506 save percentage.
Freshman Shane Doss has started seven contests and carries a 5-3 record with an 8.5 goals-against average and a .479 save percentage. He stopped a season-best 11 shots at Syracuse on March 29.
Conor Doyle ON A HOT STREAK
Junior attackman Conor Doyle is the only Fighting Irish player to notch a point in all 12 games this season. His overall point streak stands at 15 games and he has scored a goal in 14 straight contests.
KAVANAGH A TEWAARATON AWARD NOMINEE
Sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh has been named a nominee for the Tewaaraton Award. The list of 28 nominees will be trimmed to five finalists in May.
This is the fourth straight season Notre Dame has had at least one Tewaaraton Award nominee.
Matt Kavanagh (So./A) and Stephen O'Hara (Sr./D) were selected to the 2014 All-ACC Men's Lacrosse Team. The Fighting Irish standouts were among 18 players named to the all-conference squad, which was voted on by the league's six head coaches who could not vote for their own players.
Notre Dame has the country's second-best man-up offense percentage (.532). The Fighting Irish have scored on 25 of their 47 man-up opportunities this season.
Freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic and senior attackman John Scioscia both have a team-best seven man-up goals, while Conor Doyle has four.
The Irish also have three man-down goals this season. Matt Kavanagh and Liam O'Connor scored seven seconds apart in a man-down situation against Ohio State, while Scioscia netted a man-down tally versus Duke.
IRISH EXCEL AT PPL
This is Notre Dame's second visit to PPL Park. The Fighting Irish downed Virginia, 12-10, at the venue in the quarterfinals of the 2012 NCAA Championship.
As a school, Notre Dame is a combined 6-0 at PPL Park. The men's soccer team won the 2013 national title at the stadium by defeating Maryland, 2-1, in the final on December 15. The Irish men's soccer squad also captured the 2012 BIG EAST Championship, which was held at PPL Park.
STATE OF AFFAIRS
Pennsylvania is the eighth different state Notre Dame has played in this season. The Irish competed in seven different states during their first nine games of the season (Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, California, Ohio, New York, Wisconsin).
HIGHS AND LOWS
Notre Dame has averaged 13.4 goals per game in its seven wins, while the Irish have been limited to 7.8 goals per game in their five setbacks.
Notre Dame has been held to seven goals in three of its five losses.
The Fighting Irish are allowing 7.1 goals per game in their victories and 11.2 in the setbacks.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Six different players scored all six of Notre Dame's goals in Friday's win over Maryland.
Twenty-one different Fighting Irish players have scored a goal this season. Notre Dame is averaging 8.7 goal scorers per game in its six victories.
Notre Dame has five players with a double-digit goal total this season - Matt Kavanagh (24), Conor Doyle (20), Sergio Perkovic (15), John Scioscia (15) and Jim Marlatt (15).
HAT TRICK CLUB
Seven Fighting Irish players have recorded at least one hat trick this season.
Sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh has a team-best five hat tricks, including a seven-goal output against Ohio State and a four-goal effort versus Virginia.
Conor Doyle had a career-high four goals versus Syracuse and opened the season with a hat trick at Jacksonville.
Freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic netted a career-high four goals against Robert Morris.
Trevor Brosco (Marquette), Jim Marlatt (Marquette), Nick Ossello (Virginia) and John Scioscia (Denver) all have produced one three-goal effort.
KAVANAGH KEEPS COMPILING BIG NUMBERS
Sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh has team-bests in goals (24) and assists (23) this season.
Kavanagh matched a school record with seven goals in the win at Ohio State on March 25. The seven tallies tied the program record held by Randy Colley (1993 vs. New Hampshire) and Ryan Hoff (2007 vs. Drexel). Kavanagh also had an assist in the game and his eight points were one shy of tying the program standard.
Kavanagh has 17 multiple-goal games during his career, including nine hat tricks. He has scored at least three goals in five games this season.
He has dished out 10 assists in the last four games. Kavanagh matched a career-high mark with four assists last Saturday against Maryland.
IRISH IN ACC PLAY
Notre Dame scored 54 goals (10.8 gpg) in ACC regular-season play, while allowing 57 (11.4 gpg). Matt Kavanagh and Conor Doyle both tallied a team-best nine goals in conference play, while Kavanagh also had a team-high 10 assists. Nick Ossello and Sergio Perkovic both netted six goals in league action.
The Fighting Irish were 12-of-24 in man-up chances and their opponents were 9-of-18.
Faceoff specialist Liam O'Connor was 59-of-106 (.557) in conference games this season.
Six Notre Dame opponents are ranked in the top eight of the latest USILA poll (#2 Duke, #3 Denver, #4 Syracuse, #5 Maryland, #6 North Carolina, #8 Virginia). The Irish are 3-4 against those teams.
Notre Dame is 8-6 over the last two seasons when facing a top-10 opponent.
A LOOK BACK
Notre Dame went 11-5 last season and finished third in the Big East with a 4-2 mark. The Fighting Irish finished the 2013 regular season with the nation's top RPI and earned a program-best No. 2 seed for the NCAA Championship before advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fourth straight season. The Irish fell to Duke, 12-11, in the quarterfinals.
Attackman Matt Kavanagh led the Irish in goals (32) and assists (16). The 32 goals established a program record for a freshman. Jim Marlatt was the leading midfielder scorer with 20 goals to go along with 12 assists.
The Fighting Irish finished the 2013 season ranked 10th nationally in scoring defense with an 8.31 goals-against average. Notre Dame returned two starting close defensemen in seniors Brian Buglione and Stephen O'Hara.
O'HARA A SENIOR CLASS AWARD FINALIST
Notre Dame team captain and standout defenseman Stephen O'Hara has been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award in the men's lacrosse division.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through May 12. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore May 24-26. For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
O'Hara is the fifth Fighting Irish men's lacrosse player to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. Ryan Hoff (2009), Scott Rodgers (2010), Kevin Randall (2012) and Matt Miller (2013) also were among the final 10 student-athletes in contention for the award, which was first presented in 2007.
Notre Dame and Maryland are the only two programs to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship field in each of the last eight seasons.
Notre Dame and Duke are the only two schools to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship in each of the last four seasons.