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Men’s Lacrosse: Kemp shines in 1st career start

Mike Gilloon | Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Coming into Saturday’s matchup against No. 10 North Carolina, Notre Dame had dropped nine straight games against top-10 opponents. Apparently, the Irish could have used a player like Joey Kemp.

The freshman goaltender played like a veteran in his first career start, making 13 saves to lead the No. 14 Irish past the Tar Heels 9-7 at the “First 4” Invitational in Carson, Calif.

“It was a big game,” Kemp said. “The defense played really well. Everyone just did their job.”

Notre Dame (2-1) entered the second period leading 3-1 after grabbing 14 out of 15 ground balls to start the game. Kemp blocked 65 percent of the shots he faced as the Irish avenged a 14-11 defeat at the hands of the Tar Heels last year.

“I was a little nervous before the game started,” Kemp said. “But after the first whistle I was fine.”

The victory came just one week after Notre Dame lost 11-10 to Cornell on the road.

“It was big to get the win [over North Carolina],” Kemp said. “We let up at the half against Cornell but we played hard the whole game this time.”

Irish junior Pat Walsh lived up to his All-American status as he led the Irish with five points against the Tar Heels. His four assists and one goal complemented hat tricks from Jim Morrison and Michael Podgajny.

Matt Ryan chipped in a career-high three assists, the biggest coming midway through the second period when Morrison tossed in his third goal of the half to put the Irish ahead 4-1.

Tar Heel All-American Jed Prossner scored his only goal with just over eight minutes left in the game, closing the gap to 6-5.

However, Irish senior captain Brian Giordano collected two late goals to solidify the victory.

The game, showcasing two of the top programs in collegiate lacrosse, was played in front of 7,882 spectators and was televised by College Sports TV.

“The whole TV thing, that just made it that much more interesting,” Kemp said.

Cornell 11, Notre Dame 10

Notre Dame sprinted out to a 6-3 lead early on against Cornell in a March 6 game in Ithaca, New York. The Big Red then scored seven consecutive goals and held on for the victory.

Morrison led the Irish with three goals. The third score of his hat trick came as Notre Dame trailed by two goals with 44 seconds remaining. Morrison took a pass from Walsh, took a shot and the lead was cut to one. But the Irish were not able to convert in the final seconds.

Trailing 10-6 midway through the third period, Ryan scored two goals less than two minutes apart to cut the lead in half.

Sensing an Irish comeback, Cornell took control of the game and drained the clock for over three minutes. Big Red sophomore David Mitchell then hurled the winning goal – and the first of his career – into the back of the net.