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Men’s Lacrosse: Penn St. stuns Irish with goal in overtime

Matthew Robison | Sunday, February 26, 2012

No. 2 Notre Dame let No. 20 Penn State earn an upset victory Sunday at Notre Dame’s Arlotta Stadium, as the Nittany Lions scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds of overtime to claim a 4-3 victory.

“At the end of the day people have to make plays,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We didn’t make enough plays to win today. We had our opportunities.”

The Irish started strong and got on the board first with a goal by junior midfielder Quinn Cully, The first goal of Cully’s career came off an assist from sophomore attackman Westy Hopkins.

Junior midfielder Ryan Foley had the other two goals, the first with 11:22 left in the first half while the Nittany Lions remained scoreless. But Penn State put two on the board before the break.

After Penn State took its first lead of the night, Foley scored again to even the score with just over three minutes left before the end of regulation.

In overtime, both teams had a shot at winning. After a save by junior goaltender John Kemp, it looked like the Irish would have the final shot of the first overtime period. But the Irish were called for a loose ball violation and Penn State was given possession with 10 seconds to play. It capitalized and earned the sudden death victory.

Statistically, the Nittany Lions and the Irish were nearly even across the board. Each team won five face-offs, the two goalies made the same number of saves and Penn State only took one more shot than Notre Dame’s 32 for an evenly played contest throughout.

The Irish did not suffer from a lack of effort or a lack of preparation. It all came down to execution, Corrigan said.

“Offensively, we played well this week in practice,” Corrigan said. “We just simply did not play well today, when it counts. We’ve got the ability to make those plays, we didn’t make them today, and we paid by getting beat.”

The Irish defense, anchored by Kemp, only surrendered three goals in regulation. That amount of effort is usually enough for the win, but on Sunday would not cut it.

“The defense played very well,” Corrigan said. “They played well enough for us to win. We just didn’t play well enough offensively to win.”

Kemp eclipsed his previous record of saves per game with 18 against Penn State. He set the initial record in Notre Dame’s first contest of the season against Duke on Feb. 18. Kemp allowed only three goals and made a then career-high 14 saves against the Blue Devils.

“John’s the best goalie in the country,” Corrigan said. “He deserves better than what we did for him today.”

The Irish will return to action against Drexel on Saturday at 1 p.m. in at the Dragon’s Vidas Field in Philadelphia, Penn.

 

Contact Matthew Robison at

mrobison@nd.edu