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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish prevail in OT thriller

Sam Gans | Monday, February 25, 2013

No. 3 Notre Dame overcame a late deficit and recovered after allowing the tying goal with one second remaining in the fourth quarter to defeat No. 8 Penn State, 10-9, in overtime at Holuba Hall in University Park, Pa., on Sunday.

Freshman attack Matt Kavanagh scored the game-winning goal for the Irish (2-0) with 1:34 remaining in the first overtime. Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said the game-winning goal was the result of strong efforts from numerous Notre Dame players, but he also praised the skill of the first-year attack. The goal was Kavanagh’s fifth through his first two collegiate games, as he scored four times in a 13-5 season-opening win at Duke on Feb. 16.

“When Matt Kavanagh gets opportunities, he’s going to make plays. … He’s a tough, competitive kid who hung in there when we needed him,” Corrigan said.

Notre Dame trailed 7-5 early in the fourth quarter before it tied the game at seven apiece after junior midfielder Liam O’Connor scored with 9:28 left in regulation. The Nittany Lions (2-1) took the lead again shortly afterwards when junior midfielder Tom LaCrosse scored with 6:24 remaining.

The Irish rebounded to tie the game once more when sophomore attack Conor Doyle scored his third goal of the game with 24 seconds left, and O’Connor won the following faceoff and scored six seconds later to give the Irish a one-goal lead with 18 seconds to play. But LaCrosse scored his third goal of the game with just one tick left on the clock to force the extra session.

Corrigan said he was pleased to win the game but said the Irish need to improve in many areas.

“We had talked before the game that you need to play well, and you need to make plays,” Corrigan said. “And I thought on the day as a whole, we made plays, but we didn’t play well. Because we didn’t play well, we dug ourselves a couple holes. We dug our way out and then let them get back in it again with less than a second to go in the game.

“So we know we’ve got some things to work on, but very proud of the way the guys kept their poise and played hard and made plays when we had to make them.”

The contest marked the second year in a row Notre Dame and Penn State went to overtime, as the Nittany Lions won 4-3 last season, but Corrigan said he thought the results were coincidental.

“One year to the next is a whole different thing,” Corrigan said. “That was a different team and a different year, so I don’t think there’s any carry over that way.”

Despite rough stretches of play, Corrigan said he was happy to get a road win against a top-10 opponent he sees as very similar to his own.

“I think [the Nittany Lions] are a very good team and they’re smart and they really kind of make you go through your paces,” Corrigan said. “And I think in a lot of ways they’re a lot like we are.”

The Irish are next in action when they compete in their home opener against No. 9 North Carolina on Saturday at noon.

Contact Sam Gans at [email protected]