ND bests Duke, looks to Virginia rematch in ACC Championship game
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, May 1, 2019
This past weekend, No. 8 Notre Dame earned its revenge over No. 7 Duke with a 12-10 win in the ACC semifinals that helped the Irish (8-5, 2-2 ACC) book their third-straight trip to the ACC championship game this coming Saturday — a rematch of last year’s title with No. 4 Virginia.
In the championship game last year, the Irish found success, posting a 10 goal, 17-7 win over the Cavaliers. In the game, the Irish had quick offense and stifling defense, picking up 45 ground balls — with each starter scooping at least one — and forcing an astounding 11 turnovers.
Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan returned to Matt Schmidt in goal for the Irish, and the sophomore did not disappoint with a career-high 18 saves to stifle a Duke attack that scored 14 on the Irish in early April.
At the front end, Notre Dame’s attack jumped out to a 4-1 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back, spreading the wealth with six different goal-scorers. But it was Bryan Costabile’s day, as the junior midfielder opened the scoring with two goals in the first quarter to set the tone for the Irish. Even after Duke (11-4, 2-2 ACC) cut Notre Dame’s lead to 4-3 with 10:33 left in the half, the Irish stopped the run with a big save from Schmidt, and went on a 4-1 run to head into halftime up 8-4.
Irish faceoff man and All-ACC selection Charlie Leonard dominated the possession battle with 17 of 26 faceoffs won on the day, and the junior also added a solo goal in the third quarter to give Notre Dame a 10-5 lead.
But a 5-1 run by the Blue Devils over the final two quarters made things interesting with two minutes left. After the Irish missed a sitter, Duke had a chance to tie with just over a minute left. But with a man up, the Irish turned on the heavy pressure, and Costabile forced a bad pass by Duke goalie Turner Upgren that was intercepted at midfield. Junior defenseman Jack Kielty returned the favor to Costabile, and the junior slotted home an empty netter for his fifth of the game to seal the win.
Notre Dame now faces Virginia (12-3, 3-1 ACC) in a rematch of last year’s conference championship, which the Irish dominated in a 17-7 win. All time, the Irish lead the matchup with seven wins to three, but the Cavaliers won the regular-season matchup between the two teams with a 13-11 win. The Irish had seven players score in the game, but Costabile was held to only one goal, while the Irish let Virgina’s star attackman Ian Laviano rack up five goals, a career-high for the sophomore.
The Irish will look to defend their ACC crown on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday afternoon. The game is set for 2 p.m.