No. 2 Notre Dame Erases Deficit, Then Downs No. 9 UNC in 3OT

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman attackman Matt Kavanagh scored just 15 seconds into the third overtime period to give the No. 2 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team a 10-9 victory over No. 9 North Carolina on Saturday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium. The game was the home opener for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame (3-0) scored the final four goals of the contest, including two in the final minute of regulation. Kavanagh netted three goals during that stretch and assisted on the other. He finished the game with four goals and two assists.

This was the second straight game that Kavanagh delivered the overtime game winner. He also scored the deciding goal in Sunday's 10-9 victory at Penn State. The rookie leads the Irish in goals (9) and points (12) this season.

“We put ourselves in a tough spot again by being down by two in the fourth quarter, but you have to give our guys a ton of credit for how they keep coming back in those situations,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We made one more play than they did and I feel a little bit like I did last week (against Penn State). I know we can play better, but we're making plays right now.”

The Fighting Irish grabbed an early 2-0 lead as sophomores Jack Near and Conor Doyle scored just eight seconds apart. Sean Rogers assisted on Near's goal, while Liam O'Connor fed Doyle for his score. A tally from North Carolina's Joey Sankey sliced the Irish lead to one midway through the first quarter.

Notre Dame midfielder Will Corrigan scored off a Kavanagh pass on a two-man advantage to make it 3-1 with 1:49 left in the first quarter. North Carolina's Marcus Holman responded less than a minute later to make a 3-2 by the end of the first period.

North Carolina (2-2) claimed its first lead of the game (4-3) after Steve Pontrello and Holman netted consecutive goals during the early stages of the second quarter. Irish midfielder Jim Marlatt knotted the game (4-4) with 6:47 remaining in the first half. Kavanagh's first goal of the game occurred with 51 seconds left in the half to give the Fighting Irish a 5-4 lead at the intermission.

The Tar Heels scored the first four goals of the second half to grab a three-goal advantage (8-5) by the 2:10 mark of the third period. Pontrello, Jimmy Bitter, Sankey and Pat Foster produced the goals during that surge. Irish attackman Sean Rogers halted the run as he took a pass from Doyle and scored on a diving shot with 36 seconds left in the quarter.

North Carolina regained a three-goal advantage (9-6) with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter on a goal from Spencer Parks.

When all the momentum appeared to be on the side of the Tar Heels, Kavanagh picked off a pass from North Carolina goalie Kieran Burke at midfield and ran down and scored to make it 9-7 midway through the fourth quarter. Rogers cut the Tar Heel lead to one (9-8) on a man-up goal with 57 seconds left in regulation. Kavanagh assisted on the Rogers goal and then tied the game, 9-9, with 11 seconds left when he scored off a feed from Doyle.

The Tar Heels won the faceoff to begin the third overtime, but Marlatt immediately forced a turnover, picked up a ground ball and dished to Kavanagh for the game winner.

“You leave the field with a big smile on your face after a game like today, but hopefully we can get back to understand who we are and be a little bit more effective so we don't have to go to overtime every week,” Corrigan said. “It says a lot about our guys the way they've battled back in the last two fourth quarters and overtime.”

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2013-03-02



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