May 17, 2014

Furious Rally; Kavanagh Winner Lifts Irish Past Albany in OT

by Joe Pantorno | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | May Madness Home

In-Game Blog Replay

 

Matt Kavanagh is mobbed by teammates after scoring the game-winning goal that sent Notre Dame to the NCAA semifinals with an 14-13 win over Albany. (Lee Weissman)

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Trailing 12-7 with nine minutes left in the game against one of the best offensive teams in the nation, led by one of the greatest attack trios in NCAA history, Notre Dame was in trouble.

But according to head coach Kevin Corrigan, you would not have known that in the team huddle. Scoring with 8:11 left in the game to end a 12-3 Albany run, Notre Dame unleashed a 7-1 counter-punch with sophomore attack Matt Kavanagh capping the comeback, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to send the Irish to the Final Four, 14-13.

"You didn't sense any quit, you didn't sense anybody hanging their head, they were just focused on making plays," Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said. "We just took it one at a time and I have to give all of the credit in the world to my guys."

Notre Dame started the game very much the same as Maryland did on Saturday, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first eight minutes behind two goals from Kavanagh. But where Bryant failed, Albany succeeded, monopolizing possession and using the three-headed Thompson attack of Miles, Lyle and Ty. The Thompsons combined for 12 points on Albany's first 10 goals and the Great Danes were just minutes away from the first Final Four appearance in program history.

Kavanagh was being shut down, almost invisible since his first quarter spurt. As Albany looked to finish off the Irish, holding them scoreless 14 minutes between the third and fourth quarters, midfielder Nick Ossello broke the drought and sparked the run.

In 1:51, Notre Dame scored four times to get within a goal, and after Ryan Feurestein gave Albany a two-goal cushion with 5:44 left in the game, Westy Hopkins and Sergio Perkovic scored, the latter with 3:02 remaining to tie the game at 13.

After winning the face-off, the ball was right where Albany wanted, in the hands of the Thompsons, but a shot by Ty with three seconds left caromed off the mask of Notre Dame goalie Conor Kelly to ensure extra time.

"It was tiring," said Notre Dame defender Stephen O'Hara. "I remember looking up at the clock with three minutes left and not looking up again until the buzzer went off. But I have to give credit to the guys behind me and Conor Kelly for that big save."

Gaining possession in overtime, Notre Dame nearly threw the ball back into Albany's hands when a pass towards Kavanagh went awry only for the sophomore to make a diving stop to keep possession. Working his way around the net and in front, 10-yards out, he drew a pair of defenders in and waited for space.

"You want to talk about a huge play?" Corrgian asked. "He makes a phenomenal play not only to keep it in bounds, but to keep possession."

The moment Albany's defenders backed off, Kavanagh pounced, sending a low liner through goalie Blaze Riorden and a dagger through the hearts of Great Danes fans.

"It was awesome," Kavanagh, a Long Island native said. "Especially here at Hofstra, I only live 10 minutes away, it was incredible."

The losing effort did see historic feats achieved from the Thompsons as Miles' three goals tied Yale's Jon Reese's single-season scoring record of 82 in 1990. His brother, Lyle, who had three assists to go with three goals, tied UMBC's Steve Marohl's mark of 77 helpers in a season.

"It's not about the numbers, yet," Miles said. It is the last time the Thompson trio will play together in college as Ty and Miles have finished their senior seasons.

"I just think you can take this loss in two ways. Either hang your head or look back and think positive," Lyle said. "I know I gave it my all and played my best. We all did. Playing with Miles and Ty...we went out there and did our best. We just have to accept the outcome."

Notre Dame will be making its third appearance in the Final Four, but its first since 2010 when it lost to Duke in overtime of the national championship game.

"I was on the wrong side of an overtime game in 2010," Corrigan said. "It took us until the fourth quarter to find what was going to give them problems...I'm glad we got past that."


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