Notre Dame vs. Syracuse
April 28, 2012
The Game Story:
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The No. 3 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team wrapped up the outright BIG EAST regular-season title with an 8-6 win over No. 17 Syracuse on Saturday evening in front of a capacity crowd of 4,522 at Arlotta Stadium. It was the regular-season finale for both the Irish and the Orange.

Notre Dame (11-1, 6-0) scored the game's first four goals and held Syracuse scoreless for the opening 37:53 of the contest and never trailed en route to its 10th straight victory. Junior goalie John Kemp, a Tewaaraton Trophy nominee, made 11 saves for the Fighting Irish.

Junior midfielder Ryan Foley produced two goals and one assist on the day for the Irish, while senior attackman Sean Rogers had one goal and two assists. Notre Dame had seven different goal-scorers in the game.

Sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt put the Irish on the board less than two minutes into the contest when he deposited a pass from Max Pfeifer. Notre Dame went up 2-0 at the 4:31 mark of the first quarter on a Westy Hopkins goal. Foley's first goal came with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter to push the Irish lead to three.

Junior midfielder Pat Cotter made it 4-0 in favor of the hosts with 8:18 showing in the first half. Hopkins collected the assist on the play. Notre Dame led by that margin at halftime.

"I was glad to see our guys come out aggressively," said Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan. "We knew they (Syracuse) were going to come after us. They need a win and at this point we're a good win. I felt getting that first goal helped everybody relax."

Syracuse (7-7, 3-3) finally cracked the scoring column with 7:07 left in the third quarter on a tally from Tim Desko. A Joe Moore goal put the Orange back to within two (4-2) with 4:51 remaining in the third period.

Notre Dame's Steve Murphy pushed the Irish lead back to three (5-2) as he scored off a pass from Rogers at the 3:16 mark of the third quarter. Syracuse crept back to within two on a JoJo Marasco goal with 33 seconds left in the quarter, but Foley responded as he found the back of the net with less than one second remaining to give the Fighting Irish a 6-3 advantage after three periods of play. Conor Doyle assisted on the score.

A goal from Marasco in the first minute of the final quarter made it a two-goal affair (6-4) once again. After Rogers put Notre Dame up 7-4, a tally from Desko and a man-up score from Bobby Eilers made it a one-goal contest (7-6) with 7:43 left in the game.

Notre Dame freshman Will Corrigan answered back just 33 seconds after the Eilers score to give the Irish the 8-6 lead that they would hold onto for the rest of the game. Tyler Brenneman had the assist on the play.

Both teams had 17 shots on goal. Orange goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell made nine saves. Syracuse held a slim 9-8 edge in faceoffs.

"John Kemp was terrific today," added Corrigan. "He's the best goalie in the country and he may be the best player in the country."

This was Notre Dame's first-ever victory over Syracuse. The Irish had been 0-5 versus the Orange. This also is Notre Dame's first-ever BIG EAST regular-season title. The league is in its third season of sponsoring men's lacrosse.

Top-seeded Notre Dame will face No. 4 seed St. John's on Thursday in the semifinals of the inaugural BIG EAST Championship. Faceoff is slated for 4:30 p.m. (ET) at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pa. The game will be aired on ESPNU/ESPN3. Villanova and Syracuse will square off in the other semifinal. The title game is scheduled for noon on Saturday.