May 1, 2009

Men's Lacrosse Falls To Top-Seeded Notre Dame, 7-4, In GWLL Semifinals

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Kevin Kelly (Redding, Conn.) scored twice and Kevin Benzing (Severna Park, Md.) made 14 saves, but the fourth-seeded Quinnipiac University men's lacrosse team fell to top-seeded and nationally-ranked No. 2 Notre Dame, 7-4, in the Great Western Lacrosse League Tournament Semifinals. With the loss, the Bobcats conclude their season at 4-9, while the Irish remains the lone undefeated team in the nation at 14-0. Notre Dame now advances to the GWLL Championship, to be played Sunday at noon against the winner of tonight's other semifinal game between Air Force and Ohio State.

In addition to Kelly's two markers, Jack Oppenheimer (Conshohocken, Pa.) and Ted Dimond (Marblehead, Mass.) also found the back of the net. Alex DeAlmeida (Pt. Pleasant, N.J.) and Gary Messina (West Islip, N.Y.) had one assist apiece.

Neal Hicks led the Irish with three goals, while Grant Krebs added two. Duncan Swezey and Nicholas Beattie had one goal each. Swezey had two assists, while Beattie, Peter Christman and Jake Marmul had one each.

2009 GWLL Player of the Year Scott Rodgers made 13 saves for the Irish to earn the win, while Benzing took the loss.

Kelly got the scoring started, taking a perfect DeAlmeida pass in front of the net before putting away the easy score at the 7:57 mark. Notre Dame responded a minute and a half later as Hicks took a Christman pass and ripped a shot past Benzing from the left side to tie the score at 1-1.

With just 14 seconds left in the first quarter, Notre Dame took its first lead of the game, 2-1, as Beattie found Krebs in front for the easy one-on-one score. The first quarter was dominated by strong goalie play, as Benzing made five stops and Rodgers made four.

The Irish extended to a 3-1 lead when Nicholas Beattie went in uncontested from behind the net and his defender lost control of his stick while contending Beattie. Beattie easily beat Benzing on the one-on-one opportunity at the 11:10 mark of the second quarter.

Swezey put the Irish up 4-1 at the 6:54 mark of the second, somehow eluding two Quinnipiac defenders before scoring despite being cross checked. Immediately following the Swezey goal and a Quinnipiac timeout, Notre Dame's Marmul won the face-off, streaked downfield and found Hicks on the right side. Hicks ripped a shot from 15 yards out, beating Benzing to push the Irish lead to 5-1.

Notre Dame opened the second-half scoring just over a minute into the third quarter as Swezey found Krebs, who ripped a shot past Benzing from 15 yards out on the right side.

The Bobcats stopped the 6-0 Notre Dame run as Kelly scored his second goal of the game at the 11:34 mark of the third quarter. The Bobcats swung the ball around the perimeter before Messina found Kelly 15 yards out on the right side, where Kelly ripped a shot past Rodgers.

Hicks made the score 7-2 off an assist from Swezey at the 12:22 mark of the fourth, before Quinnipiac closed the game with the final two goals. Oppenheimer squeezed through two defenders before scoring while falling to the ground at the 12:07 mark. Dimond also scored an acrobatic goal at the 6:11 mark to close the scoring.