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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

13, 50, 51, 20240225, Arlottta Stadium, Chris Kavanagh, Georgetown, Jake Taylor, Meghan Lange, Men's Lacrosse, Pat Kavanagh-2.jpg

Kavanagh brothers shine as Irish return to Final Four

Pat and Chris Kavanagh combine for 12 points in Long Island homecoming

Notre Dame left no doubt against Georgetown this time around.

The top-seeded Irish men’s lacrosse stormed past the eighth-seeded Hoyas by a 16-11 score in Saturday afternoon’s NCAA Tournament quarterfinal, avenging their only loss of the season. In the process, Notre Dame extended its win streak to 12 games and punched its ticket to Philadelphia’s Final Four for the second consecutive year.

Saturday’s game, played on Long Island at Hofstra University, undeniably belonged to the Long Island-bred Kavanagh brothers. Graduate student Pat Kavanagh and junior Chris Kavanagh, who combined for only four points in Notre Dame’s Feb. 25 loss to Georgetown, totaled 12 of the 24 Irish points on Saturday. The prolific attacking duo also combined to produce eight goals for the second time this season.

Chris Kavanagh, who became the third Kavanagh to eclipse 100 career goals on Saturday, led the Irish with five goals and three assists. His production began in the opening minute with an assist to graduate midfielder Devon McLane, who careened the game’s first goal off both posts and in.

Halfway through the first quarter, just 53 seconds after graduate midfielder Reilly Gray found his 12th goal of the season, Notre Dame hit the highlight reel again to go up 3-0. This time, it was graduate attacker Jake Taylor using a one-handed pass to break a double team and find Chris Kavanagh alone at the top of the crease. Chris Kavanagh waited out Georgetown goalie Anderson Moore before sticking his 32nd goal of the year. Jack Schubert would introduce the Hoyas to the scoreboard three minutes later, but the Irish lead held at 3-1 through 15 minutes of play.

Early in the second quarter, the Kavanagh brothers teamed up to score a goal for the first time. Pat Kavanagh caused a turnover by Georgetown right in front of the goal and scooped up the ball behind the cage. From there, he surveyed his options and found a breaking Chris Kavanagh at the right post for a sharp-angled goal.

Georgetown would again answer back with 5 minutes and 49 seconds to play in the first half, as Aidan Carroll’s 37th goal of the year made it a 4-2 game. But the Irish found a new gear in the moments before halftime, beginning with Chris Kavanagh’s hat-trick goal. Two minutes later, Chris joined the scoresheet again, assisting on a lefty rocker from senior midfielder Eric Dobson. Then, with seven seconds remaining, Pat Kavanagh marched in from the goal line extended to score his first goal of the day and cap off a clinic of Irish lacrosse.

Through a half-hour of play, Notre Dame led Georgetown by a 7-2 score.

The Hoyas, however, showed signs of life coming out of the break. Alexander Vardaro and Chase Llewellyn bookended Pat Kavanagh’s second tally of the day with goals of their own, trimming the Irish lead to 8-4.

But Pat Kavanagh, on the hunt for a homecoming hat trick of his own, punctuated the Georgetown rally with a question mark. Firing over his right shoulder, he bounced his third goal of the game into the back of the net. Freshman midfielder Jordan Faison followed up with his 20th tally of the year just 87 seconds later. Finally, in the third quarter’s closing minute, Chris Kavanagh’s masterful individual effort put the Irish ahead 11-4. On the way to his fourth foal of the game, he survived a check before slashing to the middle and finishing on a backhanded shovel move.

Minutes into the fourth quarter, Chris Kavanagh would score again and etch his name into the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse record books. With his fifth goal of the game, he tied the program record for goals in an NCAA Tournament game. Later on, he would break the Irish record for points in an NCAA Tournament game while assisting on McLane’s second goal of the game.

Otherwise, a few unlikely scorers found the back of the net down the stretch for Notre Dame. With Georgetown’s 10-man ride leaving the cage unprotected, graduate defender Marco Napolitano let it rip from beyond midfield, scoring his first career goal. Graduate goalie Liam Entenmann, who made eight saves on the day, recorded his first assist of the season on the play.

Six seconds later, junior faceoff specialist Will Lynch scored for just the fourth time all season. He once again dominated at the X, winning 21 of his 26 faceoffs. With the help of Lynch, Notre Dame captured faceoffs at a 66% success rate or better in all four quarters, winning 10 to close the game out in the fourth. Before the Irish shut the door, graduate attacker Fulton Bayman got involved with his fourth goal of the season.

After four more minutes passed and Georgetown scored thrice in garbage time, the game went final. Notre Dame was Philly-bound once again.

Looking ahead to the semifinals May 25 at Lincoln Financial Field, Notre Dame will face either No. 4 Syracuse or No. 5 Denver. Syracuse gave the Irish a tight game in South Bend on March 30, but Notre Dame prevailed by a score of 14-12.