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Notre Dame's Pat Kavanagh celebrates

Notre Dame Rallies in Second Half to Beat UAlbany

May 12, 2024
Brian Logue
Matt Cashore

A Notre Dame team looking to make history – becoming the first team to win the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship in consecutive calendar years since Duke a decade ago – was looking down the barrel of the wrong side of history halfway through its opening round game against UAlbany.

No top-seeded team has ever lost in the first round of the NCAA men’s tournament, but UAlbany led No. 1 Notre Dame 5-4 at the half before the Irish rallied in the second half for a 14-9 victory.

The Irish jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, but UAlbany took advantage of a three-minute targeting penalty on Notre Dame’s Carter Parlette following a goal by UAlbany’s Parker Emmett midway through the second quarter.

The Great Danes were able to cash in twice during the extended penalty with Amos Whitcomb and Ryan Doherty scoring to tie the game 4-4.

UAlbany was entirely comfortable on the big stage as evidenced by Silas Richmond hitting Doherty on a behind-the-back pass that Doherty scored with just seven seconds left in the half to give the Great Danes a 5-4 lead.

The Irish almost tied it right back up, but Chris Kavanagh’s outside rip from the left wing came just after the halftime buzzer and was wiped off the scoreboard following a video review to keep the Great Danes in front.

“They’re a a great team,” said Notre Dame midfielder Devon McLane on a postgame interview on ESPNU. “They came out with a lot of energy, and we had some trouble matching that in the opening 30. [We] went into the locker room, went back to our fundamentals – consistency, and were able to have a strong second half and do what we do well.”

Notre Dame forced a shot clock violation on UAlbany to open the second half and then after an initial save by UAlbany freshman goalie Landon Whitney, the Great Danes were unable to clear the ball and Kavanagh took advantage of the extra possession to tie the game.

That was all the momentum the Irish needed. Max Busenkell wrapped around the crease and scored just 47 seconds later and McLane stretched the lead to 7-5 after taking the ball at midfield, running past the defense and then cutting to the middle of the field for the goal.

Pat Kavanagh closed the four-goal run with 6:57 left in the third quarter to give Notre Dame an 8-5 lead.

UAlbany’s Graydon Hogg stopped the run just 50 seconds later to keep the Great Danes close, but Notre Dame answered with three more and brought the victory home.

Jordan Faison
Matt Cashore
Notre Dame celebrates
Matt Cashore
UAlbany celebrates
Matt Cashore
Liam Entenmann
Matt Cashore
Notre Dame crowd
Matt Cashore
Pat Kavanagh shot
Matt Cashore
UAlbany shot
Matt Cashore
Jake Piseno closes out on defense
Matt Cashore

Notre Dame’s lethal finishers – McLane and Jake Taylor – finished with four and three goals, respectively while the Kavanagh brothers did their damage setting things up. Chris Kavanagh had a goal and four assists while Pat Kavanagh had three goals and two assists.

Will Lynch won 17 of 25 faceoffs for Notre Dame while All-American goalie Liam Entenmann made just six saves, but all of them came in the first half to prevent the Great Danes from stretching out any kind of lead.

The Great Danes, playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018, finished the season 10-8. Doherty, a freshman, led UAlbany with three goals and Richmond had a goal and two assists.

Notre Dame improved to 13-1 and has not lost since an 11-10 overtime setback to Georgetown on February 25. Since then, the Irish have won 11 in a row. They’ll get a chance to avenge that loss when they face the Hoyas in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday.

“We’ll get to face the team that beat us earlier in February, but that doesn’t change our mindset, that doesn’t change anything,” McLane said. “We’re all about this team, all about each other and going from there.”