Notre Dame begins quest for first NCAA lacrosse title

Posted: May 27, 2012

Seeking its first NCAA Division I men's lacrosse title, fourth-seeded Notre Dame takes on top-seeded Loyola (Md.) at 2:30 p.m. in the first semifinal game Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The second semifinal game, at 5 p.m., is third-seeded Duke against unseeded Maryland. That will be the rubber match in the teams' season series and a Final Four rematch. Last May, Maryland won, 9-4.

The 2012 championship game is Monday at 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.

Notre Dame features five local players: attacker Westy Hopkins (La Salle High), defender Stephen O'Hara (St. Joseph's Prep), defender Tyler Andersen (Radnor), midfielder Liam O'Connor (Haverford School), and backup goalie Conor Kelly (Haverford School).

Over the last five years, Notre Dame is the only team in the NCAA to finish in the top five nationally in scoring defense each season. Notre Dame ranks No. 1 nationally this season, allowing just 6.27 goals per game. The school record from 2009 is 6.19.

"It's never about your matchup," Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said of his defensive success. "We never talk about how many goals somebody had for [the opponent] because we don't want somebody to feel their responsibility is to shut down a guy.

"Our job, as a team, is to stop their team collectively from scoring."

Loyola advanced to the semifinals for the third time in program history and the first time since 1998. It is led by goalie Jack Runkel. Midfielder Chris Layne (Malvern Prep) and defender Alex Klincewicz (Lower Merion) are on the Loyola roster.

Duke's team features seven local players: goalie Dan Wigrizer (Haverford School), attack Jordan Wolf (Lower Merion), defender Henry Lobb (Malvern Prep), midfielder Tanner Scott (Conestoga), attack Will Haus (Palmyra), longstick Brian Dailey (Conestoga), and defender Bill Conners (Malvern Prep).

"I can't wait to play Maryland," Wigrizer said after Sunday's victory over Colgate in the quarterfinals. "That's the one opponent I wished we saw in the Final Four."

It will be the 21st Final Four appearance for the Terrapins, who lost to Virginia in the national championship game last season.

Attack Owen Blye (Downingtown East), attack Kevin Forster (La Salle), defender Casey Ikeda (Conestoga), goalie Niko Amato (La Salle), and longstick Goran Murray (Haverford School) are on the Maryland roster.

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