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Spreading The Love: Unselfish No. 1 Irish Hammer UVA In ACC Men's Lacrosse Semifinals, 18-9

Written by Peter Jay Mulroy ⏐ Writer ⏐ Instagram: @sportstodaywithpeterjay

Photo by University of Notre Dame Athletics

Looking to capture its third ACC title in 10 years -- and first since 2018 -- Notre Dame opened the 2024 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship with a semifinal bout against the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday night in Charlotte, North Carolina.


The Irish, who came from behind to take down UVA, 11-9, in Charlottesville last Saturday, entered the tournament as the top seed, while the Cavaliers -- losers of three straight to end the regular season -- earned entry as the four seed. And while last week’s game between the ACC powers was certainly one of the better contests of the 2024 lacrosse season, Friday’s contest was controlled by the defending national champions right from the opening faceoff.


Notre Dame jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead thanks to Will Angrick’s fifth goal of the season just over 90 seconds into the game. The score by Angrick, who remains an essential piece to the overall success of ND’s midfield unit, set the tone for what would be a dominant opening 15 minutes of action for the Irish.

Consecutive goals by Jordan Faison (22nd of the season), Jake Taylor (man-up, 32nd of season), and stellar faceoff/midfielder Will Lynch (3rd), provided the Irish -- the nation’s second-ranked scoring team at 15.82 goals per game -- with a cushion they would not come close to relinquishing. The white and gold scored six of the game’s first seven goals, propelling them into the second quarter with a 6-1 lead.


On a night where the Cavaliers simply could not find any rhythm on both ends of the field, particularly as it related to slowing Irish players away from the ball, the Irish proved once again why they are the team most worthy of carrying the top overall seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, regardless of what happens in the ACC’s.


Continuing to show they can win games in a variety of ways, the Irish kept their foot on the gas for the remainder of the first half. Scores by Chris Kavanagh, Devon McLane -- who recorded four goals on the night -- and a second by Angrick propelled ND into the locker room with a 10-3 lead at the break.

It was more of the same in the second half as Virginia, who has been led by the star duo of Payton Cormier (three goals in the game) and Connor Shellenberger (zero goals on seven shot attempts), was never able to find its offensive rhythm as Notre Dame’s defense, led by back-to-back ACC Goalie of the Year Liam Entenmann, were simply too much.


Padding the defensive effort was the unselfish style of the Irish offense. With a whopping 14 different goals scorers on the night, including the four aforementioned goals by McClane and two from Angrick, Kevin Corrigan’s group showcased the type of style that has allowed this squad to enter the ACC final riding a nine-game winning streak.


“We handled the ball cleanly,” ACC Coach of the Year Kevin Corrigan postgame on the ACC Network. “We didn’t let their (UVA’s) desire to cause chaos get to us. We kept the poise and our guys made plays.”

The 18-9 victory over Virginia for Corrigan’s crew was the second over the Cavaliers in six days and their third straight in the series.


What’s Next for the Irish?


Notre Dame will battle either second-seeded Syracuse or third-seeded Duke in the championship game of the ACC Tournament on Sunday, May 5. The game is slated for a Noon start and will be carried by the ACC Network.


Notre Dame Player Spotlight


To the surprise of no one, the Irish cleaned up in the voting for the ACC Men’s Lacrosse Awards earlier in the week.


Goalie Liam Entenmann was tabbed as a repeat winner of the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award, while Pat Kavanagh -- who became Notre Dame’s all-time points leader last week -- was voted ACC Offensive POY.


As mentioned above, Kevin Corrigan was named ACC Coach of the Year. A total of seven Irish players were also named to the All-ACC Men’s Lacrosse Team:


MF Eric Dobson, LSM Will Donovan, G Liam Entenmann, A Chris Kavanagh, A Pat Kavanagh, FO/M Will Lynch, and SSDM Ben Ramsey.


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