By Anthony Caruso
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/24/15
Notre Dame sophomore face-off specialist PJ Finley was thrilled to play at home in today’s NCAA Division I semifinals – but the outcome didn’t turnout the way he expected.
Finley, a Malvern Prep grad who prepped a year at Lawrenceville School, saw his Fighting Irish make a valiant comeback before bowing to Denver, 12-11, in overtime. He onnly two of his eight face-offs, but he relished the chance to play before family and friends.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling playing where the Eagles play,” he said. “I knew that the Final Four would be here all year and I always pictured winning it here. It didn’t go our way.”
One of the key factors in this game was face-offs, as Denver’s Trevor Baptiste won 15 of 24. Nick Ossello took most of the draws for the Irish, winning seven of 16.
The Pioneers won six face offs in the fourth quarter, but the Irish had six goals. Notre Dame had five in the quarter, as well.
With just seconds left, Ossello scored to tie the game after three straight by Sergio Perkovic as Notre Dame fought back from a five-goal deficit. Perkovic had five goals in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a star and everyone knows it,” Finley said of Perkovic. “Everyone saw it last year in the National Championships.
“I’m certainly not surprised by it. It was an exciting game, and it was fun being a part of it. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on the right side. I believed from the first second of the season until whoever scored the game-winner that we were going to win the National Championship.”
Berg also scored the game-winning goal in overtime at 2:03. The goal sent the Pioneers into their first National Championship game appearance against the Maryland Terrapins.
Denver outscored Notre Dame 2-1 in the second and third quarters. Both teams had two goals each in the first quarter.
Also for the irish, Malvern Prep alum Jack Sheridan (defenseman) saw some time off the bench but Conestoga alum Adam Goins (midfielder), and Haverford School alum Conor Kelly (goalie) did not play.
“These are the best years of my life,” Finley added. “I’ve always wanted to come to Notre Dame. It was my dream to come here.
“The guys in the locker room makes this special. The character of the guys on the team are unbelievable. Everyone works for each other. and loves one another. It’s an amazing culture.”
Tags: Malvern Prep