Phillylacrosse.com, Posted, Posted 4/25/14
From Press Releases and Staff Report
Maryland senior goalie Niko Amato said it will be an ideal setting to play for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship tonight when his Terrapins meet Notre Dame in the ACC semifinals at 7:30 p.m. at PPL Park.
“We’re super excited down here,” said Amato, a La Salle graduate. “There’s two starting defensemen – Goran (Murray) and Casey Ikeda – (Matt) Rambo, (Kevin) Forster (La Salle grad), and some other Conestoga kids on our team,” he said. “We’re excited to be going home, and even more to be playing a great opponent like Notre Dame.”
The No. 7 Maryland men’s lacrosse team is the No. 1 seed heading into the ACC Men’s Lacrosse Tournament and will take on the No. 4 seed Iris in the second game of the semifinal doubleheader.
The first semifinal game features No. 2 seed Duke battling No. 3 seed Syracuse at 5 p.m. The winners of the two games will meet in the finals on Sunday, April 27, at 1 p.m.
Amato is joined in the starting lineup by fellow All-ACC defenseman Murray (Haverford School), defenseman Ikeda (Conestoga) and attackman Rambo (La Salle).
Although all four semifinalists and perhaps all six teams in the league are expected to make the NCAA tourney, Amato said that winning the ACC title is a major goal.
“It’s extremely important,” he said. “In August we set a team goal of becoming conference champions. A lot of people are talking like the ACC is the best conference ever assembled and it’s an honor to be a part of that. We are fortunate to have the opportunity and we want to take a step in the right direction.”
Maryland just defeated Notre Dame, 12-8, six days ago.
“We understand that Notre Dame is hungry and a desperate animal and we have to raise our intensity,” Amato said.
Amato admitted it’s fun knowing there is a great Philly spirit among the players and fans for the homecoming.
“It’s a lot of fun, especially with the Philly guys since we are familiar with each other,” he said. “The Philly guys are close and it makes for some interesting locker room talk. There are arguments about who had the best high school teams. We are all competitive guys and this bring out the best in each other.”
• The semifinals and finals of the ACC tournament will be broadcast live on ESPNU and streamed on the WatchESPN app. The Saturday night ACC Showcase game between North Carolina and Virginia will be streamed exclusively on ESPN3.com. Eamon McAnaney will handle the play-by-play call, Quint Kessenich will provide the expert analysis and Paul Carcaterra will report from the sideline.
Senior goaltender Niko Amato (La Salle) has started every game of his college career (62 straight) and boasts a 7.38 goals-against average (5th in the NCAA) with a .571 save percentage (9th in the NCAA) this season.
• Maryland claimed its 31st ACC Regular Season title with its 12-8 win at then-No. 8 Notre Dame on Saturday, April 19. Senior Mike Chanenchuk and freshman Connor Cannizzaro paced the Terrapin offense with three goals and one assist apiece, while junior faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa controlled possession by winning 20-of-24 faceoffs with a game-high nine groundballs.
Chanenchuk continues to lead the team this season with 44 points on 28 goals and 16 assists. He is followed by freshman Matt Rambo, who has 28 points on 23 goals and five assists. Raffa has won 132-of-199 (.663) faceoffs this season, which ranks third in the nation, with a team-best 83 groundballs. Senior Michael Ehrhardt has made a seamless transition to the long-stick midfield spot and has 45 groundballs, which leads all non-faceoff men, and a team-best 22 caused turnovers to go along with two goals and an assist.
• Notre Dame is 6-5 on the season following the loss to the Terps last Saturday. Sophomore attackman Matt Kavanaugh leads the Irish offense with 46 points on 23 goals and 23 assists. Junior Conor Kelly started vs. the Terps, replacing freshman Shane Doss, who had started the previous seven games in net for ND. Kelly has a 10.63 goals-against average and is saving 45.8 percent of the shots opponents have put on goal, while Doss checks in with an 8.53 goals-against average and a 47.9 save percentage. Senior faceoff specialist Liam O’Connor ranks 11th in the NCAA in faceoff win percentage with .616 on 141-of-229. He is also 12th in the nation in groundballs per game with 7.91 (87 total).
The first step is Friday’s semifinal showdown with No. 5 Maryland, who topped the Fighting Irish 12-8 on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium. The Terrapins (10-2, 4-1 ACC) are the tournament’s top seed, while the Irish (6-5, 2-3 ACC) are seeded fourth. Second-ranked Duke and No. 4 Syracuse are seeded second and third, respectively, and will meet in Friday’s first semifinal.
#9 NOTRE DAME (6-5, 2-3 ACC) vs. #5 MARYLAND (10-2, 4-1 ACC)
ACC Championship Semifinals
Friday, April 25 • 7:30 p.m. (ET) – ESPNU
PPL Park • Chester, Pa.
SETTING THE STAGE
• No. 9 Notre Dame (6-5, 2-3) will square off against No. 5 Maryland (10-2, 4-1) Friday in the semifinals of the ACC Championship. Faceoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Maryland is the tournament’s top seed, while Notre Dame is the No. 4 seed.
• This will be the second meeting in a seven-day span between the Fighting Irish and Terrapins. Maryland topped Notre Dame, 12-8, on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.
• Duke (No. 2 seed) and Syracuse (No. 3 seed) will meet in Friday’s first semifinal (5 p.m.).
• Both semifinals will be aired on ESPNU and WatchESPN as will Sunday’s title game at 1 p.m. (ET). Eamon McAnaney (play-by-play), Quint Kessenich (analyst) and Paul Carcaterra (reporter) will be on the call for every game. Live stats will be available via Gametracker on UND.com.
• Saturday will be the seventh meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Maryland. The Terrapins hold a 5-1 advantage in the series.
• This will be the fourth time Notre Dame and Maryland have squared off in a tournament. The Fighting Irish captured a 7-5 victory over the Terrapins in the quarterfinals of the 2010 NCAA Championship in Princeton, N.J. Maryland won at Notre Dame, 7-3, in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championship. The Terrapins captured a 14-11 home victory in the quarterfinals of the 1995 NCAA Championship. That was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
A LOOK AT THE TERRAPINS
• Maryland is 10-2 overall and finished 4-1 in ACC play. The Terrapins’ ACC wins came against Syracuse (16-8), Duke (10-6), Virginia (9-6) and Notre Dame (12-8), while they fell to North Carolina (11-8).
• The Terrapins are averaging 12.2 goals per game, while allowing 7.1 per contest. Mike Chanenchuk (Sr./M) leads Maryland in goals (28) and assists (16). Niko Amato (Sr.) has every decision in goal and has a 7.4 goals-against average and a .571 save percentage.
• Last season, Maryland went 10-4 (2-1 ACC) and fell to Cornell, 16-8, in the first round of the NCAA Championship.
• Head coach John Tillman is in his fourth season at Maryland.
IRISH IN ACC PLAY
• Notre Dame scored 54 goals (10.8 gpg) in ACC play, while allowing 57 (11.4 gpg). Matt Kavanagh and Conor Doyle both
tallied a team-best nine goals in conference play, while Kavanagh also had a team-high 10 assists. Nick Ossello and Sergio Perkovic both netted six goals in league action.
• The Fighting Irish were 12-of-24 in man-up chances and their opponents were 9-of-18.
• Faceoff specialist Liam O’Connor was 59-of-106 (.557) in conference games this season.
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT HISTORY
• This is Notre Dame’s fifth appearance in a conference tournament. The Irish are 4-2 all-time in league playoffs.
• Notre Dame won the only two Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) tournaments ever held (2008 & 2009). The Irish were the top seed for both GWLL tournaments and defeated Ohio State in the final each time.
• The Fighting Irish were 0-2 in the BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame was the No. 1 seed for the inaugural tournament in 2012 and fell to St. John’s, 8-7, in the semifinals. The Irish were the No. 3 seed for last season’s tournament and were topped by No. 2 seed Syracuse, 9-3, in the semifinals.
IRISH IN THE CAGE
• Junior Conor Kelly (Haverford School) started Saturday’s game against the Terrapins and made a career-high 14 saves. It was his fourth start of the season and the first since the North Carolina game on March 1. Kelly is 1-2 this season with a 10.6 goals-against average and a .458 save percentage.
• Freshman Shane Doss has started seven contests and carries a 5-3 record with an 8.5 goals-against average and a .479 save percentage. He stopped a season-best 11 shots at Syracuse on March 29.
CONOR DOYLE ON A HOT STREAK
• Junior attackman Conor Doyle is the only Fighting Irish player to notch a point in all 11 games this season. His overall point streak stands at 14 games and he has scored a goal in 13 straight contests.
PERKOVIC CONTINUES TO PERFORM
• Freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic has the third-most goals (15) on the Fighting Irish squad this season. He has scored in four straight games and has been held without a goal just twice (Penn State & Syracuse).
• His best offensive day of the campaign came against Robert Morris (April 12) as he tallied a career-high four goals and had one assist.
• Perkovic’s seven man-up goals are tied for the team lead.
• Notre Dame senior Liam O’Connor (Haverford School) ranks 11th nationally in faceoff winning percentage (.616) and Maryland’s Charlie Raffa is third (.663).
• Raffa won 20-of-24 attempts last Saturday against Notre Dame. O’Connor was 2-of-13 and junior Nick Ossello was 2-of-11.
• Notre Dame has the country’s second-best man-up offense percentage (.545). The Fighting Irish have scored on 24 of their 44 man-up opportunities this season.
• Freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic and senior attackman John Scioscia both have a team-best seven man-up goals, while junior attackman Conor Doyle has four.
• The Irish also have three man-down goals this season. Matt Kavanagh and Liam O’Connor scored seven seconds apart in a man-down situation against Ohio State, while Scioscia netted a man-down tally versus Duke.
IRISH EXCEL AT PPL
• This will be Notre Dame’s second visit to PPL Park. The Fighting Irish downed Virginia, 12-10, at the venue in the quarterfinals of the 2012 NCAA Championship.
• As a school, Notre Dame is a combined 5-0 at PPL Park. The men’s soccer team won the 2013 national title at the stadium by defeating Maryland, 2-1, in the final on December 15. The Irish men’s soccer squad also captured the 2012 BIG EAST Championship, which was held at PPL Park.
STATE OF AFFAIRS
• Pennsylvania will be the eighth different state Notre Dame has played in this season. The Irish competed in seven different states during their first nine games of the season (Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, California, Ohio, New York, Wisconsin).
HIGHS AND LOWS
• Notre Dame averaged 14.7 goals per game in its six wins, while the Irish were limited to 7.8 goals per game in their five setbacks.
• Notre Dame has been held to seven goals in three of its five losses.
• The Fighting Irish are allowing 7.5 goals per game in their victories and 11.2 in the setbacks.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
• Twenty-one different Fighting Irish players have scored a goal this season. Notre Dame is averaging 9.2 goal scorers per game in its six victories.
• Notre Dame has four players with a double-digit goal total this season – Matt Kavanagh (23), Conor Doyle (19), Sergio Perkovic (15) and John Scioscia (14).
HAT TRICK CLUB
• Seven Fighting Irish players have recorded at least one hat trick this season.
• Sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh has a team-best five hat tricks, including a seven-goal output against Ohio State and a four-goal effort versus Virginia.
• Conor Doyle had a career-high four goals versus Syracuse and opened the season with a hat trick at Jacksonville.
• Freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic netted a career-high four goals against Robert Morris.
• Trevor Brosco (Marquette), Jim Marlatt (Marquette), Nick Ossello (Virginia) and John Scioscia (Denver) all have produced one three-goal effort.
KAVANAGH KEEPS COMPILING BIG NUMBERS
• Sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh has team-bests in goals (23) and assists (23) this season.
• Kavanagh matched a school record with seven goals in the win at Ohio State on March 25. The seven tallies tied the program record held by Randy Colley (1993 vs. New Hampshire) and Ryan Hoff (2007 vs. Drexel). Kavanagh also had an assist in the game and his eight points were one shy of tying the program standard.
• Kavanagh has 17 multiple-goal games during his career, including nine hat tricks. He has scored at least three goals in five games this season.
• He has dished out 10 assists in the last three games. Kavanagh matched a career-high mark with four assists on Saturday against Maryland.
KAVANAGH IN 20-20 CLUB
• Matt Kavanagh (23g, 23a) is the first Notre Dame player to notch 20 goals and 20 assists in the same season since Duncan Swezey (22g, 20a) did so in 2009.
• Seven Notre Dame opponents are ranked in the latest USILA poll. Six of those squads appear in the top eight (#2 Duke, #3 Denver, #4 Syracuse, #5 Maryland, #6 North Carolina, #8 Virginia). The Irish are 2-4 against those teams.
• The Fighting Irish will close the regular season May 3 against No. 15 Army at Arlotta Stadium.
• Notre Dame is 7-6 over the last two seasons when facing a top-10 opponent.
A LOOK BACK
• Notre Dame went 11-5 last season and finished third in the Big East with a 4-2 mark. The Fighting Irish finished the 2013 regular season with the nation’s top RPI and earned a program-best No. 2 seed for the NCAA Championship before advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fourth straight season. The Irish fell to Duke, 12-11, in the quarterfinals.
• Attackman Matt Kavanagh led the Irish in goals (32) and assists (16). The 32 goals established a program record for a freshman. Jim Marlatt was the leading midfielder scorer with 20 goals to go along with 12 assists.
• The Fighting Irish finished the 2013 season ranked 10th nationally in scoring defense with an 8.31 goals-against average. Notre Dame returned two starting close defensemen in seniors Brian Buglione and Stephen O’Hara.
O’HARA A SENIOR CLASS AWARD FINALIST
• Notre Dame team captain and standout defenseman Stephen O’Hara (St. Joseph’s Prep) has been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award in the men’s lacrosse division.
• To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
• Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through May 12. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore May 24-26. For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
• O’Hara is the fifth Fighting Irish men’s lacrosse player to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. Ryan Hoff (2009), Scott Rodgers (2010), Kevin Randall (2012) and Matt Miller (2013) also were among the final 10 student-athletes in contention for the award, which was first presented in 2007.
• Notre Dame and Maryland are the only two programs to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship field in each of the last eight seasons.
• Notre Dame and Duke are the only two schools to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship in each of the last four seasons.