Notre Dame beats Virginia in NCAA lax quarterfinals

Notre Dame beats Virginia in NCAA lax quarterfinals
May 21, 2012, 11:20 pm
Share This Post

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) -- The biggest priority for Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan was to keep his team composed, as Irish player Ryan Foley was down on the PPL Park turf, not knowing where he was, or what just happened to him.

So the Irish retaliated to the hard mid-fourth quarter hit on Foley with six goals in handing defending national champion Virginia a 12-10 loss Sunday in the NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinals.

The No. 4-seeded Irish advance to the semifinals against No.1-seed Loyola (Md.) next Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. It marked the first time Notre Dame beat Virginia (12-4) in four tries in the NCAA tournament -- and a return for Notre Dame to the Final Four. It lost to Duke in the 2010 national championship game.

Max Pfeifer led the way for the Irish with three goals, followed by two goals each from Steve Murphy and Sean Rogers.

With 7:41 to play, the game took a scary turn after Foley scored to give Notre Dame (13-2) a 9-8 lead. Virginia's Scott McWilliams lowered his left shoulder and slammed into Foley's chin right after the goal. After being down for about five minutes, Foley had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.

The Notre Dame sideline erupted after the hit, then erupted for three straight goals to take a commanding 12-8 lead with 1:36 left to play.

"I think at that time we were pretty hot-headed, but then we kind of refocused our energy and decided to beat them on the scoreboard," Murphy said. "We decided to send them home and thought that would actually be a bigger slap in the face than actually going back and retaliating back on the field."

Foley, Corrigan said, is OK, but was taken to a local hospital where he underwent tests and further observation. Corrigan also said Foley, "didn't know he was on the field, but he didn't want to come off. I'm not sure he even knew he was in Philadelphia."

Virginia coach Dom Starsia credited Notre Dame's fortitude.

"On the play Foley got hurt, we played defense for the longest time and there was a few times when we thought we'd get the ball, and (Foley) makes a great play at the end," Starsia said. "They just kept coming at us and coming at us, and there were chances for them to crack during that game. Give credit to Notre Dame."

Irish goalie John Kemp finished with 14 saves, nine in the second half when Virginia turned up the pressure.

Though goals from Matt White and Virginia star Steele Stanwick enabled the Cavaliers to get within 12-10 with less than a minute to play, Notre Dame won the ensuing faceoff and drained the remaining time.

The loss marked the last game for Virginia's Stanwick, who finished as the school's all-time leading scorer. He had a goal and four assists Sunday.