Notre Dame outclasses Maryland in National Final, 15-5

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

After a lengthy two hour rain delay, the Maryland Terrapins fell short in Philadelphia.

Seeded No. 7 in the NCAA tournament, the 11-5 Terps capped off their postseason run with their eighth championship appearance under John Tillman— this time against the 15-1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the No. 1 seed.

The championship stage was a familiar one for both teams, as Notre Dame won its first title in program history last season and Maryland won the season prior after finishing with a perfect 18-0 record. 

But Notre Dame achieved its two-peat on Monday, defeating the Terps, 15-5.

“[Notre Dame] really got us a lot off ball where we were trying to help too much and they would just cut,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said post-game. “They have such a good feel for where guys are going to be, and they made us pay.”

Maryland entered the game coming off of a dominant semifinal victory against six-seed rival Virginia, holding the Cavaliers to just six goals which marked the least scored under head coach Lars Tiffany. Notre Dame held its semifinal opponent to six goals as well, defeating No. 5 Denver, 13-6. 

The first quarter suggested that neither team would be held to six goals, with eight points combining from both teams in the first quarter alone. Ryan Siracusa and Daniel Kelly scored Maryland’s first two goals in the opening minutes, but Notre Dame responded with three straight of its own.

An overhand goal from 6 ‘5, 235 lb Notre Dame midfielder Eric Dobson marked the last of the quarter, and the result was a 5-3 score that left the Terps trailing by two. 

Maryland did not score again until there was a minute left in the half— a shot on the crease coming from senior midfielder Eric Malever. The goal marked the end of a 19-minute scoring drought, while Notre Dame proved to have no issues in the second quarter by scoring five consecutive goals (three straight came from attackman Chris Kavanagh who surpassed 40 goals on the season).

Maryland’s Luke Wierman held his own against Notre Dame’s faceoff duo of Colin Hagstrom and Will Lynch in the first half, winning 11 of his 16 faceoffs (69%). Goalie Logan McNaney had zero saves in contrast to Notre Dame goalie Liam Entenmann who had five. The result was a six-point deficit for the Terps at halftime at a 4-10 score.

“I don’t think we shot particularly well but [Entenmann] doesn’t have any weaknesses,” Kelly said post-game. “That’s the hard part, you think you have great looks but he closes in on them pretty quickly.”

Notre Dame would not let up in the second half with two more consecutive goals from Chris Kavanagh, who finished the game with five total. His brother, fellow attackman Pat Kavanagh, finished with a season-high six assists. Combining with goals from Jordan Faison and Fisher Finley, the Fighting Irish were about to carry a 10-point lead into the final quarter until Kelly notched one more goal for Maryland with 30 seconds left.

Kelly’s point marked Maryland’s last of the game with the Terps going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Jake Taylor, who also surpassed 40 season goals in this game as well, scored Notre Dame’s only goal of the period which left Maryland down by 10 when time expired. 

“In that moment, it just sucks,” senior Maryland midfielder Jack McDonald said. “You look at 50 of your best friends and you strive to achieve one goal, and we’ve done that since August. Just seeing everyone’s face, looking at each other and realizing we’ve put everything we could into this year— for all that we should keep our heads high.”