May 13, 2012

Notre Dame Gets Past Yale, Advances to Quarterfinals

by Matthew DeFranks | | Live Blog Replay

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Irish coach Kevin Corrigan made it clear why No. 4 seed Notre Dame has been successful all year long in the second half.

"I think it's the coaching," he said with a smile after his team's 13-7 first round win over Yale.

The Irish (12-2) turned a 6-4 halftime lead into a six-goal victory over the Bulldogs (11-5) on Sunday at Arlotta Stadium in front of a crowd of 1,503.

Sean Rogers (above) and Notre Dame got off to a quick start, withstood a Yale rally and pulled away in the second half.
© TD Paulius

Notre Dame jumped out to an early 4-0 lead but the Ivy League-champion Bulldogs fought back, stringing together faceoff wins to cut the lead to just two goals after the first quarter. The quick deficit was the first one the Bulldogs faced in the last three games.

"[Starting fast is] something we've talked about before. We've had some slow starts and we've had to come back in the second half and we really wanted to start off strong," Irish sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt said. "It's a product of good offense and we didn't run good offense and they came back a little bit."

Bulldogs coach Andy Shay said the early hole forced his team out of its game plan and into one that featured fastbreak opportunities.

"At that point, we try to make it a little crazy and try to get a little transition but I don't think our decisions in transition were what we normally do," Shay said.

Yale junior attackman Deron Dempster carried the Bulldogs offensively, notching four goals, including three in the first half. Bulldogs senior attackman Matt Gibson finished the game with five points on four assists and a goal.

For the Irish, nine different players cracked the scoresheet, tying a season-high. Marlatt scored three goals, freshman attackman Conor Doyle tallied two goals while senior attackman Sean Rogers chipped in two of his own, including one with less than eight seconds left in the half.

The late first half goal was a big turning point, Shay said.

"That one was it. Everyone knows it. We had a shot to tie it there and then we're down 6-4 at the half," Shay said. "With teams as good as a defense as they have, the four-goal lead to start the game feels like a pretty big hole because the goals you score on them are at a premium. That one definitely hurt. I'd be lying if I said it didn't."

Corrigan said the goal helped change the tempo of the game and forced the Bulldogs to be more aggressive on offense.

"Obviously, it made a big difference for us just feeling good going into the end of the half," Corrigan said. "More importantly, if we have the lead, they have to come to us. If it's a one-goal game, they can afford to kind of hang on and play at whatever tempo they want to play at. So I thought that getting that one and the first one of the next half kind of got us back in control of the tempo a little bit because they had to come to us."

Rogers' late first half goal kickstarted five consecutive Irish goals, highlighted by two from Marlatt. During the 5-0 run, Notre Dame held the Bulldogs scoreless for 21 minutes after allowing Yale to score four of the previous five goals. Irish junior goalie and Big East Goalie of the Year John Kemp finished with 12 saves on the day.

"It's been something we've been good at for a while and certainly John is a huge piece of that puzzle," Corrigan said. "We play really sound, fundamental, smart defense so we don't make a ton of mistakes but we make mistakes. And when we make them, they still have to beat John."

Corrigan said the game played out very much like he thought it would, with the Bulldogs playing a little bit slower on offense and Notre Dame's balanced scoring shining through.

"When we lost at the end of last year, we talked about the identity of our team being a little bit more of no stars but a lot of guys that can make plays and a lot of guys that can contribute," Corrigan said. "If we play the right way, [balanced scoring] will happen."

"We're just looking to find the open guy and whoever the guy is at the end of the play is going to get the goal," Marlatt said. "We're not looking to find any one guy in any one situation. We're trying to get everyone in a good spot and we worked well as a team."

For the first time since the opening game against Duke, Irish senior attackman and captain Nicholas Beattie found the back of the net. He has been out much of the season with a knee injury.

Marlatt's hat trick was the second of his career and came in just his first game in the NCAA tournament. Marlatt missed all of last season with a back injury but has contributed 18 goals this season.

"It was exciting. We've played in a couple big games this year with the Big City Classic and we've had great crowds this year," Marlatt said. "[I was] excited but we've been there before."

Notre Dame carried a 10-5 lead into the final quarter and were able to hang on with a couple fourth quarter goals. The Irish are now 5-0 when scoring 10 or more goals this season.

Notre Dame outscored the Bulldogs 7-3 in the second half and put the game away with senior midfielder Max Pfeifer's goal with 1:10 left in the game.

"They played great, they played poised. They were very fundamentally sound and made great plays down the stretch," Shay said. "I'm not sure we played a game we normally play."

The loss ends the season — one highlighted by an Ivy League championship and the first NCAA tournament berth since 1992 — for Yale.

"We're on new ground as a program so that much we know, we're sure of that," Shay said. "We're proud of what we accomplished. This one stings a good amount. I know we weren't [just] happy to be here. I'm certainly very proud of my guys, this senior class. They absolutely put this program in the national spotlight."

Yale rode a nine-game winning streak to win the Ivy League with a 15-7 win over Princeton in the final. The Bulldogs will lose three starters next year.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, will take on Virginia — who defeated Princeton 6-5 Sunday — in Philadelphia on May 20 in the quarterfinals.

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