PHILADELPHIA, Penn.--- A dominating third quarter propelled No. 9 Notre Dame to a 15-14 victory over No. 4 Syracuse Sunday afternoon at PPL Park in the title game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship. The win gives Notre Dame the ACC's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
Matt Kavanagh paced the Irish with four goals and two assists, while Jim Marlatt had three goals and an assist. Conor Doyle chipped in two goals and three assists.
Notre Dame (8-5) fell behind 8-7 early in the second half, but responded with six straight goals. Tallies from Westy Hopkins and Kavanagh just over a minute apart gave the Irish the lead for good and Kavanagh extended the advantage to two (10-8) when he ripped a shot into the upper corner of the net. Kavanagh then found Marlatt, who made it 11-8 in favor of Notre Dame with 8:48 left in the third quarter. The Fighting Irish lead swelled to five after a man-up goal from Doyle and another deposit from Marlatt.
Syracuse (10-4) stopped the onslaught on a goal from Randy Staats, but a Kavanagh score with 12 seconds left in the third quarter gave Notre Dame a 14-9 lead. The Fighting Irish withstood an Orange rally in the fourth quarter, including a last-second save from Conor Kelly on a Kevin Rice shot, to capture the ACC title in their inaugural appearance.
The Irish will conclude the regular season Saturday when they play host to No. 15 Army. The game, which will be aired on ESPNU and WatchESPN, is slated for noon (ET) at Arlotta Stadium.