BALTIMORE - Matt Kavanagh was a moving target Saturday. His teammates could hit him; his opponents could not.
Kavanagh, the former Chaminade star from Rockville Centre, scored five goals with two assists to lead Notre Dame to a complete 11-6 victory over Maryland in the second game of the men's lacrosse Division I semifinal doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium. The Fighting Irish (12-5) will face Duke at 1 p.m. on Monday in a rematch of the 2010 national championship game, won by the Blue Devils, 6-5, in overtime.
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"Somebody said he's had a really good hot streak. I think it started his sophomore year in high school," Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said. "He's a hard guy to cover off the ball. He's a hard guy to cover with the ball in his stick."
At 5-8 and 170 pounds, Kavanagh isn't going to back you down in the crease. But he's so quick, so strong and so persistent, that he'll find ways to get open and get off his shot, on the wing or in traffic.
"I like going from the wing. I can see the field better," said Kavanagh, named a second-team All-American this week. He now has 40 goals and 32 assists. "But the flow of our offense is working so well, I'll take what the defense gives me."
Saturday, that meant a couple of goals from up top, a couple from the wing and one nifty solo dodge from behind the cage that he stuffed home late in the third quarter to put the Irish on top, 10-5.
"I threw a couple of balls away, but when Conor [Kelly] is making saves like he did today and our defense is playing so well, you know you'll get the ball back and your confidence is up."
Kelly made 14 saves as Notre Dame beat Maryland (12-4) for the second time in three meetings this season. "Playing a team three times is tough, but you get to see their shooters three times so I thought I got a good read on their releases," Kelly said.
That clearly was not the case with the normally stingy Maryland defense which came in allowing only seven goals per game, tops in the country. "He did a great job of just picking his spots," said admiring Maryland coach John Tillman. "He's a terrific player. His teammates did a nice job finding him. When he got his opportunities, he made the most of them."
Kavanagh was right on target all game.