Matt Kavanaugh's hat trick includes winner as Notre Dame stuns Albany in OT

Albany's Lyle Thompson scores on the no-look shot
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Albany's Lyle Thompson scores on the no-look shot past Notre Dame goalie Conor Kelly in an NCAA Division I men's lacrosse quarterfinal on Saturday, May 17, 2014.(Credit: George A. Faella)

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Not everyone at jam-packed Shuart Stadium came to see the Thompson brothers.

"I live about 10 minutes away. I had a bunch of family here," said Matt Kavanaugh of Rockville Centre and a former star at Chaminade.

Kavanaugh gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about when he completed a hat trick by drilling home the winner from the high slot 1:31 into overtime Saturday as Notre Dame overcame a five-goal, fourth-quarter deficit to stun Albany, 14-13, in the nightcap of an NCAA Tournament men's lacrosse quarterfinal doubleheader at Hofstra that drew a record crowd of 13,519.

"What a fantastic atmosphere," Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said. "Albany probably deserved a better fate, but I'm glad they didn't get it."

Notre Dame faces Saturday's other winner, Maryland, at next Saturday's Final Four in Baltimore. The other semifinal matches the winners of Sunday's quarterfinals in Delaware -- Duke vs. Johns Hopkins and Denver vs. Drexel.

It didn't look like Notre Dame would be joining the party when Albany took a 12-7 lead with 8:11 left in the fourth.

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The Great Danes' advantage was built primarily on the strength of crowd-pleasing, jaw-dropping performances by the justifiably celebrated Thompsons -- brothers Lyle and Miles and cousin Ty. Lyle scored three goals with three assists; Miles scored three goals with one assist and Ty scored two goals.

Some of those goals were breathtaking and brought the fans to their feet. Miles, a senior, scored on a no-look backhand in the second quarter. Lyle, a junior, added a no-look over-the-shoulder beauty after a right-left dodge. Lyle also threaded a pass to Ty, a senior, at the right crease for a 10-7 lead late in the third.

That feed allowed Lyle to tie the NCAA single-season record of 77 assists also accomplished by Steve Marohl of UMBC in 1992. In the second quarter, Miles equaled the NCAA single-season record of 82 goals also achieved by Jon Reese of Yale in 1990.

"They're really good and really creative," Notre Dame defenseman Stephen O'Hara said. "They made some plays that were un-defendable. But we made one more play."

O'Hara and his defensive mates did a solid job in the final three minutes of regulation when Albany ran long possessions and played for the final shot. "We did what we always do. We got the ball in the hands of our best player," Albany coach Scott Marr said. "It went to Lyle and then to Ty, but unfortunately, his shot hit the goalie in the head."

That forced overtime, where Liam O'Connor, who won 21 of 31 faceoffs to fuel the Irish rally, won the draw and got the ball to midfielder Sergio Perkovic (two goals) who tossed to Kavanaugh, a sophomore attack who leads Notre Dame with 35 goals and 65 points.

"I stepped into the box, drew a double team and then they both dropped off," Kavanaugh said. "I was open. I didn't pick a spot. I just shot it. Then I heard the crowd."

A crowd that mostly came to cheer someone else.

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