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May 26, 2012
Not even All-American goalie John Kemp could stop Loyola's star attackman Eric Lusby, whose five goals knocked Notre Dame out of the Final Four in a 7-5 loss at Gillette Stadium.
The Irish were denied their second championship game appearance in three seasons, the program unable to build on its surprise runner-up finish in that overtime loss to Duke two years ago.
Westy Hopkins led Notre Dame with a pair of goals on seven shots as the Irish offense struggled to produce quality looks. Leading Irish goal scorer Sean Rogers was held to one goal. The Irish were shut out in the third quarter and went more than 15 minutes between scoring in the first half.
Notre Dame (13-3) dominated on face offs, winning 13-of-14, but couldn't match Lusby. The Loyola attackman pushed his season goal total to 50, helping the Greyhounds build a 7-3 lead through three quarters. Loyola (17-1) needed nearly all of that in the fourth quarter when Notre Dame's depth advantage started to show.
Hopkins' second goal came with 6:28 to play was the second by Notre Dame in less than a minute, pulling the Irish to within 7-5. Loyola lagged in the final quarter and closed by missing 10 straight shots in the game's final stages. But by then Lusby's star power had provided the Greyhounds with the winning margin.
Kemp finished with 13 saves while allowing seven goals, save percentage of .650. That's better than Kemp's .636 season mark entering the game, which led the nation and helped the junior earn first-team All-American honors.
The Irish will enter next spring with Final Four goals and the NCAA tournament heading to Indianapolis for the quarterfinals. Notre Dame will likely be there - the program has advanced that far in the tournament in four of the past five seasons - still seeking its first national title.
Until then, the East Coast monopoly on national titles in lacrosse will endure at least one more season. Loyola will face the winner of Duke-Maryland in the championship game on Monday.
Notre Dame NEWS