Men's Lacrosse: Irish defeat Harvard, 13-5, in first round of NCAA Tournament

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Irish netminder Conor Kelly had a career day in a game that was never in doubt.

Notre Dame continued to ride their momentum off an ACC Tournament Championship in a big way.

Irish goalie Conor Kelly had a whopping 17 saves and attackman John Scioscia scored four goals to lead Notre Dame over Harvard, 13-5 in the NCAA first round.

Harvard was in the middle of a scoring slump off their Ivy League Championship loss to Penn, and it showed in a bad way for the Crimson.

The Irish controlled the entire first half, jumping to a 7-0 lead before Harvard was able to notch two goals before the horn sounded.

At the center of it was the Irish attack, which has been the brute force of the offense for the year. Scioscia got the Irish started with two goals in a two-minute span in the first, as Harvard keyed up on Matt Kavanagh and Conor Doyle, leaving the third Irish offender open on the high crease for two easy goals.

Once Harvard attempted to adjust for Scioscia, Doyle and Kavanagh got involved, scoring two goals apiece to extend the lead to 6-0. A Sergio Perkovic wrister from 15-yards out  forced a Crimson timeout to stop the bleeding.

Harvard made it interesting near the end of the first half and early into the second half, scoring 4 straight goals to cut the lead to three. But then Scioscia scored two more goals and Perkovic added one to put the game away.  Middies Will Corrigan and Bobby Gray added goals and ACC tournament hero Jack Near also got into the mix in the 4th quarter with a score.

Kavanagh added three assists, with Irish captain Jim Marlatt adding two and Pat Cotter with one.

The star of the game had to be Conor Kelly. Utterly abused in an 18-17 slugfest against Army, the netminder held his own and had incredible vision all game, saving 17 shots, some of them point-blank.  Also back in business was Liam O'Connor, who went 13-21 from the faceoff X.

The Irish head to Hofstra to take on Albany, who upset Loyola in the first game of the day.  The Great Danes are led by the #1-ranked offense in the nation behind the Thompson brothers (and a cousin).  It will be a very tough test for Notre Dame, but then again, the NCAA Tournament is never easy.

If the Irish were to win, they'd head to the Final Four in Baltimore to take on the winner of Maryland (buzzer-beater winners against Cornell) and the winner of Syracuse/Bryant.

On Friday, I spoke with Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan about the game and the team. Check out the interview below.

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