PHILADELPHIA (AP) For the first time in school history, Denver is headed to the NCAA lacrosse championship game.
Senior attacker Wesley Berg scored his third goal 1:57 into overtime, lifting the Pioneers past top-seeded Notre Dame 11-10 in the semifinal Saturday.
Berg called his goal ”a huge relief,” after the Fighting Irish scored four unanswered goals – the last by Nick Ossello with nine seconds left in regulation – to erase a 10-6 deficit in the last 4:23.
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The No. 4 Pioneers (16-2) will face Maryland (15-3) in Monday’s championship game.
”We feel really good about being able to play on Monday,” said coach Bill Tierney, who won six national championships while coaching at Princeton. ”This is not about me and Princeton or me and Denver. This is about this group of young people who are striving to reach the top of the peak.”
Sergio Perkovic scored all five of his goals in the fourth quarter for the Irish (12-3).
Notre Dame had the ball first in the extra period, but turned it over. Denver set up a play for sophomore attacker Zach Miller, only to see it thwarted.
Berg then took a pass from Tyler Pace and beat keeper Shane Doss from 10 yards to win it.
Berg increased his school-record career totals to 183 goals and 250 points. He has scored 34 goals in NCAA play, equaling the fourth-highest total.
Pace added two goals and two assists for Denver. Ossello scored two goals, and Will Corrigan had a goal and two assists for the Irish.
”I didn’t think we played particularly well at certain points in the game,” said Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan. ”But we did what we needed to do to be in a one-play game at the end. We just didn’t make that play.”
Berg snapped a 4-4 tie when he scored with 7:23 left in the period. Longstick midfielder Mike Riis scored his first goal of the season with less than a second left in the third quarter after a field-length rush for Denver, winners of 12 straight.
It was the first NCAA semifinal to go to overtime since Syracuse beat Virginia 12-11 in two extra periods in 2008.