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Notre Dame ends Thompson Trio era in OT thriller

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Lyle Thompson plays against the Fighting Irish (UALBANY ATHLETICS)
Lyle Thompson plays against the Fighting Irish (UALBANY ATHLETICS)
By Aaron Cheris

Hempstead, NY:
The Thompson trio era at the University at Albany is over.
Arguably the greatest players in the history of collegiate lacrosse, Miles Thompson, brother Lyle, and cousin Ty have rewritten the record book during their careers at UAlbany (12-6), but they couldn’t send the Great Danes to the NCAA Tournament semi-finals in their final season together.
The Fighting Irish (11-5) of the University of Notre Dame lived up to their name, overcoming a five-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to beat UAlbany’s 14-13 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium.
“You can take this loss in two ways,” Lyle Thompson said. “ It’s either hang your head or look back and think positive. I know I gave it my all and gave it my best.”
The game looked to be one that would go down in history for the Great Danes. After beating top-seeded Loyola last week, UAlbany stumbled out of the gates early against the Fighting Irish. Led by Long Island native Matt Kavanagh, Notre Dame jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the first quarter. In the midst of the run by the Irish, UAlbany head coach Scott Marr called timeout to regroup his team.
After the break, the Great Danes turned the game around. After goalie Blaze Riordan made a save to prevent the Irish from taking a five goal lead, UAlbany cut the lead to three as Lyle Thompson scored with his back facing the goal. Shortly after, Miles Thompson hit the post on his shot, but got an opportunity soon after which he didn’t miss. Miles buried the long-range opportunity to cut the Notre Dame lead to 2. He didn’t wait to get another. After being knocked over and surrounded by two Notre Dame defenders, Miles was still able to get a shot from the seat of his shorts. Luckily for him, the ball went past Notre Dame goalie to put UAlbany within a goal after one quarter.
“It’s remarkable what they’ve accomplished,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said of the Thompsons. “The numbers that they’ve put up, the fits they give defenses. Every team has to prepare for this.”
After the teams each scored two goals in the second quarter, Notre Dame controlled a 6-5 lead going into the locker room, despite owning a 19-14 shots advantage at the half. With his first half hat trick, Miles Thompson tied the NCAA single season goals record with 92, matching Jon Reese’s mark from 1990 with Yale. Miles also has the UAlbany program record for most career goals with 189.
In the second half, the Great Danes quickly tied it on a goal by John Maloney, but that tie was short lived. With under minutes to play in the third quarter, the Irish led 7-6. Then the tide turned in favor of the visitors wearing purple. Lyle Thompson set up Will Stenberg to tie the game at seven, sending many of the sold out crowd to their feet. A stadium record of 13,519 fans attended the game, with many decked out in purple and gold to support the Great Danes.
“Our fans have been unbelievable,” Marr said. “It was awesome to feel that energy of all the people that were cheering for us.”
The purple and gold faithful had more to cheer about as the quarter came to an end. Lyle Thompson carried the team, scoring on a shovel shot to give the Great Danes the lead, then scoring again shortly after from near the crease to extend the lead. Before the quarter ended, Lyle drew three defenders to cover him, freeing his cousin Ty in front of the net. Ty finished the play off a perfect pass to give UAlbany a 10-7 lead after 3.
Lyle Thompson finished the game with three goals and three assists. The assists gave him 77 for the season, tying him with UMBC’s Steve Marohl in 1992 for the most in a single season in NCAA history. His 128 points in a single season are the most in any single season in the history of college lacrosse, but it wasn’t enough on this day.
The fourth quarter started with Blaze Riorden making one of his 14 saves to keep the Irish off the board, then Doug Eich scored in transition from long range to increase the lead. The lead increased once more when Matthew Bertrams ran nearly the length of the field before getting the ball past Notre Dame goalkeeper Connor Kelly. That gave the Great Danes a 12-7 lead with under nine minutes to play in the game, and it seemed like UAlbany would be Baltimore bound.
The Fighting Irish wouldn’t give up though. Four goals in under two minutes cut the UAlbany lead to just a single goal. When it looked like the Irish were going to tie it, Riorden made two saves before a third shot hit the post, giving UAlbany the ball. They got the lead back up to two when Ryan Feuerstein scored in transition.
Unfortunately for the purple and gold, that would be all they got.
With the game tied in the waning seconds of regulation, Lyle Thompson once again drew multiple defenders, freeing Ty for a chance. Ty got a shot off with less than five second to play, but his shot hit Kelly in the head, saving the game for the Irish and forcing overtime.
After winning the faceoff to start the sudden-death overtime, Kavanagh got free, and beat Riorden with a low shot, sending Notre Dame to Baltimore for the national semi-finals.
Although the era of the Thompson trio as teammates is over, the era of the Thompsons at UAlbany is far from over. Miles Thompson will return next year as an assistant coach, and Lyle will be a senior, looking to continue where he left off.

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