May 4, 2012
Yale (11-4) at Notre Dame (11-2)
The Bulldogs are on a nine-game winning streak under coach Andy Shay. They are quick to loose balls, play with a strong sense of self and understand their strengths and weaknesses. They learned from four early-season losses.
Attackman Deron Dempster, who missed time with a concussion in the middle of the year, has been been scoring goals in bunches. Linemate Matt Gibson is creative and explosive, and has ramped up his leadership role. On the other side of the field, Yale's defense is underrated.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan leads the nation's top defense. The Fighting Irish were flat and uninspired throughout most of their upset loss to St. John's in the Big East semifinals last week. An abrupt turnaround is needed.
Scoring goals doesn't come easy for Notre Dame.
"We are a victim of our defense. We get a low number of possessions," Corrigan said. "We don't have offensive superstars but a lot of different options, including a capable third midfield."
Notre Dame has an impressive record at home and more playoff experience.