WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Pelham Memorial High grad Matt Landis played a huge role Sunday for Notre Dame in helping the Irish advance to the NCAA men’s lacrosse Final Four without scoring a goal.
Landis, a junior defender, helped limit Albany’s high-scoring Lyle Thompson to one goal and four assists as the Irish won, 14-10, in Denver. Notre Dame (12-2) plays in a national semifinal Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Johns Hopkins meets Maryland in the other quarterfinal.
Landis, the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, helped slow down Thompson, a player some analysts believe is among the best players in college lacrosse history. He scored 52 goals and 69 assists for Albany.
"Lyle is one of the most electric players in the game,’’Landis said. “ He's a great athlete, he's got great footwork but like coach said, it was absolutely a team effort. Me being on the ball, I knew I had the support of guys on the inside -- Eddie Glazener and Garrett Epple and Jack Near -- they were pushing me. Then around the field, helping reduce the skip passes and lanes, that all really helped me have confidence on the ball."
Near, a senior from Bronxville, also had a hand in stopping Thompson as the Irish reached the Final Four for the second straight year.
"I think it's a testament to the growth of the ND lacrosse program,’’ Landis said. “We're getting better and better each year. But we stay grounded in our culture and our approach to the game. And I think we have great leadership this year. The juniors last year were a huge influence and now that they're seniors, they've done a really good job influencing the whole team. They're guys with great attitudes and they'll be proud alumni."
Landis has been a starter since his sophomore year for Notre Dame. "This is a well-deserved honor for Matt as he has had an outstanding season for us," head coach Kevin Corrigan said after Landis was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. "Since his sophomore season, he has developed into a complete and multi-faceted defender and has been a consistent and steady player all year long for us. Matt plays with a relentlessness that has been a key for our success throughout the season."
It will mark the first time in Division I Lacrosse history that two teams outside the sports' traditional eastern corridor have met on Championship Weekend. Prior to 2014 -- when Notre Dame and Denver played in opposite semifinals -- two teams outside the eastern corridor had not participated in the same Championship weekend.