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WOMEN’S LACROSSE: ND splits weekend games

Matt Puglisi | Monday, April 4, 2005

It was a weekend of firsts at Moose Krause Field this weekend.After falling to visiting Connecticut (6-2, 1-1 Big East) 13-10 Friday night – the first home Irish loss to the Huskies in program history – Notre Dame (3-6, 1-2 Big East) bounced back Sunday afternoon to knock off Rutgers (3-6, 1-2 Big East) 12-9 for its first Big East win of the year behind midfielder Lena Zentgraf’s first collegiate hat trick.The pivotal conference weekend began on a rather optimistic note for the Irish.In search of its first Big East victory, Notre Dame charged out of the gates, netting a 2-0 advantage on a pair of goals by Foote and Jackie Bowers, respectively, in the contest’s first 2:07.While Connecticut was able to secure a 3-2 lead over the next eight minutes with three consecutive goals, the Irish immediately responded, tallying three consecutive goals of their own to regain a two-goal advantage at 5-3 with just over 12 minutes remaining before the break.After trading goals a pair of goal with the Huskies, however, Notre Dame’s wheels began to fall off as Connecticut rallied off seven straight goals – four before halftime – and nine of the next 10 en route to a dominant 13-7 lead 11:53 into the first half.The Irish refused to give in, scoring the game’s final three goals, but it was a case of too little too late as Notre Dame squandered Foote’s four-goal performance and fell to 0-2 in the Big East.In dire need of a victory, the Irish reversed Friday night’s fortunes as they rode hat tricks from both Zentgraf and Foote to a crucial 12-9 victory over Rutgers Sunday.Midfielders Caitlin McKinney and Brittany Fox each chipped in with a pair of goals while Bowers and attack Mary McGrath also found their way onto the score sheet with single tallies.Focused on preventing the slow starts that has put the team in an unconquerable hole time and time again this season, the Irish refused to allow the visiting Scarlet Knights to run away and hide.Weathering a quick Scarlet Knight burst that staked Rutgers to an early 3-1 advantage after 4:26 of play, the Irish went to work.Foote picked up her first goal of the game at the 7:27 mark with Bowers and Zentgraf following suit.The Irish lead increased to 5-3 on Zentgraf’s third goal of the afternoon before Rutgers found the back of the net to bring the Scarlet Knights within one at 5-4.Foote once again sparked an Irish rally, beating Rutgers goalie Lyndsey Feldman for her second goal and the first of five consecutive Notre Dame scores.Leading 7-4 at half time, the Irish lead would eventually grow to seven at 12-5 before the Scarlet Knights used a late four-goal rally to make the score respectable by the contest’s final whistle.Foote believes the big conference victory will only make the Irish more dangerous as they head down the stretchAfter taking the week off, Notre Dame will finish out a five-game home stand against a couple of non-conference opponents when No. 5 Duke (8-2) and Stanford (6-4) come to town Friday and Sunday, respectively.

Contact Matt Puglisi at mpuglisi@nd.edu