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Women’s Lacrosse: Blue Devil’s delight

Chris Williams | Monday, April 10, 2006

In front of a crowd of 217 spectators Sunday, the No. 4 Blue Devils defeated the No. 10 Irish 11-10. With the loss, the Irish fell to 10-2, while the Blue Devils improved to 11-1 on the season.

The Irish took an early 3-1 lead early in the contest with strong and efficient offensive movement. Duke attacks Leigh Jester and Kristen Waagbo responded with two goals to tie the game at 3-3.

During the rest of the first half, the Irish held the Blue Devils to one goal, while netting three more of their own. Sophomore attack Heather Ferguson put the Irish in front, beating Duke goalie Megan Huether with just under 15 minutes remaining in the first half.

After Duke’s Waagbo knotted the score at 4-4 on a free position shot four minutes later, Ferguson struck again, tallying her second goal of the afternoon.

The Irish advantage grew to a pair with six minutes remaining in the first half when Irish standout attack Crysti Foote picked up her second of four goals.

The Irish went into halftime confident with a 6-4 lead – the first time during the 2006 season that Duke has trailed at halftime.

While Notre Dame seemed poised to upset the favored Blue Devils on their own turf, the second half wasn’t nearly as kind to the Irish.

Duke didn’t waste much time getting back into the contest, as only 10 seconds into the second half, Duke midfielder Carolyn Davis notched a breakaway, unassisted goal. Caroline Cryer continued Duke’s offensive assault with a goal 34 seconds later.

Notre Dame quickly regained the lead with two goals by freshman midfielder Jill Byers and Foote, respectively.

During the latter part of the second half, the Blue Devil defense rose to the challenge presented by the talented Notre Dame attack.

For the next 12 minutes, Duke’s defenders kept the Irish off the scoreboard. In the meantime, effective offensive play on the Blue Devil’s part led to a 5-0 run, resulting in an 11-8 lead.

While Foote and freshman midfielder Byers were able to tally a goal a piece in the closing minutes of the game, the Irish’s late-game drive was too late, and the Blue Devils came away with a win.

“Duke just happened to be the team up by one goal when the time ran out,” Byers said. “I thought we were very well prepared for the game, and it just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.”

In both of its losses this season, Notre Dame has fallen to a team ranked No. 4 or better. Considering the Irish only won three games last season, the pair of losses to top-ranked opponents through 12 games is a marked improvement.

Irish goalie Carol Dixon recorded a career-high 18 saves in the loss. Foote added to her total for the year with four more goals.

Foote’s four tallies on Wednesday against Ohio State gave her 182 goals, making her Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer.