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WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Irish extend win streak to 4

Michael Bryan | Monday, April 2, 2007

After losing to Syracuse 16-13 March 18, Notre Dame has been unstoppable, extending its winning streak to four games this weekend by upending Connecticut 12-11 Friday and Duquesne 15-7 Sunday.

The Irish (9-2, 2-1 Big East) started the weekend with a 12-11 win Friday over Big East opponent Connecticut (5-3, 0-2) in a game that was close throughout.

Sophomore Jane Stoeckert got the Irish off to a strong start, scoring two unassisted goals in the first six minutes to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead. Connecticut quickly recovered, however, putting together a 6-2 run fueled by two Janet Williams goals. Attack Jillian Byers’ third goal of the half brought the Irish into halftime trailing only 6-5.

The Irish quickly tied up the game at 7-7 in the second half behind sophomore midfielder Alicia Billings’ two goals. Notre Dame and the Huskies then traded goals and remained in a deadlock at 9-9 with just over 10 minutes left.

Goals by midfielder Kaki Orr and attack Caitlin McKinney gave the Irish a two-goal edge, and senior Meghan Murphy scored her first goal of the game to give Notre Dame a 12-10 lead with two minutes left – their largest lead of the night. Senior Laura Trzasko scored for Connecticut in the final minutes, but the Irish escaped with the one-goal victory.

“In late game situations, we have confidence that we’re going to find a way to win,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said.

Neither team held more than a two-goal lead in a tight game that featured five ties and four lead-changes. Notre Dame is now 3-0 in one-goal matches this season.

Nine different Irish players recorded points in a balanced offensive performance. Byers led the team with four goals and an assist, and Billings and Stoeckert netted two goals each.

Huskies senior attack Shannon Burke, the Big East’s leading scorer, led Connecticut with two goals and two assists.

In Notre Dame’s second game of the weekend, Duquesne (4-5) proved less of a challenge for the Irish, falling 15-7 at Moose Krause Stadium.

The Irish dominated the early play, taking an 8-0 lead in the first half. Duquesne finally got on the board with six minutes left in the first half on a Sarah Cates goal and went into halftime trailing 8-3.

The Dukes continued their run early in the second half, cutting the Irish lead to 8-5. That would be the closest Duquesne would get, as Notre Dame scored seven of the next nine goals for the 15-7 win.

Byers once again led the Irish with four goals and an assists, and Murphy posted another impressive performance with three goals and two assists.

Sophomore Kathleen McNish led the Dukes with three points on a goal and two assists.

Notre Dame outshot Duquesne 31-24, and goalie Erin Goodman recorded eight saves for the Irish.

“If we want to win the Big East tournament and a national championship, we’ll have to learn how to win games just one day apart like this weekend,” Coyne said. “This weekend was a good test of what those kind of games will be like.”