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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Irish lose second straight

Meaghan Veselik | Thursday, April 16, 2009

The No. 9 Irish got off to a rough start Wednesday, trailing 10-3 at the half, and couldn’t recover, falling 18-11 to No. 12 Vanderbilt Wednesday afternoon.

Notre Dame (11-4, 4-2 Big East) outshot Vanderbilt (9-4, 2-2 SEC) 34-30, but wasn’t able to get its shots into the net. Senior captain and Tewaarton trophy nominee Jillian Byers and sophomore midfielder Kailene Abt had four goals apiece in the contest, but the Irish offense wasn’t a match for the Commodore freshman goalkeeper Rachel Wells. Irish junior attack Gina Scioscia added two goals and three assists, and a single goal from freshman midfielder Megan Sullivan finished off the Irish scoring.

Leading the Commodore offense with six goals and an assist was junior attack Sarah Downing, followed close behind by sophomore attack Katie Denkler with four goals and an assist. Junior midfielder Carter Foote, freshman midfielders Ally Carey and Alex Priddy and senior midfielder Cara Giordano each added two goals for Vanderbilt.

For the second consecutive game, Notre Dame’s biggest issue was getting its offense started. The Commodores started off the game with a 2-1 lead after goals from Downing and Denkler 45 seconds apart with Abt putting one of her own in the net. But after Abt put the Irish on the board, the Commodores went on a four-goal run to lead 6-1.

Byers put the Irish back in the game after scoring off of an assist from Scioscia before the Commodores netted another four goals. Scioscia closed the half with her first goal of the game, after midfielder Shannon Burke intercepted a Commodore pass and notched an assist, to make the score 10-3.

The Irish defense stepped up at the start of the second half as senior goalkeeper Erin Goodman managed to hold off the Vanderbilt offense until the 21:40 mark when Denkler netted her fourth goal of the day, extending the lead to 11-3. From here, the Irish offense went on a four-goal streak from Abt, Scioscia, Sullivan, and Byers over the next four minutes to cut the Commodore lead to 11-7 in hope of repeating the comeback made last Saturday at Syracuse.

Vanderbilt had different ideas, however, and scored three of the next four goals. The only Irish player to briefly halt their scoring drive was Abt, with her third goal of the game, in between goals from Giordano, Carey, and Downing. Downing continued to score twice more in the final minutes of the game, as well as goals from Foote and Carey. Byers put up two more and Abt one to finish the game at 18-11.

Goodman finished with nine saves off of Vanderbilt’s shots, while the Commodores’ Wills had 17 in her 57:08 minutes of play. Senior goalkeeper Rachel Woolford stepped in to play the final minutes, stopping two shots.

The Irish will hope to end their two-game losing streak Saturday as they close out their Big East season against Connecticut at home in a noon game at Alumni Field. The Irish seniors, playing in their final home game, will be honored prior to the start of the game.