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Women’s Lacrosse: Squad takes lead into final minutes before falling to Vanderbilt

Matt Robison | Thursday, March 25, 2010

Playing a team they had not beaten in the regular season for three years, the No. 11 Irish came out of the gates on fire but could not keep up the pace, falling to No. 19 Vanderbilt Wednesday. Irish coach Tracy Coyne said the final seven minutes decided the game — which ended in a 10-9 loss — as the Irish (4-2) could not hold on to a two-goal lead.

“We tried to go into more of a possession game,” Coyne said. “But we couldn’t win the draw.”

In a game as close as Wednesday’s matchup, the draw is crucial, and Vanderbilt capitalized when it mattered most. The Irish also missed a few opportunities to strike late.

“We had a couple turnovers that were costly,” Coyne said. “And we missed a wide-open opportunity on offense.”

Coyne said she was happy with the way her team performed for most of the game, but was disappointed they did not play a complete game.

“We came out and dominated for the first 50 minutes,” Coyne said. “But it’s a 60-minute game.”

A late run by the Commodores sealed the victory, as they scored three goals between the 5:45 and 4:15 marks in the fourth quarter.

Heading into the matchup, the Irish were focused on improved attacking, a facet of their game they have not done particularly well most of the season, especially in their losses. But they managed nine goals from five different scorers against the pack-it-in defense of the Commodores.

Coyne said she has been especially satisfied with the collective effort of the defense and goalkeeping of freshman Ellie Hilling.

Senior Gina Scioscia added two goals and an assist, junior Kailene Abt had three goals, junior Ansley Stewart had two goals and an assist and sophomore Maggie Tomastitis tallied three assists. Junior Shaylyn Blaney and sophomore Megan Sullivan each added one goal. Hilling saved five of 20 shots, a lower percentage for the normally solid goaltender. Five of those shots missed the cage entirely.

From here the season only gets tougher. The loss ended the nonconference schedule for the Irish as they begin Big East competition with a showdown against Louisville Saturday.
Coyne noted the importance of this upcoming matchup, stating that only four teams qualify for the Big East tournament at the end of the regular season, which heightens the importance and intensity of every regular season game in the conference.

No. 5 Georgetown, No. 7 Syracuse, No. 20 Rutgers and No. 19 Loyola are part of the Big East conference.

In order to make a strong showing in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments, the Irish will have to sharpen their play and turn the 50 minutes of inspired lacrosse they played Wednesday into a full 60 minutes.