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Club Sports: Women’s hockey sweeps Spartans in home finale

Special to The Observer | Monday, March 5, 2012

Notre Dame was back in action this weekend, beating Michigan State on Saturday and Sunday 3-2 and 4-1, respectively. These games were a rematch of the team’s first pair of games in November when the Irish traveled to East Lansing, Mich., where Michigan State swept.

In the first game, the Irish started strong when senior Kristin Hepburn was able to beat the goalie for a 1-0 lead 15 minutes into the game off assists from sophomores Meaghan Ayres and Maddie Schneeman.  Within a minute, the Irish scored again when freshman Suzanne Fitzpatrick took the puck into the offensive zone and found freshman Tori White in the slot. With only the goalie to beat, White didn’t miss.

Finding themselves in a quick 2-0 hole, the Spartans took a timeout and were able to shift the momentum in their favor. Two minutes later, the Spartans found the back of the net and by the end of the first period had tied the game 2-2. 

Following the intermission, the Irish took back control of the game. A shot from the point led to a rebound and a scrum in front of the Spartan net. The Spartans were unable to clear the puck and senior Brinya Bjork found freshman Kelsey Osinski, who slammed it home under the goalie to give the Irish the lead back for two minutes into the second period.  Then it was up to the Irish defense to keep the lead.

Freshman Kaleigh McLaughlin was particularly strong for the Irish defense clearing out the Spartan players in front of the net. Sophomore Caroline Thomas and juniors Mara Catlaw and Veronica Ryan kept the Spartans at bay. The star of the game was senior goalie Elissa Cmunt. Playing in her last game for the Irish, Cmunt turned the Spartans away at every opportunity with some tremendous saves and overall strong play in the second and third periods to ultimately seal a great 3-2 Irish victory.

On Sunday, the Irish were out to prove that Saturday’s win was no fluke, and after an even start, sophomore Kate Bowie took a shot from the high slot that snuck under the Spartan goalie for a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the game. Later in the period, Ayers found White to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. Not wanting a repeat of Saturday’s game when Michigan State came back to tie the game, the Irish didn’t let up. Early in the second period, Fitzpatrick was able to find the back of the net off assists from White and Catlaw. The last Irish goal was scored later in the period when Hepburn tipped a shot from Thomas for a 4-0 lead.

With such a big lead, the Irish seemed to relax, but freshman goalie Mary Salvi had a strong game and did not allow the Spartans to gain momentum. Freshman Megan Covington, playing out of position on the wing, had a great game and helped the Irish repel every Spartan attack. The Irish cruised to a 4-1 Senior Day victory and gave promise for the coming years.

Led by seniors Bjork, Hepburn and Cmunt, and coached by senior Tim Gannatti, junior Derek Wolf and sophomore EJ Borg, with special advisor junior Kevin Nugent, the team finished the year with a 10-3 record.

Women’s Volleyball

Women’s volleyball has made huge strides in its short existence, as evidenced in this week’s Butler Invitational. The Irish opened play by splitting two games with Purdue C, dropping the first game 25-21 before rebounding for a 25-20 victory.  The club then swept a pair of games from each of its next two opponents, defeating Western Kentucky 25-23 and 25-16 and the host Bulldogs 25-16 and 25-23.

Sophomore libero Alex Doctor had a stand out performance all day long.  The club will next play at Michigan State in three weeks.

Equestrian

The Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Equestrian team travelled to Chicago this past weekend for the first horse show of the semester, hosted by Augustana College. Despite the cold weather, the team enjoyed a successful weekend, with one rider qualifying for regional finals and several others closing in on qualification. 

Junior rider Mia Genereux started Saturday with an excellent ride in open fences to claim first place honors with sophomore Katie Walsh, freshman Katie Sylva and junior Amy Giordano earning second, third and fifth, respectively.

Sophomore Stephanie Nearhos and junior Maureen McQuillan laid down solid trips to earn fourth and third places in the intermediate fences class, with senior Sarah Lusher earning first place in her first intermediate jumping class with an exceptional course. 

In the novice fences classes, senior Amanda Leon and junior Whitney Preisser each jumped to third place in their sections with lovely trips.  Senior Catherine Mikkelsen laid down solid rides in the alumni fences and flat classes to take fourth place in both.  In the open flat classes, Genereux and Walsh won their respective sections, and Giordano, freshman Katie Sylva and senior Victoria Scheid followed close behind taking the third, fourth and sixth places. 

For the intermediate flat class, Nearhos claimed first with an outstanding ride, McQuillan received second and Whitney Preisser earned the fourth place honors. Leon garnered the fourth place honors in novice flat, with junior Patty Walsh taking third in their first show of the year. 

To wrap up the day, freshmen Shannon Noonan and Rebecca Bullis and junior Ellen Moriarity earned second, third and fourth spots respectively in their walk-trot-canter sections with superb rides.  The team took home overall third place behind Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin-Lacrosse and Genereux was the high point rider for the day. 

Sunday kicked off with a pair of well-earned first places from Genereux and Walsh in the open fences classes, with Sylva and Giordano following closely, coming in second and fourth.  In the intermediate fences class, Nearhos jumped to first place with an outstanding course. Lusher earned fourth and McQuillan placed sixth in the intermediate class as well. 

Senior Mana Espahbodi and sophomore Sarah Dalton received the fourth and sixth place honors with solid rides in the novice fences class.  In the alumni section, Mikkelsen claimed a pair of fourth places.  In the open flat classes, Scheid and Walsh each took second place in their sections, with Giordano, Genereux and Sylva finishing up well with the third, fifth and sixth places. 

The intermediate flat riders were also successful, with Nearhos placing third, McQuillan placing fourth and Preisser placing fifth.

Leon received third place in the novice flat class. Sophomore Annie McCarthy took home sixth place in her first show with a great ride in the walk-trot-canter class and Moriarity garnered first place honors to finish the day. 

The team placed third out of 12 teams for the day behind Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin-Lacrosse. Walsh was the reserve high point rider for the day and also qualified for regionals in the open flat.

The team will travel to Madison, Wisc., in two weeks for the final show of the season and the regional finals.

Men’s Rugby

The Irish travelled to Norman, Okla., over the weekend to take on Oklahoma. The weather was a balmy 60 degrees, but there were high winds that affected play throughout the game.

The match started with physical play from both sides. The Irish and the Sooners traded blows for the first 15 minutes of the match.  The Irish defense held strong with the Sooners advancing the ball very close to the goal line. Eventually though, the Irish capitalized on a scoring opportunity and made the most of it as junior Sean Peterson made a kick to put the Irish up 3-0.  Things looked to be going in favor of the Irish as junior Ryan Robinson sprinted up the sideline to score.  Peterson made a great kick to put the Irish up 10-0. The Sooners came storming back, though, to take a 12-10 lead into halftime.

The beginning of the second half started with a pair of Irish tries by sophomore Tom Hickey.  The Irish started playing their brand of rugby, but the Sooners erased their 22-10 deficit and went up 29-22 with about 10 minutes left in the game.  The Irish had many chances during the Sooners’ rally to increase their lead but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities. The last 10 minutes were hard fought, but the Irish couldn’t manage a score before the whistle blew. It was a difficult loss for the Irish to swallow, who will look to rebound next weekend against Life University in Charlotte, N.C.

Men’s Volleyball

The No. 1 men’s volleyball club was unable to participate in a conference tournament this weekend due to a snowstorm and poor travel conditions.

Squash

The Notre Dame Squash Team partnered with Net Impact to host a hunger awareness dinner Feb. 21. Net Impact is a club interested in making a positive impact on society by growing and strengthening a community of leaders who use business to improve the world. This dinner was made possible for those interested in learning more about the subject of world hunger.

Jennifer Warlick, director of the Poverty Studies program at Notre Dame, spoke at the event.

It was an informal and informative dinner that addressed themes like inequality, poverty and starvation. As students arrived, they received a number from one through six, designating the table they were to sit at. After the seats were filled, students found out that table one represented the upper class, while six represented the lowest class in the room.

Table one received a four course catered meal before tables three through six received anything at all. Tables three through six received a small bowl of rice while table one was devouring its cake. Eventually, everyone else received the same food but for a while, it was clear that those not sitting at table one were clearly dissatisfied and frustrated.

These were the exact emotions the planners had hoped participants sitting at the lower class tables would feel as they saw others receiving better treatment, as this is a situation very few Notre Dame students are in at home. It was in its own sense an eye-opening activity.

People were very satisfied with the event. Warlick said the event was very informative and clear, a wonderful contribution to an already successful night.