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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish sweep spring break roadtrip

Joseph Monardo | Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In their first three true road games of the season – all coming in a week-long stretch – the Fighting Irish played the part of battle-tested road warriors. No. 7 Notre Dame captured a 14-11 road win at Boston University on March 10 before defeating Yale on March 13, 15-9, and No. 16 Cornell on Saturday in Florida, 17-13.

Senior attacker Maggie Tamasitis kicked off the spring break road swing at BU (3-4) with career-high marks in goals (five) and total points (nine) in a game. Tamasitis’ four assists in the game launched her into the top spot on the program’s all-time assists list with 107, surpassing the previous record of 106 set by attacker Gina Scioscia in 2010.

“It goes without being said that she is such an integral part of our team, but the beauty is that everyone around her makes her look so good,” Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said. “When she puts the ball in other players’ sticks they finish for her … It is a credit to Maggie, it is a credit to how resilient she is in a game and it is a credit to the teammates around her that make her look so good.”

After jumping out to an 8-0 lead on Boston, the Irish carried a 10-4 advantage into halftime before finding themselves clinging to a 13-11 lead with under four minutes remaining.

Sophomore midfield/attacker Lindsay Powell then completed her hat trick with 1:04 left to play to secure the win for Notre Dame.

The Irish had a quick turnaround for their next game, travelling down the East Coast to Delray Beach, Fla., for a Tuesday matchup against Yale (2-3). Notre Dame showed no weariness though, and scored the first 10 goals of the game before entering the break up 10-2. Junior midfielder Jenny Granger scored the game’s first two goals and assisted on the third and sophomore attacker Lauren Sullivan recorded the first three goals of her career for a hat trick. Freshman goalkeeper Allie Murray received playing time in relief of junior goalkeeper Ellie Hilling for the first time this season in Notre Dame’s 15-9 win.

For their third and final road contest of the week, the Irish faced off with No. 16 Cornell (5-1) at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. Nine Irish players scored in the game and junior attacker Jaimie Morrison, senior midfielder/defense Megan Sullivan and Powell all recorded hat tricks. Notre Dame battled to a 12-6 halftime lead before the Big Red outscored the Irish 7-5 in the second half. Hilling recorded double-digit saves for the third time this season in Notre Dame’s 17-13 win.

In the three games against Boston, Yale and Cornell, the Irish accumulated a first-half scoring margin of plus-20, but suffered a second-half scoring deficit of minus-seven. Halfpenny attributes her team’s struggles in the second half to an inability to win the ball-control battle.

“[The draw control] is an area that we have just not quite figured out,” she said. “We are working through about four consistent options that we have there on the draw. If you look at the draw count in the second half, the draw count has been indicative of what the score is. We have to do a better job of possessing the ball off of the draw so that we give ourselves an opportunity to match the first half.”

For the season, the Irish are minus-one in draw controls in the first half and minus-16 in draw controls in the second half. This disparity corresponds to a goal differential of plus-32 in the first half of all games and only plus-three in the second half of all games.

Still, Halfpenny said she has seen improvement in her team’s ability to win the draw control.

“We come away with realistic excitement about where we are at this point in the season, but also a realistic understanding that there is still a lot to improve,” she said. “We still have 10 more games to go and hopefully we will continue to focus on one game on a time to ensure that we have more opportunities than just the 10 that are in our regular season.”

Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu