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Women’s Lacrosse: Powell scores winner in OT

Brian Hartnett | Monday, April 23, 2012

With No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 12 Georgetown both averaging more than 14 goals per game, most would have expected Saturday’s battle between the Big East foes to be a high-powered offensive shootout.

Instead, fans at Multi-Sport Stadium in Washington were treated to 66 minutes of a defensive showdown, culminating in a sudden-death goal by Notre Dame sophomore attack Lindsay Powell to give the Irish (12-2, 5-2 Big East) a 7-6 victory over the Hoyas (8-6, 4-3 Big East).

With double overtime winding down, Powell took a long outlet pass from senior defender Megan Sullivan after Sullivan forced a turnover near the Irish goal. Rushing 30 yards upfield, Powell buried a shot past sophomore goalie Barb Black with 39 seconds on the clock, sending the Irish home with a win.

“There was no set play,” Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said of Powell’s goal. “Our defense got a massive [stop] when they were trying to run a play and pushed the fast break ultimately into Lindsay Powell’s hands. At least three, if not four, of our goals were fast breaks, so our transition game did a great job capturing some momentum, and ultimately helped us win the game.”

In addition to the transition game, Notre Dame’s defense came out in full force, as junior goalie Ellie Hilling tied a career-high with 16 saves, and the Irish forced 16 turnovers en route to holding Georgetown to its lowest offensive output of the season.

“I thought our [one versus one] defense was outstanding today,” Halfpenny said. “Our discipline, our ability to stick to the gameplan and our ability to play team defense and dictate were huge. At the end of the day, our girls played with conviction when they were aggressive, and they were able to come up with some great turnovers because they played on their instincts at times.”

The Irish offense struggled to convert opportunities early, totaling just two goals in the first half. After Sullivan scored the team’s first goal at the 25:54 mark, Notre Dame would not find the goal until junior attack Jaimie Morrison’s tally with 5:13 remaining. Despite the low offensive output, the Irish went into halftime tied, as the defense limited the Hoyas to two goals.

“We were taking looks that they gave us and not necessarily working for the ones we wanted to at the beginning of the game,” Halfpenny said. “We did have some wide-open looks, and we were just uncharacteristically failing by putting some of our shots over the goal. At halftime, we made some adjustments where we really wanted to play Notre Dame lacrosse.”

Notre Dame found itself in trouble early in the second half, as Georgetown scored two goals in less than 90 seconds to take a 4-2 lead. The Irish responded with a scoring burst of their own, as senior attack Maggie Tamasitis found the goal with 18:44 left and freshman midfielder Caitlin Gargan tied the game just 12 seconds later.

The remainder of the half proved to be a back-and-forth struggle, with both teams trading goals. Georgetown sophomore midfielder Hannah Franklin gave the Hoyas the lead with 8:35 remaining, but Irish sophomore attack Lauren Sullivan knotted the game at five, converting on a pass from Tamasitis.

Sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Brosco gave the Irish the lead with a goal at the 3:44 mark, but Georgetown junior attack Rosie Corcoran provided the equalizing score with 2:54 remaining, forcing the game into overtime.

With the victory, the Irish move into sole possession of third place in the Big East.

Notre Dame will now look toward its most difficult challenge of the season on Wednesday, when it travels to Evanston, Ill., to face No. 1 Northwestern, a perennial power in women’s lacrosse. Halfpenny said a major key to the game will be the Irish defense, especially as they battle Northwestern senior attack Shannon Smith, the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner.

“I think the keys are going to be certainly containing their offense, limiting Shannon Smith, and then, as we take care of that, we’re going to have to run with Northwestern, handle their pressure, and play our game,” Halfpenny said. “We’re very excited about this challenge, and we think it comes at a very important time in the season right now.”


Contact Brian Hartnett at bhartnet@nd.edu