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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Irish dominate from start to finish

Alex Wilcox | Wednesday, March 6, 2013

There was no slow start this time around for Notre Dame, as the No. 6 Irish dominated Detroit 22-1 at home in a record-setting effort Tuesday night.

After Notre Dame (4-0) opened the season with three straight come-from-behind wins, Irish coach Chris Halfpenny said she was proud of her team’s resilience and perseverance, but still wanted to see them get out of the gate and dominate a game. Against Detroit, she saw just that. 

“I think we’ve been having such a wonderful process of growth,” Halfpenny said. “While we’ve seen we can battle back from being down, our big focus for the month of March is coming out of the gates strong, then being able to play at that level for a full 60 minutes. Today our focus was to win the draw, gain possession and make smart decisions with the ball on offense so we can start out strong and optimistic.”

Senior attack Jenny Granger opened the scoring with two goals in the first five minutes of the game, and with less than nine minutes off the clock Notre Dame already led 7-0. After Granger’s second goal, the Irish scored five goals in three minutes and never looked back. Granger finished the day with four goals, all in the first half,.

“[Granger’s] goals are a form of leadership for us, we’ve been working on her dynamic ability to score,” Halfpenny said. “Sometimes you see it off the feed, sometimes you see she has the ability to feed, and she’s also awesome in the 1-on-1 drives she has the ability to finish on. We’re just excited because we think she’s building confidence every game, and like I said, when she has the ability to take the ball to the goal it only sparks confidence in our entire offensive unit, so I’m really proud of her leadership.”

Granger credited her teammates for her strong performance.

“It always starts with the defense, they were the ones who were always getting the ball up to us,” Granger said. “A lot of my goals were assisted by other players too, so they’re the ones who did all the work, I just put the finishing touch on it.”

In addition to a solid transition game, Notre Dame also dominated possession. The offense seemed to always have the ball in Detroit territory, making the game much easier on the Irish defense. When the defense was needed they came up big, allowing just four shots on goal the entire game and causing 26 Detroit turnovers.

“They were outstanding, our fundamental defense was wonderful,” Halfpenny said. “The pressure was exactly what we were looking for and you take a lot of pride in the footwork of our defense as well as their I.Q., and I thought today they came out together. Last Saturday against Duquesne, we were coming out there and had the right idea, but we seemed very reactive. Today, we were dictative, and I think we saw that in those turnovers and those takeaways.”

The game was all but decided by halftime as Notre Dame led 13-0. Detroit finally got on the board with 8:19 left in the game on a goal by freshmen attack Ivy Marshall, cutting the lead to 21-1. Other major contributors for the Irish included sophomore attack Shauna Pugliese, who tallied five points including three second half goals and a four-point effort by junior attack Kristen Cousins, who also had three goals. 

The Irish will look to build off this performance in their next contest, a home battle with Boston University on Saturday. The game will take place at 3 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.

Contact Alex Wilcox at awilcox1@nd.edu