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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish win two games, remain undefeated

Alex Wilcox | Tuesday, March 19, 2013

No. 6/8 Notre Dame kept its undefeated season alive over spring break, defeating Boston University, 16-11, and Vanderbilt, 12-11, to improve to 6-0 on the year.

On March 9, Notre Dame defeated Boston University (2-3), 16-11, to win its first game of the year at Arlotta Stadium. The Irish opened the game by jumping out to a 4-2 lead, but then allowed six consecutive goals to the Terriers to go into the half trailing 8-4. The Irish continued their first half struggles, falling behind at halftime for the fourth time in their first five games.
Just as in the other contests, Notre Dame stormed back in the second half, scoring twice in the first four minutes en route to outscoring the Terriers, 12-3, in the half.
Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said she knows her team has a few kinks to work out but was proud of their performance.

“We came out and had a pretty good start, we just hit a bit of a lull in the back end of the first half,” Halfpenny said. “We had some sloppy stick work and didn’t take care of the ball, but we did a good job of correcting our mistakes.”

Senior attack Jaime Morrison led the Irish offense with four goals and two assists, while  senior attack Jenny Granger, junior attack Lauren Sullivan and freshman midfielder Stephanie Toy each tallied three goals.

Notre Dame then hit the road to take on Vanderbilt on March 13 and once again faltered early. The game was knotted at five at the half, but the Commodores (1-8) jumped out to a 6-5 lead to open the second half.
Despite Vanderbilt’s dismal record, Halfpenny said she knew the Commodores would prove a tough test for her Irish squad.

“We were playing a very deceiving Vanderbilt team,” Halfpenny said. “Their record is [1-8], but they lost to Duke by three and a very good Denver team by just one. Vanderbilt is a quality opponent, and they’re everybody’s worst nightmare. They’re very young and get better every game.”

The Irish quickly answered, scoring four straight goals and ultimately taking a 12-7 lead, Vanderbilt never quit, however, scoring four consecutive goals in just over five minutes to cut the Irish lead to one with just 36 seconds remaining. With the momentum in its favor, Vanderbilt won the draw and looked to send the contest to overtime, but the Commodores were caught offsides, which gave the ball to the Irish.

“I would be lying if I said there wasn’t some piece of me that wasn’t worried,” Halfpenny said of Vanderbilt’s near-comeback. “There were not too many good things happening on offense at that point. We have to value possession a lot more, our offense has to take a little pride when they have the opportunity to do that and help out our defense a little bit..”

Sophomore attack Shauna Pugliese recorded three goals and two assists to earn five points in the victory, while senior goalie Ellie Hilling set a school record with her 60th  career start. Hilling also won her 39th career game, tying the school mark.

Halfpenny said she was pleased with her team’s performance over spring break.

“Coming out of midterms, I’m really proud of how we finished well against [Boston University],” Halfpenny said. “Then to go on the road and take on a consistent rival in Vanderbilt, and to go out and take that win, I was really pleased with our girls’ ability to travel well.”

The Irish open up conference play in a home contest against Rutgers on Friday at Arlotta Stadium.

Contact Alex Wilcox at awilcox1@nd.edu