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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Irish blow past Bearcats

| Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Irish opened their season Wednesday evening with a blowout 25-1 win over Cincinnati in the Loftus Center.

Irish sophomore attack Rachel Sexton evades a defender during Notre Dame’s 25-1 victory over Cincinnati on Wednesday.Emmet Farnan

Irish sophomore attack Rachel Sexton evades a defender during Notre Dame’s 25-1 victory over Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Sophomore attack Rachel Sexton and freshman attack Cortney Fortunato led the offense for Notre Dame (1-0) with four goals apiece, and 12 different players scored for the Irish against the Bearcats (0-1). Notre Dame outshot Cincinnati, 40-3.

Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said she saw the potential she was expecting to see in her younger players.

“This is what I was hoping for,” Halfpenny said. “We’re so young that I try to keep the word ‘expectations’ out of everything, and I told them, ‘Let’s play our game and stay focused on the things we can control.’ When we do that, this is the outcome we get, so we’re very obviously beyond pleased.”

Halfpenny said it was difficult to prepare for a season opener without any knowledge of the opposing team, but she was happy with the results.

“I know what our brand is,” Halfpenny said. “It’s hard going into an opener when we didn’t have any film on Cincinnati and they didn’t have any film on us, but that’s the beauty of early-season games. Our players were very focused on doing what we do and to be flexible with the changes.”

Fortunato came out of the gate strong, with two goals in the first 2:01 of play. The Irish then continued a string of unanswered offense, scoring five goals in the next seven minutes without losing possession for longer than a few seconds to bring the score to 7-0.

With 23 minutes remaining in the first half, Cincinnati was finally able to get some offense moving. The two teams battled back and forth for three minutes before junior midfielder Caitlin Gargan’s second goal of the game made the score 8-0 with 20:07 remaining in the first half.

The Irish notched six more goals before the half ended. Freshman attack Grace Muller scored twice in a two-minute span before notching her third and final goal of the half with less than three minutes remaining. Sexton scored her second goal of the game, while sophomore midfielder Brie Custis and sophomore attack Michele Phillips scored one apiece to bring the score to 14-0.

Cincinnati got an offensive break in the last 30 seconds of the half but couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

Notre Dame’s scoring run in the first half included goals from several freshmen and sophomores. Halfpenny said she saw the influence of her more experienced players in the play of the underclassmen.

“A lot of credit goes not just to the rookies, but the older kids who complemented them and set them up for success,” Halfpenny said. “Most of the communication out there, our quarterbacks, came from our juniors and ours seniors. We’re really excited that everything is meshed together, and that’s what you hope for as a coach.”

In the first minute of the second half, freshman midfielder Casey Pearsall knocked one in to bring the score to 15-0. The ball remained in Irish possession for the majority of the second half, with four more Irish goals following in the next eight minutes. The Irish closed out their offensive run with the score at 25-0.

The Bearcats took control in the last minute of the game, getting their offense moving and scoring with less than 40 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Irish are back in action Saturday when they take on Boston College at 1 p.m. in the Loftus Center.

 

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu

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