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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Irish drop ACC opener to BC

| Sunday, February 16, 2014

After months of excitement and anticipation heading into a new conference, No. 11 Notre Dame dropped its ACC opener to No. 17 Boston College, 15-10, Saturday at the Loftus Sports Center.

The Irish (1-1, 0-1 ACC) and the Eagles (1-0, 1-0) battled back and forth throughout the first half, which featured six ties and three lead changes, as both teams went into the locker room tied 7-7.

Irish junior midfielder Caitlin Gargan, shown during Notre Dame's scrimmage Feb. 12 vs. Cincinnati, scored four goals Saturday against Boston College.Emmet Farnan

Irish junior midfielder Caitlin Gargan, shown during Notre Dame’s scrimmage Feb. 12 vs. Cincinnati, scored four goals Saturday against Boston College.

Boston College opened the second half on the offensive, as Eagles junior midfielder Mikaela Rix scored one of her six goals of the day just 10 seconds into the half. While the next 10 minutes of the game featured the same back-and-forth action the first half saw, the Eagles never trailed in the second half.

Irish junior midfielder Caitlin Gargan scored her fourth goal of the game with 20:56 remaining to pull Notre Dame within one and make it 11-10. Gargan’s goal proved to be the last surge for the Irish, and BC took advantage and pulled away.

After a free-position goal by Rix at the 19:33 mark put the Eagles up 12-10, Irish coach Christine Halfpenny pulled junior goalie Allie Murray in favor of freshman Liz O’Sullivan.

“I think [O’Sullivan] did a good job,” Halfpenny said. “I think her strengths played a little bit into those low-angle shots that BC likes to take.

“They weren’t pressing the goal as much when Liz came in, so, to be fair, it was a totally different style of offense that Liz saw when compared to Allie, but we were thrilled with the two huge saves she made coming in cold late in the game. So we’re excited to see that depth at the goalkeeper position.”

O’Sullivan immediately came in and made the two big saves, but Boston College’s dominant ball-control offense proved too much for Notre Dame to handle, as the Eagles added two more goals before the 15-minute mark to stretch their advantage to 14-10.

From there, Boston College bled the clock and tacked on an insurance goal by Rix with 7:17 to play.

Halfpenny said she was not surprised with how well Boston College played.

“I thought they were a little bit underrated, watching them play last season, but we didn’t underrate them by any means,” Halfpenny said. “We feel that they pose a lot of problems offensively, the same way we do. Credit to BC, they took advantage of all possessions and wanted it a little more on the draw control to get some of those important ones when the game was still tight.”

While it is unusual for the team to play conference opponents so early in the season, Halfpenny refused to blame the schedule for her team’s performance.

“This is what conference we are in, this is what our season is going to look like, so this is where we take this one and move on,” Halfpenny said.

The loss will prove to be a learning point for the young Irish, Halfpenny said, and pointed to parts of the game the team has to improve.

“Just the little things,” Halfpenny said. “Picking up the ground balls, playing a little more mature when scouting our one-on-one matchup in the draw circle. We need to mature. We feel good about where we are, and now it’s just early in the season, and it’s an awesome opportunity to take this game, learn from it and get better from it.”

The Irish next play Saturday at noon against Stony Brook at home.

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