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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Irish upset pair of ACC rivals on road

| Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The No. 13 Irish upset two top-10 teams during their road swing, toppling No. 6 Virginia, 14-4, on Saturday and No. 7 Syracuse, 12-11, in overtime last night.

Notre Dame (8-5, 3-3 ACC) took down the Cavaliers (9-5, 2-3) thanks to dominant performances everywhere on the field, including six goals from sophomore attack Cortney Fortunato, nine draw controls by senior defender Barbara Sullivan and a career-high 11 saves by sophomore goalkeeper Liz O’Sullivan.

The Irish effort shattered Virginia’s six-game winning streak, while also marking several milestones for Notre Dame. The win was the program’s first against Virginia and marked the highest-ranked opponent the Irish have beaten on the road. Sullivan’s nine draws in a game tied the single-game school record established in 2006.

The Irish jumped out to an 5-0 lead by halftime and extended the differential to 11-0 before the Cavaliers finally got on the board at the 17:57 mark in the second half.

Notre Dame edged out the Cavaliers in every major statistic, outshooting them by 10, winning five more ground balls, hauling in six more draws and committing one fewer turnover.

The match against Syracuse (9-5, 2-3) was much closer, with hat tricks by junior midfielder Stephanie Toy and junior attack Rachel Sexton making the difference for Notre Dame.

The score was tied five times. Like they did Saturday, the Irish struck first, going up 2-0 before a 4-0 run by the Orange. However, sophomore midfielder Casey Pearsall and Sexton each scored once in the last five minutes of the first half to even the score.

Notre Dame came out of the break strong, outscoring the Orange, 3-1, in the first 11 minutes of the second half, and the two teams exchanged goals for most of regulation.

Sophomore attack Heidi Annaheim found the back of the net at 3:44 to give the Irish a 10-9 lead, but the Orange tied it up with a goal at 2:31 to send the game to overtime.

Two early overtime goals by the Irish proved too much for the Orange to match, and Notre Dame was able to hold the ball at the end of the game to secure the upset.

The Irish will look to extend their two-game win streak when Michigan visits Arlotta Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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