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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Irish score 10 straight goals to down Eagles

| Monday, February 22, 2016

No. 9 Notre Dame cruised to a win over No. 11 Boston College on Sunday, as the Irish scored 10 unanswered goals on the way to recording a 14-4 victory at Loftus Sports Center.

The Eagles (2-1, 0-1 ACC) had a strong start. After winning the opening draw, they took an early lead following a free position goal from Eagles senior midfielder Caroline Margolis. Irish senior attack Rachel Sexton tied things up for the Irish (3-0, 1-0 ACC), but another free position goal from Eagles junior midfielder Mary Kate O’Neill restored Boston College’s lead, 2-1.

From there, the Irish took complete control. After giving up those two goals within the first four minutes, the Irish did not allow another until the 13th minute of the second half. On the offensive end, the Irish scored 10 times in that stretch, including three goals in the last 1:01 of the first half.

Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said her team was able to settle into the game, which created the opportunity to go on that run.

“It just speaks to our defense fueling our offense and our midfield being incredible connectors,” Halfpenny said. “Once we settled down, we had the opportunity to play them live and not just go from a scout report. We settled in, we played our game, and it’s a standard that we want to continue to play to.

“The girls are setting the bar which they want to play at, which I’m very excited about. They’re keeping it very focused on ourselves and on each other.”

Irish junior attack Grace Muller searches for an open teammate in Notre Dame’s win over Boston College. Muller scored a goal in the win.Grace Tourville | The Observer

Irish junior attack Grace Muller searches for an open teammate in Notre Dame’s win over Boston College. Muller scored a goal in the win.

Halfpenny said she believed her team’s ability to keep pressing into the second half showed their determination.

“Obviously I’m thrilled and so proud of my team’s efforts today from start to finish,” Halfpenny said. “I think that the entire team had a great week of preparation again, and we keep on talking about how great weeks of preparations translate into great game days.

“We’ve talked a lot about focusing and having our style, and I think that we really proved ourselves in so many areas today, especially with our determination and our desire to play our brand for 60 minutes. The really neat thing was to find our second gear — that second wind we got in the second half, which was really exciting — to be able to match the first half in scoring output, fueled by our defense. It was just amazing today.”

The Eagles offense came into the matchup having scored 37 goals in two games, wins over Boston University and Holy Cross, and having converted over half of their shots this season. However, they were unable to come close to those numbers against the Irish defense and freshman goalie Samantha Giacolone. Giacolone had 13 saves for the Irish, and the Eagles only scored on four of their 23 shots. Halfpenny said Giacolone’s performance shows her potential as a young goalie.

“We had some different changes, some new faces in the lineup today, [graduate student defender] Barbara [Sullivan], [senior defender Stephanie Peragallo] and [senior midfielder] Brie [Custis] holding down the fort back there with Sam Giacolone, who [had a save percentage of] 76 percent,” Halfpenny said. “But the reality is that as Sam continues to settle in, we’re giving her the saves we want her to make. She’s making most of the saves she should make, she’s making a couple of that next category, and today she had a couple of those momentum one-on-none saves in the second half, and that’s all you can ask of your goalie. She did a great job of handling the ball and making decisions in the clear, so I’m really excited about that.”

Irish graduate student defender Barbara Sullivan races upfield during Notre Dame’s 14-4 victory over Boston College on Sunday at Meyo Field. Sullivan registered a game-high five draw controls in the win.Grace Tourville | The Observer

Irish graduate student defender Barbara Sullivan races upfield during Notre Dame’s 14-4 victory over Boston College on Sunday at Meyo Field. Sullivan registered a game-high five draw controls in the win.

Although the Irish looked in control for most of the game, Halfpenny said she felt her team’s performance could always be improved, citing the number of times her team turned the ball over.

“I’d still like to limit some of these turnovers,” Halfpenny said. “I think that every player would have liked to get one back, maybe a check from behind or maybe a toss or a pass here or there. But I think the reality is that we played a very aggressive Boston College team, and when you look at our 17 turnovers, 12 of them were forced, and they were forced with a great deal of pressure, a great deal of skill to check our sticks, and you have to credit Boston College there. You’ve got to credit them for making it really difficult for us.

“I would consider us to be a nice transition team. I think we take care of the ball really well, I think we work really well together, but they made it really hard for us today, and for us to have made the adjustments we did is what I’m excited about. We can still get better. It’s still February, but I think that if we tighten up a couple of those things, it could be a really fun swing here.”

The Irish will return to action Friday, hosting Colorado at Loftus Sports Center at 7 p.m.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Contact Daniel