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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Notre Dame begins season with loss to Boston College

| Tuesday, February 13, 2018

No. 16 Notre Dame opened its season with a close game against the national runners-up, but a 5-0 second-half run made the difference as the Irish fell to No. 4 Boston College.

Notre Dame (0-1, 0-1 ACC) appeared on top early in the game, opening the scoring through freshman midfielder Maddie Howe after just over five minutes of play and doubling its lead with a high shot from junior attack Nikki Ortega just over a minute later, with both goals assisted by sophomore midfielder Savannah Buchanan. The Irish held the Eagles scoreless for just over 11 minutes to start the game, but Boston College (1-0, 1-0) finally broke through with a goal from sophomore attack Sheila Rietano. With the opening Irish goal coming from a freshman, Halfpenny said she was thrilled with the performances of her first-year players.

“We are thrilled with how the freshmen did today,” Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “We thought they set the tone for themselves and their careers by coming out and giving us everything that they had. I think that they really showcased their IQ, their skill, their speed and their effort today. One thing I think you’re going to be hearing a lot from me this season is ‘effort.’ We’re all about effort and the freshmen got that right away”

Through almost the entire first half, the two teams kept the game close. Starting with a Boston College equalizer less than a minute after its first goal, the teams traded a total of nine goals for the following 15 minutes without either team scoring two in succession. Finally, it was the Eagles who ended that streak, scoring through a free position shot from senior attack Kaileen Hart to earn their first lead of the game.

Junior goalkeeper Samantha Giacolone was the star of the first half for the Irish, recording nine first-half saves and helping hold the Eagles to just a 1-of-4 success rate from free position shots in the half with two saves. Giacolone made one of the plays of the game to deny junior midfielder Brooke Troy a goal late in the first half, but the Eagles had a numbers advantage on a breakway, Giacolone was unable to prevent the rebound being picked up and passed to redshirt-senior attack Tess Chandler to make the score 5-5. Halfpenny said Giacolone was one of the main players responsible for keeping the game close.

“She had a great game against a very tough Boston College team today,” Halfpenny said. “She has really transformed herself over the offseason and trusts her abilities more. She made extraordinary plays in the crease and kept us close in this game.”

In the second half, the Irish tied the score again for the sixth time through sophomore forward Jessi Masinko, but the Eagles soon pulled away. Boston College scored the next five goals, the only run of more than two consecutive scores for the entire game, with a goal and two assists from Eagles junior All-American attack Sam Apuzzo, who had been held to just one first-half point.

“In the end they just made a couple more plays than us,” Halfpenny said. “You can look at the shot difference and say they had 12 more shots, but a lot of those were wide shots, I think we took a lot of high-percentage opportunities. It was a close game that I think we almost got something out of, but they just made a few more plays and that was the difference. That run in the second half, they made a couple big plays, then they were winning the draw there and it was just hard for us to get things going again.”

The Irish worked to get back into the game and closed the gap slightly through goals from Howe and Buchanan. Hart brought the lead back to four, but a third Howe goal gave the Irish a strong chance of getting back into the game. However, the Irish would not score for the next seven minutes, only adding an 11th goal of the game through Ortega with just eight seconds remaining and the game out of reach. Halfpenny said that while she was disappointed with the result, she was pleased with the effort her team showed.

“We absolutely won’t be satisfied at all with the outcome of this game,” Halfpenny said. “However, with the effort that we put in and the attitude that we brought, we are really excited to sharpen up, continue to grow and get better every day. I am overwhelmingly excited about the culture and character of this team and we will grow from this result.”

Howe and Ortega each recorded three goals and an assist for the Irish, while Buchanan scored two goals and added two assists while winning five draw controls and picking up four ground balls. Giacolone finished the game with 15 saves.

The Irish will travel to Florida this weekend for two games, facing Jacksonville on Saturday at 1 p.m. before Stetson on Sunday.

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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