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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish take first loss of season

Ãchris Williams | Wednesday, March 22, 2006

All good things must come to an end.

On Sunday, the Irish felt the pain of defeat, as they succumbed to the Northwestern Wildcats 21-12 in their first loss of the season.

The Irish came out of the gate fired up, quickly gaining 6-2 and 8-4 leads early on in the game. It seemed that the Irish were ready to exorcise the ghosts of seasons past – most notably last season – and win against one of the nation’s top teams.

But the tables turned soon as the Wildcats showed the world why they are the defending NCAA women’s lacrosse champions.

After Notre Dame and Northwestern played a very close game in the first half, the Wildcats outplayed the Irish in the second stanza. Northwestern unleashed an offensive fury during the latter part of the game, executing their offense flawlessly.

With their win over the Irish, the Wildcats extended their winning streak to 27 consecutive games.

Wildcat standouts included Lindsey Munday, who had two goals and five assists, Aly Josephs, who scored six goals, and Kristen Kjellman, who added four goals and two assists for Northwestern.

The goalies on both sides of the ball, Irish keeper Carol Dixon and the Wildcats’ Morgan Lathrop, had stellar performances, with 12 and six saves, respectively.

Senior attack Crysti Foote extended her scoring streak with four goals.

“I know this is my final year to play,” Foote said. “I have been more confident and being a captain, I know that my teammates are always looking to me to make plays and get the team going, so I have a lot more responsibility [this year]. Basically, I have been taking more risks and just letting the game come to me.”

Despite their loss to the Wildcats Sunday, Notre Dame fared well in its previous two contests against James Madison and Loyola Maryland.

The Irish showed physical and mental vitality with their March 12 win over No. 16 James Madison as they rallied in the final minutes of the game to secure a 12-11 win. Foote scored three crucial second half goals against the Dukes.

The 13-9 victory over No. 19 Loyola Maryland March 14 was less harrowing, as the Irish swept through the Greyhounds in front of a crowd of 1,492 at CSTV’s annual “Spring Fling” tournament. Caitlin McKinney led the Irish assault with three goals and two assists. Freshman Jillian Byers tallied three goals in the contest.

“It was awesome, ” Byers said after the game. “I mean, to play the way we did, with such heart in front of two thousand people and on TV, it was just a great way to end our week in Florida.”

The Irish face Canisuius on Saturday at 1 p.m. at home.