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Women’s Lacrosse: Wildcats snap streak at seven, Irish move on

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, March 21, 2006

All good things must come to an end.

Notre Dame’s seven-game winning streak to start the season reached this conclusion Sunday, as the Irish felt the pain of defeat for the first time this season in a 21-12 loss to Northwestern.

The Irish came out of the gate fired up, quickly gaining 6-2 and 8-4 leads early on in the game. But the defending NCAA champions fought back to take a 10-9 lead 1:30 into the second half and outscored Notre Dame 13-3 in the final 30 minutes to hold onto their national No. 1 ranking.

Northwestern unleashed an offensive fury in the second half, executing its offense with flaws few and far between.

Senior attack Crysti Foote continued her torrid pace for Notre Dame, scoring six goals – including four in the first half – to bring her season total to 35 goals in eight games.

“I definitely thought we played really well in the first half but fell apart in the second half,” Foote said. “We just weren’t winning the draw or getting ground balls. Those are two of the most important parts of the game.”

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.

The goalies on both sides of the ball – Irish keeper Carol Dixon and Wildcat Morgan Lathrop – had 12 and six saves, respectively.

While the Irish came away with a loss, Foote said it was a good test and an excellent experience for an up-and-coming women’s lacrosse program.

She said her performance this year is motivated in part because she wants to make her senior season a memorable one for the team.

“I know this is my final year to play,” she 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.”

Before the loss to the Wildcats Sunday, Notre Dame fared well in its previous two contests against James Madison University and Loyola (Maryland), both ranked opponents.

The Irish showed physical and mental vitality with their win over No. 16 James Madison as they rallied in the final minutes of the game to secure a 12-11 win. It was again Foote’s stick that united the team, as the senior scored three crucial second-half goals against the Dukes.

The 13-9 victory over No. 19 Loyola proved to be less harrowing, as the Irish swept the Greyhounds before a crowd of 1,492 at the College Sports Television’s annual “Spring Fling” tournament.

Caitlin McKinney led the Irish assault with three goals and two assists. Jillian Byers continued her strong play as a freshman with three goals in the contest.

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

Notre Dame will try to regain its winning ways Saturday at 1 p.m. in a home game against Canisius.