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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish down Cornell on the road

Michael Bryan | Monday, March 5, 2007

The No. 7 Irish rebounded quickly from Thursday’s 18-10 loss at home to Northwestern with a 13-9 win over No. 16 Cornell Sunday in Ithaca.

Playing on a snowy Schoellkopf Field, the Irish responded to an opening goal by the Big Red with a streak of four straight goals to build a 4-1 lead. Cornell cut the lead to 4-3 with goals by Katherine Simmons and Noelle Dowd.

That was the closest the Big Red would come, however, as Notre Dame got two consecutive free-position goals by midfielders Jillian Byers and Caitlin McKinney.

The Irish took the 6-3 lead into the half, then scored two quick goals to start the second and take a commanding 8-3 lead. Cornell countered with two goals of its own, but it was the last threat from the Big Red.

A three-goal burst by Notre Dame stretched its lead to 11-5 with only 15 minutes remaining in the game. Both teams traded goals down the stretch, but Cornell couldn’t catch up.

With the snowy weather delaying Notre Dame’s plane, the Irish didn’t arrive in Ithaca until midnight on game day and had very little time on the field before the game.

“I was really proud of our mental toughness,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said. “We were faced with so much adversity – the travel, miserable playing conditions and weather, and it was our third game against a ranked team in a week. We were very happy just to get out of there with a win.”

The Irish were led by McKinney, who contributed three goals and three assists. Byers and midfielder Lena Zentgraf also netted three goals apiece in the winning effort.

Simmons led the Big Red with three goals, and six other Cornell players scored at least once in the game.

Sophomore Erin Goodman had a career-best 14 saves. Goodman recorded 11 saves in the first half, allowing Notre Dame to take a 6-3 advantage.

“Erin was really in the zone in the first half,” Coyne said. “I really think she kept us in the game and helped us take the lead at points.”

Notre Dame was also dominant in draw control, winning 20-of-24 for the game. Kaki Orr and Zentgraf led the way with five draw controls each.

The Big Red out-shot the Irish 27-26 for the game, and Cornell goalkeeper Renee Hughes had six saves.

The win improved Notre Dame’s record to 3-1, with all four games to start the regular season played against ranked teams.

Next up for the Irish is a trip back to the northeast to face Canisius in Buffalo. The Griffins are 3-2 after a 13-10 win Saturday over Vermont.