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ND Women’s Lacrosse: No. 6 Irish drop match in Nashville

Michael Bryan | Thursday, April 19, 2007

Vanderbilt’s seniors played an inspired final home game Wednesday, defeating No. 6 Notre Dame 13-9 in Nashville, Tenn.

In a game that was close throughout, the Commodores and Irish were wrapped up in a 9-9 tie with just 15 minutes remaining. Vanderbilt scored the final four goals in the last few minutes to take the victory.

The No. 14 Commodores, who honored their five graduating seniors before the contest, picked up their second victory over a top-10 opponent with the win over the Irish. Vanderbilt also defeated then-No. 6 Penn State on the road in March.

The Commodores (10-4) held the advantage over the Irish (11-4) from the start, taking a 4-1 lead early in the game. Notre Dame was unfazed however, and came back to tie the game at five apiece late in the first half. A goal by Anastasia Adam gave Vanderbilt a 6-5 lead heading into halftime.

Both teams traded goals early in the second half and the lead swayed in both directions. Sophomore Jillian Byers’ third goal of the afternoon tied the game at nine before Vanderbilt’s run to close out the game.

Four of the Commodores’ five graduating seniors scored on the game, and the exception, defender Molly Frew, helped the Vanderbilt back line hold the Irish to 16 shots.

Senior Kendall Thrift, the Commodore’s all-time assist leader, tallied four points on the game with two goals and two assists. Fellow seniors Jennifer Tapscott, Nicole Pugno, and Ali Lemons each recorded at least two points each.

The Irish were led offensively by Byers, who netted three goals to go along with an assist. Sophomore Jane Stoeckert also contributed three goals and senior Lena Zentgraf had a goal and two assists in the loss.

Vanderbilt out-shot the Irish 34-16, and Notre Dame goalkeeper Erin Goodman recorded 12 saves. Commodores goalie Brooke Shinaberry had five saves.

Two Notre Dame records were set in the game. With her three goals, Byers reached 50 goals on the season for the second time in her career – a first in Irish history. In addition, junior Caitlin McKinney set a record when she extended her point-streak to 37 straight games.

Notre Dame will look to rebound Saturday at home when the Irish face No. 18 Rutgers in the last match of the regular season. The Irish, currently tied with Georgetown and Syracuse for first place in the Big East, can potentially win the Big East regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the inaugural Big East Tournament with a victory.