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Women’s Lacrosse: Squad falls to Vanderbilt

Matt Gamber | Thursday, April 17, 2008

For the second straight year, No. 8 Notre Dame couldn’t handle No. 13 Vanderbilt despite coming off a big win over conference rival No. 9 Georgetown.

The Commodores (11-4, 3-1 American Lacrosse Conference) held the high-powered Irish (10-5, 3-1 Big East) attack in check for most of the game, never trailing in their 9-6 victory at the Loftus Center Wednesday afternoon. Junior attack Jillian Byers led Notre Dame with three goals, while senior Caitlin McKinney, Alicia Billings and Shaylyn Blaney each scored single goals in the loss.

Notre Dame entered the game with a 13.5 goals-per-game average and one of the nation’s top scorers in Byers, but Vanderbilt goalkeeper Brooke Shinaberry continued her hot play, saving more than 50 percent of the opposition’s shots for the sixth time in seven games.

The Commodores got on the board by scoring the game’s first two goals in the opening five minutes before the Irish were able to knot the score at 3-3. Vanderbilt scored twice to enter the half with a 5-3 advantage.

The visitors scored twice more for a 4-0 run and a 7-3 lead before Byers scored twice in a matter of minutes. The Commodores extended their lead to 8-5 before slowing the game down with a patient offense that spread the field and chewed the clock. Each team scored once more time to reach the final 9-6 tally.

Carter Foote scored three times to lead the Commodores, who managed the victory despite losing the turnover battle 16-10.

Last season, a Notre Dame loss to Vanderbilt began a three-game slide from which the Irish never recovered. Coach Tracy Coyne’s squad will look to avoid that same fate beginning Sunday, when the Irish travel to Piscataway, N.J., to take on Rutgers.