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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish roll past Golden Eagles in Senior-Day surge

Brian Hartnett | Monday, April 29, 2013

On Senior Day at Arlotta Stadium, it was only fitting that the bulk of No. 10 Notre Dame’s offensive production came from its fourth-year players.

Senior attackers Betsy Mastropieri, Jaimie Morrison and Jenny Granger combined to score eight goals and lead the Irish to a 14-5 victory over Marquette on Saturday.

“You want your team to show up and have a little extra motivation to give those seven seniors that have worked so hard for four years what they want,” Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said. “[The seniors] came here to win, and we gave them that win on Senior Day.”

Marquette freshman midfielder Hayley Baas put the Golden Eagles (2-15) on the board with a goal 48 seconds into the game. But the Irish (12-4, 6-3 Big East) quickly struck back, as Mastropieri scored on an assist from Granger at the 28:31 mark, and sophomore midfielder Caitlin Gargan added a goal off a Granger assist just 22 seconds later.

“I think the game got started in the right fashion with seniors putting the ball in the back of the net right of the gate, with the one-two punch from Betsy and Jenny again having a hand in the next assist to Caitlin Gargan,” Halfpenny said. 

From there, Notre Dame never looked back, as it scored the next four goals to open up a 6-1 lead. After Baas added another goal, the Irish found the net twice at the end of the half to take an 8-2 lead into halftime. 

Notre Dame continued its scoring streak into the second half, scoring the first three goals of the half. The Irish outscored the Golden Eagles, 6-3, in the second frame to earn the 14-5 victory.

Halfpenny said she was proud of her team’s effort against the Golden Eagles, who are in their inaugural season at the Division I level.

“Obviously, we were playing a first-year program today, and they gave us everything they had and showed up to compete, so credit to Marquette that they did really show up and play hard,” Halfpenny said. “But for our team to show up and play hard for our seniors, that was a really special thing for us.”

Mastropieri scored four goals on the day, while Morrison had a hat trick and Granger added a goal and four assists. Junior attacker Lindsay Powell finished with three goals, and Gargan contributed two of her own.

Senior goalkeeper Ellie Hilling, who has the most wins of any goalkeeper in Irish program history, earned her 44th career victory. 

Overall, all 31 players on the Irish roster, including senior midfielder McKenzie Brown, senior goalkeeper Adele Bruggeman and senior defender Emily Conner, saw playing time against the Golden Eagles. 

Halfpenny said the extra playing time also benefitted many of the team’s freshmen and sophomores.

“I think we continue to see confidence grow [in the freshmen and sophomores],” Halfpenny said. “When we see the ball hit the back of the net where most of our youth is, which is down on offense and in the midfield, they just get more belief in the system we’re running.”

As a result of No. 7 Georgetown’s 9-6 victory over No. 16 Connecticut on Friday night, the Irish will not make the four-team Big East tournament, which begins Thursday in Washington D.C. With its RPI of 10, Notre Dame will likely receive an at-large bid to the 26-team NCAA tournament, which begins May 10.

Halfpenny said the Irish would use the extra time off to work on improving areas of their game in preparation for postseason play.

“The first thing we’re going to do is rest and recover, and the second thing we’re going to do is get comfortable in going back to the drawing board and fine-tuning pieces of our game that we haven’t fine-tuned in the last month’s stretch,” Halfpenny said. “We’re excited to go back to the drawing board and build off all the positives we’ve seen in the last nine games.”

Contact Brian Hartnett at [email protected]