ND Women’s Lacrosse
Irish ground Golden Eagles
Katie Heit | Thursday, March 20, 2014
Coming off a loss to No. 2 Maryland, the No. 6 Irish blew past Marquette, 12-5, in their first game played in Arlotta Stadium this season.
“This is exactly what we thought we would see,” Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said. “They are a second-year program, so they’re still young. This is probably one of the games in the country where you’re seeing the most sophomores and freshman combined. The aggressive early double team was exactly what we thought we would see.”Notre Dame (7-3, 1-3 ACC) started off quickly with two goals in the first five minutes of the game from sophomore attack Kiera McMullan and freshman attack Cortney Fortunato.
Fortunato snuck past the defenders again during the 14th minute and knocked one in to bring the score to 3-0.
After some back and forth, the Golden Eagles (3-4) were able to pick up some ground, scoring their first and only goal of the first half with 9:34 remaining in the period.
The Irish were able to shut down the Marquette offense while taking control of the ball. With 4:11 remaining in the first half, sophomore attack Michele Phillips brought the score to 4-1. Junior midfielder Caitlin Gargan finished out the half with a goal with 1:20 remaining. A last ditch effort by the Golden Eagles wasn’t enough and they finished out the half at 5-1.
The Irish kicked off the second half with a bang. Fortunato notched her second goal of the game at the 27-minute mark. Ten seconds later, McMullan took the assist from freshman midfielder Casey Pearsall and brought the Irish score to 7-1.
Notre Dame continued to dominate on offense until the final seven minutes of the game. With the score at 12-2, Marquette managed three goals in the final 4:21 of the game to bring the final score the 12-5.
Of the 12 Irish goals, six involved assists, an area Halfpenny said Notre Dame has been trying to improve upon.
“That’s how we know we’re coming together,” Halfpenny said. “On our free position we went 5 percent, another area we’ve really been focusing on. We want to make that a 70 perfect outing for us. That’s improvement from that last game. That’s really our focus.”
Freshman goalkeeper Liz O’Sullivan, who played the first full 60 minutes of her college career due to junior goalkeeper Allie Murray’s injury, had 11 saves in the game.
“Liz O’Sullivan stepped in and what an outing to step in and play your first 60 minute full-collegiate game as a rookie, with 11 saves and only giving up five,” Halfpenny said. “Kudos to her and a huge round of applause for the defense in front of her.”
Next, the Irish will make their fifth road trip of the month to take on Villanova on Sunday at 12 p.m.
“Villanova (4-3) is now on a third year with their new head coach,” Halfpenny said. “They like to possess the ball. They have a strong goalkeeper between the pipes and they have had some close matchups so far this year. We’re excited to continue to travel and improve and push the fast breaks that we saw today.”
The Irish will head to Villanova without junior defense Barbara Sullivan, who is officially out for the remainder of the season with an injury.
“It’s really unfortunate to lose someone of Barbara’s caliber,” Halfpenny said. “She’s certainly a game-changer. But kudos to our team to come out and win on the draw, which is really where Barbara’s been helping us out.”
Halfpenny said Sullivan’s role will not be diminished on the sideline.
“She’ll be stepping in as a player-coach now and so we’re really excited to see her grow in her game,” Halfpenny said.
The Irish are back in action on Sunday in Villanova, Pa., when they take on the Wildcats at 12 p.m.