ND Women’s Lacrosse
ND upsets Wildcats
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, March 6, 2014
No. 13 Notre Dame upset No. 4 Northwestern by a score of 9-8 in Lake Barrington Field House on Wednesday night.
The Irish (4-2) outshot the Wildcats (3-1), 33-21, and grabbed more ground balls (21 to 15) while committing five fewer turnovers in a back-and-forth contest that came down to the last minutes of the game.
Freshman attack Cortney Fortunato scored the first goal 11 seconds into play, and sophomore midfield Brie Custis ran down the field and sank a shot to increase the lead to two at 17:17. Just over a minute later, senior attack Alyssa Leonard scored the first goal of the night for the Wildcats, but Irish junior midfield Caitlin Gargan notched the last goal of the half with a diving shot into the net with 6:13 remaining in the period.
Northwestern grabbed the first goal coming out of halftime, but sophomore attack Kiera McMullan put the Irish back up by two with 26:30 to go even though Notre Dame was playing a man down due to a yellow card. The next time the Irish committed a penalty, however, the Wildcats scored to pull within one. They tied the game up for the first time with 21:52 remaining, and then grabbed the lead less than a minute later.
Freshman attack Heidi Annaheim scored to bring the Irish even with the Wildcats again, and Fortunato notched another goal to give the Irish a 6-5 advantage with 15:42 left on the clock.
Northwestern tied the score five minutes later and soon added two more goals as the minutes slipped away. Sophomore attack Rachel Sexton stopped the bleeding and pulled the Irish within one with a goal at 2:55, and 30 seconds later she and Fortunato teamed up to level the score at 8-8. With just over a minute remaining, senior attack Lauren Sullivan got past the Northwestern goalie to score the winning goal.
Fortunato earned her fourth hat trick in her sixth collegiate contest, while junior goalkeeper Allie Murray saved eight shots.
The win is a significant one for the Irish, who have usually come up short against a Northwestern squad that won seven national championships between 2005 and 2012.
Notre Dame returns home to play Louisville in the Loftus Sports Center at 1 p.m. Saturday.