ND Women’s Lacrosse
Irish top Wolverines in first road test of season
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, February 21, 2017
No. 11 Notre Dame defeated Michigan, 12-5, in an anything-but-ordinary setting Saturday, as the two teams took the field of Michigan’s “Big House” with the mid-February temperature bordering on 70 degrees.
Irish sophomore midfielder Samantha Lynch led the way, striking first and giving the Irish (4-1) a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game. Senior attack Cortney Fortunato quickly followed Lynch, scoring on a free position shot. However, the Wolverines (0-3), went on a 3-0 run to gain the lead midway through the first period.
Notre Dame made defensive adjustments that allowed it to combat the Wolverines’ offensive attack, as the Irish quickly regained the lead courtesy of a free position shot from Lynch and a goal by junior midfielder Molly Cobb. The Irish did not give up their lead for the remainder of the game, and Fortunato scored one more goal to cap off Notre Dame’s own 3-0 run to end the half.
The Irish struggled in terms of draw controls in the first period, only securing two of the half’s nine draws. In the second half, however, they were able to turn the struggle around, controlling six of 10 draws in the period.
Notre Dame dominated both offensively and defensively in the second period, outscoring the Wolverines 7-2 in the half. This was due, in part, to sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Giacolone’s seven saves in the period. This, combined with her five stops in the first half, gave Giacolone a season-high 12 saves, which was just one short of her career-best mark.
While the Wolverines struck first in the second period, the Irish fired back with another 3-0 run, as senior midfielder Casey Pearsall scored twice and Fortunato added a third goal to her tally for the day, assisted by freshman midfielder Savannah Buchanan.
Michigan scored its final goal of the day with over 17:39 left on the clock, leaving the Irish to go on a final run in which they scored four unanswered goals. Cobb scored her second goal of the night with the help of sophomore attack Nikki Ortega, and Fortunato added two more to her total on the game, one of which came on a free position shot. The final goal of the night was a sister act, as Casey Pearsall passed the ball off to her younger sister, sophomore midfielder Makenna Pearsall, who scored with 21 seconds left on the clock and solidified Notre Dame’s 12-5 win over Michigan.
Fortunato paced the Irish, finishing the game with five goals and further solidifying her status as Notre Dame’s leading scorer, as she now has 23 goals and 29 points in five games this season. Lynch, who made just her third career start against the Wolverines, sits just behind Fortunato with 16 goals.
Notre Dame’s road trip will continue when it travels to Burlington, North Carolina, to take on Elon on Thursday. The Phoenix (4-0) are currently unranked but sit just outside the top-20 after edging out then-No. 13 Virginia on Feb. 11. First draw is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Rudd Field.