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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Irish finish regular season with loss at Boston College

| Monday, April 24, 2017

The draw decided the day between No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 15 Boston College on Saturday, as the Irish struggled to gain second-half possessions in a 16-10 defeat to the Eagles.

The Irish (11-6, 4-3 ACC) took an early advantage, scoring the opening two goals and leading 4-1 after 10 minutes thanks to a goal from senior attack Grace Muller, but the Eagles (12-5, 3-4) tied the game at 5-5 with under than three minutes remaining in the first half. However the Irish scored two goals in the final minute of the half as Muller converted a free position shot before senior midfielder Alex Dalton gave the Irish a 7-5 lead at the break. Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said she felt her team played very well during the first half.

Irish sophomore attack Samantha Lynch dodges a defender during Notre Dame's 16-13 win over Ohio State on March 7 at Arlotta Stadium.Kathleen Donahue | The Observer
Irish sophomore attack Samantha Lynch dodges a defender during Notre Dame’s 16-13 win over Ohio State on March 7 at Arlotta Stadium.

“I felt really good about what we were able to do in the first half — how we were able to move the ball, share the ball and get both fast break and settled opportunities,” Halfpenny said. “I was happy with our defense too, we held Boston College to three shot clock expirations, three times where we held them for 90 seconds and forced a turnover. So that’s really exciting for us and absolutely something we’re pumped to build off of.”

At that point, the Irish trailed the Eagles in draw controls 8-5, but in the second half Notre Dame won only three out of 15, and Boston College used their possession advantage to take control of the game.

The Irish led 9-8 with 20 minutes remaining thanks to a goal from senior midfielder Casey Pearsall, but Boston College won the ensuing draw, and then the following six, and scored seven unanswered goals to lead 15-9 with 7:24 remaining. Halfpenny identified the draw as the main reason for the Eagles run.

“We weren’t able to win enough draws to compete with BC in the second half,” Halfpenny said. “We actually were able to get the ball where we wanted to, we were winning it to our side of the field, but BC was doing a much better job of getting that quick first step to it and corralling it in traffic, so they were able to get into a make-it-take-it game in the second half, which really unfortunately kept us from scoring in that drought. We just didn’t have the ball.”

Although a goal from Savannah Buchanan ended the run, the Eagles struck back less than 30 seconds later and held on to win 16-10.

Pearsall led the Irish with three goals, as well as one assist, two ground balls and five draw controls. Sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Giacolone recorded 15 saves, to bring her total to 159 for the season, the most since Erin Goodman in 2009 and the most in a regular season since Carol Dixon’s 164 in 2006. Halfpenny said Giacolone’s performances were consistently highlights of the season.

“She’s continuing to have outstanding performances,” Halfpenny said.“In a day where we didn’t get the amount of possession we needed to not only to neutralize BC but also to compete for a win, Sam did a great job to keep us in the game.”

The Irish as a team recorded only six caused turnovers, despite averaging 11.38 going into the game. The team lost 20 draw controls in total during the game, the most since a 17-11 defeat to Northwestern last season when the Irish also gave up 20 draw controls.

The defeat means that the Irish fall to the fourth seed for the ACC Tournament. With victory for the Eagles securing them the fifth seed, the two teams are set to meet for the second time in six days in the conference tournament. The rematch will begin at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond, Virginia.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Contact Daniel