Feb. 14, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The No. 10 University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team wrapped up a four-game home swing with a 21-9 victory over Marquette on Tuesday at Loftus Sports Center.
The Irish (3-1) improved to 5-0 all-time against the Golden Eagles (0-2) and have now won three straight.
Notre Dame opened the game with a goal from senior Casey Pearsall to give the Irish a 1-0 lead for the third time this season.
Marquette fought back and scored two goals within 16 seconds, but the Irish and sophomore Nikki Ortega quickly responded with a 4-0 run to put Notre Dame up, 5-2. Ortega contributed four goals and two assists in the first half, giving Notre Dame a 12-6 advantage at halftime.
Notre Dame used another 4-0 run to open the second half, including goals from sophomores Samantha Lynch and Makenna Pearsall, junior Sydney Cardozo and senior Casey Pearsall. Nine Irish players finished with a goal in the game, including six different players in the second half.
Sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Giacolone finished with nine saves in 56:16 of action.
Halfpenny said she thought Notre Dame’s speed was the difference in the game.
“We talked about contesting everything and using our God-given talents so that we could use our speed everywhere,” she said. “We felt like if we did that, the result would come our way.
“We have a ton of respect for Marquette. They never went away. They contested everything. Their offense is clearly very, very put together and deep. When they did connect, their goals were effortless and beautiful.”
Player of the Game
Irish sophomore Nikki Ortega collected a career-high seven points on four goals and three assists. Ortega, who had previously recorded six points versus Liberty on February 10, matched her career high with four goals in the game.
Ortega’s 18 points this season -- including seven goals and 11 assists -- rank second on Notre Dame’s roster, behind senior Cortney Fortunato’s 24.
“We have a complete team this year,” Halfpenny said. “Seeing how everybody is so in-sync and everybody understands their role, they’re doing a great job of looking for opportunities. They are sticking within the framework we have. There are minimal rules on offense; there’s some organization, but the framework allows for so much creativity. Overall, I’m thrilled.”
Stat of the Game
One game after tying the school record with 22 draw controls, Notre Dame once again demonstrated its ability to control the ball and to maintain possession. On Tuesday, the Irish were successful on 12 of 15 clear attempts, compared to Marquette’s 9-18 mark.
The Irish own an .818 clearing percentage this season as they have been successful on 45 of 55 clear attempts.
“Something that we’ve talked about early on and something that we thought we’d see is how dominant our midfield is,” Halfpenny said. “Now that we’re four games in, they are dominating. It’s so exciting to see. I don’t think we’ve had that here -- not in my tenure. To see this whole crew of kids contributing is so exciting to see. Everybody’s taking a little pressure off of each other, which is great.”
Coming Up Next
The Irish return to action on Saturday against Michigan, where they are scheduled to play outdoors at the Big House. Stay tuned for broadcast information.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.