March 4, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Behind a career-high 16 saves from goalkeeper Ellie Hilling and five assists from senior Maggie Tamasitis, the No. 14 Notre Dame women's lacrosse team rolled into Columbus, Ohio on Sunday and knocked off the No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes, 16-7, in convincing fashion at Ohio Stadium.
In a game that was never in doubt, the Irish (3-0) kept the pressure on Ohio State (5-1) from beginning to end, scoring eight goals in each period, while Hilling stopped shot after shot from the high-scoring Buckeyes, who entered the contest averaging over 17 goals a game.
"This win was a total team effort going back to this past week as we were preparing," said head coach Christine Halfpenny. "We started and ended the game really well and displayed balanced scoring throughout."
The Irish jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead behind goals from four different scorers. After a pair of quick Buckeye goals cut the lead to 4-2, Notre Dame responded with four more goals to push the lead to 8-2. Two more OSU goals trimmed the Irish lead to 8-4 entering the half.
In the second half the Irish continued scoring in spurts as they took a 9-5 lead and made it 13-5 in just over three minutes. After OSU scored a pair of goals to cut the lead to 13-7 with 14:55 left in the game, Notre Dame squelched any hope for a comeback with three more goals to give the game its final margin.
The Buckeyes managed 17 shots in the second half, but Hilling had no thoughts of allowing a comeback, as she made nine saves in allowing only three second half goals. Notre Dame on the other hand, scored eight goals on only 12 shots in the second half. Overall, the Irish were extremely efficient, scoring 16 goals on 26 shots.
"Ellie had a monster game for us," said Halfpenny. "To limit a high-scoring team like Ohio State to four goals in the first half and three in the second is very impressive."
The 16 saves topped her previous high of 15, which came in a 13-10 win vs. Georgetown last year. The Rochester, N.Y., native also collected a team-high six ground balls and caused two turnovers.
On offense the Irish were led by Tamasitis and her five helpers, and Kaitlyn Brosco, Megan Sullivan, Jaimie Morrison and Lindsay Powell, who all turned in hat tricks. Sullivan scored her three goals on only four shots, and also chipped in three draw controls and two caused turnovers.
Sophomore Margaret Smith had her usual solid all-around game as she scored a goal, dished out an assist, had four ground balls and four draw controls and caused three turnovers.
"Our midfielders had a really impressive game," said Halfpenny. "When you can have midfielders that can make plays on both of the offensive and defensive ends, the entire team is going to benefit."
The Irish continue their four game road trip next week with a trio of Spring Break opponents. Notre Dame opens the break with a game at Boston University next Saturday at 3 p.m. The squad then heads to Florida where they will battle a pair of Ivy League teams. The first game will be against Yale on March 13 in Delray Beach. The 7 p.m. contest will be the feature game of the annual SpringFling Tournament. Notre Dame closes out the Florida trip with a 12 p.m. game against Cornell on March 17. As a note for fans, the noon start is different from the original 2 p.m. announced time.
With her five assists, Tamasitis extended her consecutive games with a point streak to an even 40. She also upped her career assist total to 103, which is just three behind Gina Scioscia (106) on the all-time Notre Dame career list.
Notre Dame has now scored 50 goals in three games, which is the most for an Irish team since the 2008 squad tallied 52 goals to open the year.
With her third hat trick in as many games, sophomore Lindsay Powell upped her team-leading goal total for the year to 11. Also scoring in bunches so far this year are junior Jaimie Morrison (9) and senior Megan Sullivan (7).
With the win against the Buckeyes, the Irish up their all-time record to 10-7, including an impressive 6-2 mark away from South Bend.