March 4, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- A dominant second half by the Irish offense helped the No. 7 University of Notre Dame women's lacrosse team top No. 20 Louisville, 9-7, on Saturday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium.
Playing its first outdoor home game of the season, the Irish (7-1) once again used a decisive second half to overcome Louisville's (6-2) early lead. Notre Dame went on a 6-2 run, beginning at the eight-second mark of the first half, to regain the lead and take down its second conference opponent in as many tries.
The Irish have won seven straight games and two consecutive games against ranked opponents.
How It Happened
The Irish and the Cardinals exchanged goals for much of the first half. Louisville opened with an early 1-0 lead, but the Irish responded and eventually built a 3-2 lead over the Cardinals, courtesy of goals from seniors Cortney Fortunato and Grace Muller and freshman Savannah Buchanan.
Junior Molly Cobb joined the action with just eight seconds remaining in the half, scoring and sending the Irish into halftime down, 5-4. The half consisted of four lead changes.
Notre Dame, which has experienced incredible success in the second frame this season, wasted no time evening the score. Cobb scored on an assist from Fortunato at the 24:25 mark of the second half, tying the game, 5-5.
Just minutes later, sophomore Samantha Lynch connected on another Fortunato pass to give Notre Dame a 6-5 lead, its second lead of the game. The Irish continued their second-half dominance with goals from sophomore Nikki Ortega and freshman Erin McBride.
Notre Dame outscored Louisville, 5-2, in the second half to wrap up its second conference game with a 9-7 victory.
Player of the Game
Senior and co-captain Katherine Eilers collected a career-high four ground balls, leading a defense that limited a top-20 team to just seven goals. Eilers also caused two turnovers in the game.
Eilers has 10 ground balls and seven caused turnovers this season.
"The team was outstanding, top to bottom," Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said. "The defense really fueled our offense today. I couldn't be more proud of the job our defense did today, anchored by Sam Giacolone with Alex Dalton and Katherine Eilers."
Stat of the Game
The Irish, which entered the game ranked fifth in the country in scoring offense (16.57), managed 36 shots in a game that featured two aggressive defenses. The Cardinals, on the other hand, shot the ball just 19 times. Notre Dame was limited to just nine goals -- the fewest of the season -- but it certainly won the shooting battle.
Notre Dame took 25 shots on goal, while the Cardinals only recorded 16.
- With the win, the Irish improved to 8-2 all-time against Louisville and 4-1 against the Cardinals at home.
- Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 65-24 in the second half this season.
- Notre Dame is 1-0 in games in which it scores fewer than 10 goals.
- Fortunato's three assists moved her into sole possession of fifth place in the Notre Dame all-time record book with 75 career assists. Fortunato is one assist shy of tying Crysti Foote, who currently stands in fourth with 76.
Coming Up Next
The Irish return to action against Ohio State at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Arlotta Stadium. Admission to all regular-season home games is free to all fans.
The game will be broadcast by the ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.
For a closer, behind-the-scenes look at the Irish women's lacrosse team, follow @NDWomensLax on Twitter.
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.