March 22, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Behind eight saves and five ground balls from senior goalie Ellie Hilling and a ferocious Irish defense that limited No. 19/RV Rutgers to just one goal in the first half, the No. 7/7 University of Notre Dame women's lacrosse team took down the Scarlet Knights, 9-6, Friday night at Arlotta Stadium to move to 7-0 on the season.
In a low scoring affair, the Irish jumped out to a 3-0 lead early and maintained at least a two goal advantage throughout the contest. Neither team was efficient on offense, especially in the first half as the Irish found the back of the net just three times on 15 shots, while the Scarlet Knights scored just once on nine shots. The poor offensive showing was in part to a pair of impressive performances in the goal, as Hilling stopped eight shots, while her counterpart Rutgers goalie Lily Kalata had 10 saves, including eight in the first half.
Notre Dame jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead as senior Jenny Granger scored twice in the first seven minutes off feeds from senior Jaimie Morrison and freshman Stephanie Peragallo. Peragallo's first career assist came after a nifty caused turnover and ground ball and ultimately a pass to Granger, who sealed the deal to move the score to 2-0. Stephanie Toy improved the lead to 3-0 five minutes later with a free-position goal.
The Scarlet Knights got on the board with 6:49 left in the first half on a goal from Annie McGinley, the first of three on the day for her.
The second half saw the Irish maintain their lead, taking a 5-2 lead on a goal from Shauna Pugliese at 23:59. Rutgers cut the lead to 5-3 at 23:04 after a goal from Megan Clements, but Notre Dame scored four of the next five goals to put the game away. Granger found Morrison and Lauren Sullivan twice within four minutes to move the score to 7-3, and then juniors Kaitlyn Brosco and Lindsay Powell scored within 22 seconds of each other to make the margin 9-4. Rutgers added a pair of goals in the final five minutes to give the game its final margin.
Seven Irish players scored goals, led by Granger and Powell, who each found the back of the net twice. Granger also dished out a team-high two assists.
Notre Dame had a strong defensive effort as four student-athletes scooped up three or more ground balls led by Hilling's five. Peragallo, junior All-American Margaret Smith and junior Grace Dooley each had three. Sophomore Barbara Sullivan grabbed three draw controls in the circle. Peragallo led the team with two caused turnovers. She also had her first career assist. Notre Dame forced 25 Rutgers turnovers to 15 for the Irish.
Hilling's impressive play between the pipes added to her legacy in the Irish record books as she is now in sole possession of first place in career wins for goalies to go along with her place at the top in games and minutes played. The Rochester, N.Y., native also sits in third in career saves (450).
The Irish improved to 1-0 in the BIG EAST and welcome in league foe Villanova to Arlotta Stadium for a 1 p.m. Sunday contest.