April 14, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Behind 14 saves from senior goalie Ellie Hilling and four second-half goals from sophomore Caitlin Gargan, the No. 5/6 University of Notre Dame women's lacrosse team outlasted No. 8/8 Georgetown, 13-12, in BIG EAST action Sunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium.
Despite losing the battle in nearly every major category, the Irish used efficiency on the offensive end to put the ball in the back of the net 13 times on only 22 shots compared to 12 goals on 37 shots for the Hoyas.
The game witnessed several offensive flurries from both teams as Notre Dame scored two or more consecutive goals four times, while Georgetown accomplished the feat on three occasions.
With the game tied at four coming out of the halftime break, the Irish quickly took an 8-4 lead on the strength of two consecutive goals from Gargan and one each from Jenny Granger and Lindsay Powell that all came within the half's first eight minutes. Gargan's first two came within 1:31 of each other and just 2:48 into the half. Gargan finished the day with a game-high four goals, which tied her career high that she set earlier this season against Villanova.
The Hoyas quickly responded with four goals over the next eight minutes to tie the contest at eight. The tying goal came from the stick of Dina Jackson off a nice feed from Rosie Corcoran.
Georgetown trimmed the lead to 11-9 with 5:55 left after Meghan Farrell scored off a pass from Hannah Franklin. However, the Irish answered with two more goals of their own to seemingly put the game out of reach. Gargan scored her fourth goal of the game off a pass from Granger, while Sullivan tallied her second goal of the contest after receiving a feed from Toy.
Trailing by four with under a minute to go in regulation, Georgetown refused to give up, tallying three goals within 54 seconds to nearly send the game to an improbable overtime.
Farrell scored just seconds after a ground ball pickup from Corcoran with 54 seconds left to make the score 13-10. On the ensuing draw, Sophia Thomas struck pay dirt after Casey McGowan controlled the draw and passed to Thomas to move the score to 13-11. Nearly 30 seconds later after Notre Dame controlled the ball right in front of its own goal, an opportune Kelsi Bozel scooped up a ground ball off an Irish turnover and made a nifty behind the back toss into the back of the net to cut the margin to one with 13 seconds remaining.
Georgetown had a chance to conclude the improbable comeback with just seconds remaining in the game after winning its 12th draw control of the half, but a Hoya turnover with three seconds remaining ended the scare and improved Notre Dame to 11-1 overall and 5-1 in the BIG EAST.
Besides taking 15 more shots than the Irish, the Hoyas also out-drew Notre Dame, 17-10, had more free position opportunities, 10-1, and had less fouls, 39-12, and turnovers, 21-15.
Hilling, however, evened the playing field as she stopped shot after shot from Georgetown players, including several from point-blank range. The 14 saves were a season high for the Rochester, N.Y., native, who has reached double digits in stops four times this season, including two games in a row. Hilling also tied her career high for the fifth time with a game-high six ground balls. She picked up her 10th win of the season and moved into first place in school history with 496 career saves and into fourth place in school history with 144 ground balls. Hilling is now tops in school history for goalies in games played and started (66), saves and minutes played (3,881:58).
On the offensive end for the Irish, Gargan led the way with four goals, while Powell, L. Sullivan and Toy each had two. Toy also added an assist for a three-point day. Granger, Betsy Mastropieri and Brie Custis all scored a goal and dished out an assist.
Georgetown was led by Thomas' three goals and Farrell's two. Corcoran ended with three assists.
Talented goalie Barb Black had a tough day in the cage, giving up 13 goals, while making just four saves in 56:48 of action before being relieved by backup Megan McDonald.
Notre Dame continues its brutal BIG EAST stretch as it hits the road to meet No. 5/6 Syracuse at 7 p.m. Friday before heading to Storrs, Conn., to battle the No. 18/RV Huskies at 12 p.m. Sunday. Friday's game against the Orange will be broadcast live from the Carrier Dome by CBS Sports Network.
A streaky first half saw just four goals for either team, but the majority came in bunches. After the Irish opened up with a quick goal off the opening draw as Powell roared down the field to put it in the back of the net, Georgetown totaled three goals in just over eight minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Notre Dame made quite a quick comeback though, scoring three goals to take a 4-3 lead in just a 1:04. After Custis cut the lead to 3-2 off a pass from Mastropieri, the latter forced a foul on Black and was given an empty-goal free position opportunity. The Richmond, Va., product capitalized on the easy chance to tie the game at three.
Toy gave the Irish a 4-3 lead at 5:36 before the Hoyas tied the game up heading into halftime as Thomas scored the equalizer with 58 seconds remaining.
POST GAME QUOTES - Christine Halfpenny
Re: Hilling's performance in goal ...
"She was absolutely critical to our success today. I think those eight first half saves really fueled our team and basically our offense looked at Ellie and said `you are making those stops we are going to go ahead and do our job and take better care of the ball in the second half.' After we got warmed we did just that and made our run. But it's not just Ellie's stops; it's how she disrupts other team's offenses. She makes some great plays outside the crease and is able to come up with some major ground balls. Her poise and her clears have been crucial to us all season."
Re: Game of runs ...
"You had two top-10 teams coming at each other and when we both found our rhythm we were hard to stop. When we had our crisp passing and were talking I think we were able to do what we wanted to do. We have to found ways to get out of those little lulls because our defense is strong enough to come up with a couple more stops. We were able to stop some momentum out of timeouts and actually respond out of timeouts today which is massive for us heading into next weekend."
Re: Responding from Friday's loss ...
"I think we were just really focused. I love that my team came out loose and relaxed and they went for it. I told them to go for it and play our game and if we do good things will happen. I told them not to look at the scoreboard and just know what each other needs at every point of the game and credit to them they did just that - all 31 of them. Our bench was amazing. The way our players came off the bench was unreal. I thought the freshman and sophomores that came off the bench were amazing today and were critical to our team's success."
NOTES: In addition to the records Hilling set, Granger moved into 10th in school history in career goals (84) and into a tie for 10th in career assists (43), while Smith is now eighth in school history in draw controls (100) and caused turnovers (68).