April 15, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- On a picture perfect, sunny day, the No. 11 University of Notre Dame women's lacrosse team celebrated its Senior Day with a 13-9 victory over No. 18 Virginia Tech on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.
Notre Dame (11-5, 4-2) defeated Virginia Tech (11-6, 2-4) to secure a winning record in Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season play for the second consecutive season.
The Irish seniors certainly rose to the occasion in their final regular-season home game, recording 15 points on 10 goals and five assists. Defensively, the Class of 2017 collected 16 ground balls, seven caused turnovers and six draw controls.
"It was a great overall effort," senior Katherine Eilers said. "The past four years all coming together in one game. It was bittersweet, but we have really great memories. I'm just impressed by our effort."
How It Happened
Senior Heidi Annaheim appropriately opened the scoring on Notre Dame's Senior Day, putting the Irish up, 1-0. The Hokies responded with three straight goals within the next 10:24 of the game.
At the 15:33 mark of the first half, No. 21 Grace Muller scored her 21st goal of the season, coming off No. 24 Casey Pearsall's 24th assist of the season.
The Irish added three goals in the final 3:00, including two goals from Annaheim and senior Cortney Fortunato within 24 seconds.
"You could tell that when we went into our lulls, we thought about how this might be one of our last games at Arlotta and that we needed to win," Eilers said. "We dug a little deeper and we did it for each other."
Notre Dame, which entered the game 8-0 in games in which it led at halftime, led, 5-4, at halftime.
The Hokies scored two goals within the first 1:02 of the second half, tying the game and eventually regaining a 6-5 lead.
Trailing 7-6 with 13:46 on the clock, Fortunato scored her second goal of the day and recorded her 300th career point to tie the game at 7-7.
"She's a stud," Pearsall said of Fortunato. "I love that girl. She works so hard, and it all shows on the field."
The Irish outscored the Hokies, 6-2, in the duration of the game to win, 13-9.
"It was bittersweet," Pearsall said. "I stood in the middle of the draw circle at the start of the game and was like, `This is awesome.' I looked around and saw I was playing on the field with my best friends. To take that in and be grateful for that was really good."
Player of the Game
Annaheim played arguably her best game in an Irish uniform on Senior Day, scoring two goals and recording one assist. Annaheim, who returned from injury earlier this season, led Notre Dame's attack with both goals coming in the first half.
Annaheim added four ground balls in the game.
In seven games this season, the attacker has recorded nine goals, four assists and 13 points.
Stat of the Game
Notre Dame is 9-0 in games in which its opponent scores fewer than 10 goals. The Irish limited Virginia Tech to nine goals in the game, including just four first-half goals.
Coming Up Next
Notre Dame will play its final regular-season game against No. 19 Boston College at noon ET on Saturday, April 22, at the Newton Campus Lax & Soccer Field (Newton, Massachusetts).
For a closer, behind-the-scenes look at the Irish women's lacrosse program, follow @NDWomensLax on Twitter and ndwlax on Snapchat.
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.