May 3, 2012
Syracuse, N.Y. - The No. 2 seed Loyola Greyhounds outscored the No. 3 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6-3 in the second half to overcome a one-goal halftime deficit and defeat the Irish, 11-9, to advance to the finals of the 2012 BIG EAST Women's Lacrosse Championship on Thursday night at the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University.
The Irish (13-4) must now wait until Sunday night to see if they will earn an at-large spot in the 16-team NCAA Tournament that begins next weekend at the home venues of the top-eight seeds.
Loyola scored a pair of goals in the first eight minutes of the second half to take its first lead of the contest at 7-6. The teams traded goals until senior Megan Sullivan tied the score at eight with a free position shot at 19:02. However, untimely turnovers by the Irish and stellar second-half goalie play from Kerry Stoothoff allowed the Greyhounds to go on a 3-0 run 18:05 to 7:45 to secure an insurmountable three-goal lead. The Irish trimmed the lead to 11-9 on a Maggie Tamasitis' goal and the squad had a couple of late chances to even the score, but the Greyhounds played keep away to close out the contest.
Despite outdrawing the Greyhounds 15-7, the Irish struggled all night in scooping up ground balls (20-12) and scoring from the free position (1-for-6). Second-half turnovers also hurt Notre Dame as it committed nine to just five for Loyola. The Greyhounds were very efficient offensively in the second half as they shot only nine times, but scored on six of them. Notre Dame on the other hand tallied 14 shots but scored on only three of them.
In a losing effort, Jenny Granger tallied two goals and two assists, while Tamasitis chipped in with a pair of goals and one helper. In all seven Irish players found the back of the net.
Goalie Ellie Hilling (12-4) suffered the loss as she allowed 11 goals, while stopping eight Loyola shots.
Stoothoff (12-5) also tallied eight saves, but had four key stops in the second half to help preserve the Loyola lead.
The Irish controlled much of the action in the first half, but could never build more than a two-goal lead, eventually taking a 6-5 advantage into the break. Loyola picked up a key final goal with five seconds left in the half to cut a two-goal deficit to one heading into the locker room.
Notre Dame used the draw control (7-5) to maintain possession and spread the ball around as five different players tallied goals in the half.
Notre Dame scored its six goals on only 12 shots as opposed to Loyola's 16 shots for its five goals. Hilling stopped seven Greyhound shots.