May 15, 2010
Evanston, Ill. - The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team saw its 2010 season come to an end on Saturday afternoon at Northwestern's Lakeside Field as the Wildcats handed the Irish a 19-7 loss in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Northwestern, the five-time defending NCAA champions, snapped a 3-3 first-half tie with 17:07 left in the opening stanza and outscored Notre Dame by a 16-4 margin over the final 43 minutes of the game.
Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Katrina Dowd paced the Wildcat offense with five goals and three assist for eight points in the game. Teammate Shannon Smith added eight points of her own with four goals and four assists. Erin Fitzgerald scored three times with Danielle Spencer and Ali Cassera scoring two each and Brooke Matthews, Alex Frank and Kim Pantages notching a goal apiece.
The Irish were led by leading scorer Gina Scioscia who had a goal and set up three others for four points in the final game of her career. Freshman Jenny Granger scored twice with Megan Sullivan, Ansley Stewart, Maggie Tamasitis and Kailene Abt getting one goal each.
The loss ends Notre Dame's 2010 campaign with an 11-7 record. Northwestern improves to 18-1 on the year and will host either Duke or Vanderbilt in the second round of the tournament next Saturday in Evanston. The loss was the 10th straight for the Irish against the Wildcats dating back to the 2004 season and the third time that the Northwestern has eliminated the Irish in NCAA play (2004, 2008 and 2010).
"I thought that we got off to a strong start," said Irish head coach Tracy Coyne.
"Then, halfway through the first half we made some forced errors and some unforced errors and we seemed unable to recover from that."
Matthews opened the scoring at 27:35 of the first half and Northwestern made it 2-0 at 24:00 when Smith got her first of four in the game, but Notre Dame answered right back.
Scioscia bounced a shot past Wildcat goalkeeper Brianne LoManto at 23:31 and then set up Stewart at 21:08 to tie the game at 2-2.
Dowd assisted on Smith's second goal of the game at 19:33 but it to took the Irish just 13 seconds to make it 3-3.
Sullivan was awarded a free-position shot with 19:20 left in the half to the right of LoManto. Instead of shooting she passed the ball to Granger on the doorstep and the freshman midfielder whipped a shot into the right corner of the goal to even the score at three.
Dowd broke the tie with her first goal of the contest at 17:07 to start a six-goal run for Northwestern, including four goals in 1:12 to make it 9-3. Tamasitis broke the run off a Scioscia set up at 4:55 before the Wildcats closed the half with a pair of goals for and 11-4 halftime lead.
In the opening half, the team that controlled the draw was in control of the play.
"The draws were a big key to the game, because they are so successful off the draw," said Scioscia, the team captain.
"We were winning the draw and the score was 3-3 and we were feeling pretty good. Then we started losing them and that took the momentum away."
Northwestern won the battle of the draws by an 18-9 margin in the game.
The Wildcats put the game away in the second half, getting the first three goals of the half to open a 10-goal lead at 14-4. From there the teams traded goals on the way to the 19-7 final score.
Northwestern outshot the Irish, 39-21, in the game. Notre Dame goalkeeper Ellie Hilling made nine saves in the game while LoManto finished with seven saves in 53 minutes. Darby St. Clair-Barrie played the final seven minutes, making one save for the Wildcats.
"We're very disappointed in the way today's game went," said Coyne.
"We're trying to win a national championship just like Northwestern. We worked really hard this week in practice and I thought we had a great game plan. Obviously, we didn't execute very well. We didn't get it done."
* Gina Scioscia finished her Notre Dame career with 116 goals and 106 assists for 222 career points. She is seventh in school history in goals, first in assists and fourth in points. The game also closed the careers of senior defender Rachel Guerrera and midfielder Maggie Zentgraf.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 - F #14 Notre Dame (11-7) 4 3 - 7 #2 Northwestern (18-1) 11 8 - 19