May 11, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
No. 8-seed Notre Dame women's lacrosse puts its perfect 5-0 record all-time in home NCAA Tournament competition on the line at noon today as the Fighting Irish face off against ACC rival Duke at noon at Arlotta Stadium in the tournament's second round. The game comes one month to the day following a thrilling contest between these same two teams at Arlotta Stadium, one where the Irish prevailed, 12-10.
Notre Dame (10-8) advanced to this contest by running past Big South champion High Point, 18-4, in its first round matchup. Rachel Sexton, Cortney Fortunato and Kaitlyn Brosco all netted hat tricks for Notre Dame while the team's high-pressure defense caused 17 of the Panthers' 26 turnovers and, along with netminders Liz O'Sullivan and Allie Murray, helped limit High Point to just the four goals. It was the largest margin of victory ever for Notre Dame in an NCAA Tournament game.
Duke (10-7) downed Stanford 13-8 in a game that was closer than its score, a final line aided by a trio of empty net goals scored by the Blue Devils. One of the country's elite attackers, Kerrin Maurer continued her torrid pace this year on Friday with four goals and two assists against the Cardinal. Maurer boasts 52 goals and 28 assists now on the year for 80 points.
"If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and right now we're in the 16 still standing," Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. "For us, that's another step in our journey. We're building our program to be one of the elite. This is exactly what we wanted to happen. We worked hard to make sure this happened - advancing to Sunday. We don't want to end our season at home. We have no plans to do that. We'll be ready to have a rematch with Duke."
The winner of this game advances to face the winner of No. 1-seed Maryland and Penn in the NCAA quarterfinals next weekend on the campus site of the highest seeded team. The Terrapins and Quakers will play at noon today in College Park, Md.