April 12, 2010

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

Notre Dame, Ind. - When Notre Dame and Syracuse get together in women's lacrosse fans can usually expect loads of offense as both teams have traditionally had high-scoring offenses. On Sunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium, defense was the name of the game as the Irish upset the seventh-ranked Orange, 6-5.

After shutting out Villanova, 16-0, on Friday, Notre Dame tacked on another 30 minutes of scoreless defense as the Irish took a 6-0 lead at halftime as each team got all its goals in one half.

Senior Gina Scioscia paced the Notre Dame attack with two goals and one assist. Shaylyn Blaney, Ansley Stewart, Kailene Abt and Kaitlin Keena had single goals for the Irish.

Syracuse got three points from Tegan Brown (1g, 2a) with Tee Ladouceur, Halley Quillanan. Jackie DePetris and Michelle Tumolo getting the other goals for the Orange.

In the game, each team had 26 shots on goal. Freshman Ellie Hilling finished with six saves for Notre Dame while Liz Hogan had 10 for Syracuse. Hilling saw her scoreless streak snapped at 98:33 when Tumolo broke up the shutout 3:55 into the second half. Before that, the last goal she surrendered came on April 5 at Loyola when the Greyhounds scored with 4:38 left in that game.

The victory, the third straight for the Irish improves Notre Dame to 8-4 overall and 4-1 in the BIG EAST. Syracuse falls to 7-4 on the year and 2-1 in conference play. The win was the first for the Irish at home against Syracuse since the 2006 season.

The Orange came into the game averaging 15 goals a game and featured four players with 20 or more goals, highlighted by senior midfielder Christina Dove who had 40. When Sunday's game was over, Dove still had 40 goals as the Irish defense, led by Jackie Doherty, Rachel Guerrera, Lauren Fenlon, Emily Conner and Kate Newall blanketed the Orange attack, holding them to just five goals.

Notre Dame would score the first six goals of the game, giving them 23 consecutive goals since Monday's game at Loyola.

Stewart made it 1-0 as she converted a nice feed from behind the goal from Scioscia at 24:18. Scoiscia, who has scored in 31 consecutive games dating back to last season, scored her first of the game with 20:12 left to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead.

Maggie Tamasitis, the Irish leader in assists worked her magic at 14:32 as she set Abt up in front where she beat Hogan to make it 3-0. Scioscia made it 4-0 with an unassisted goal at 12:55.

Two free-position goals by the Irish made it 6-0 before the end of the first half. Keena whipped a shot past Hogan with 7:53 left and Blaney got the eventual game winner with an extraordinary effort. With time running out in the half, the junior midfielder snaked her way through Syracuse defense and got was fouled. On the free-position shot, she beat Hogan with 5.3 seconds left to give Notre Dame the six-goal lead.

The Irish out shot Syracuse, 16-7 in the first half with Hogan making six saves and Hilling three.

The tide would turn in the second half and the Orange would dominate the play. They finally broke through on the freshman goalkeeper when Tumolo beat her off a free-position shot just 3:55 into the half to make it 6-1.

The score stayed that way until the 15:15 mark when Syracuse would start a run of four goals in 3:41. Brown set up Ladouceur at 15:15 to make it 6-2 and just 2:15 later, Brown would whip one under the cross bar over Hilling to make it 6-3.

On that play, Dove would get her lone point of the game, an assist, versus the Irish defense.

Brown wasn't done. She set up DePetris 34 seconds later at 12:26 to make it 6-4 and Quillinan closed the scoring with 11:34 left in the game with the Irish in the lead, 6-5.

In the final 11 minutes of the game, each goalkeeper came up with big saves to keep the game at 6-5. Hogan stopped a bouncing free-position shot by Abt with 9:01 left and then stopped Scioscia on a two-on-one chance with Abt with 3:50 left.

Hilling made her biggest stop when she stopped Brown in close with 19 seconds left to seal the win.

After winning three games on the week, Notre Dame will play just one game this week as the Irish play host to the University of Cincinnati on Saturday, April 17 in a 3:00 p.m. game at Arlotta Stadium. That is the final home game of the regular season for the women's lacrosse team and Notre Dame will honor its graduating seniors - Rachel Guerrera, Gina Scioscia and Maggie Zentgraf - prior to the game.