Jillian Byers scored five times but it wasn't enough as Notre Dame lost a heartbreaking 8-7 decision to Rutgers.

Irish Drop Heartbreaking 8-7 Game To Rutgers On Last-Second Goal

April 21, 2007

Final Stats

Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team dropped a heartbreaking 8-7 decision to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday afternoon at Moose Krause Stadium.

Rutgers senior midfielder Katie Batiuk scored twice in the final 1:43 of the game with the game winner coming off a scramble in front of Irish goalkeeper Erin Goodman (So., Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) with just 8.8 seconds left in the game. That wiped out a 7-6 Notre Dame lead for an 8-7 BIG EAST win for the 18th-ranked Scarlet Knights.

The tough loss wiped out a brilliant day be Irish sophomore attack standout Jillian Byers (Northport, N.Y.) who scored five goals in the game to give her 55 for the season, the second-highest total for an Irish women’s lacrosse player in the 11-year history of the program. Junior Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) had Notre Dame’s two other goals on the afternoon.

Batiuk finished the day with three goals and one assist for the Scarlet Knights. Nina Frankoski added two while Katy Lawrence, Mallory Tornetta and Mary Cryan added single goals for Rutgers.

The Irish started the week ranked sixth in the IWLCA poll but has now dropped two in a row to fall to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in the BIG EAST. The Scarlet Knights go to 12-3 overall and also is 3-2 in the BIG EAST conference. Both teams now advance to the first-ever BIG EAST Tournament on April 27-29 at Syracuse, N.Y. The final seedings will depend on Georgetown’s game with Connecticut on Sunday afternoon.

Defense was the name of the game in this one as both teams played patient offensive games. Rutgers took the first lead of the game just 1:46 into the game when Batiuk set Cryan up for her 14th goal of the season.

McKinney tied the game less than five minutes later when she cut through the middle, took a feed from Alicia Billings (So., Potomac, Md.) and fired a shot over goalkeeper Erika Paige for her 38th goal of the year and a 1-1 tie.

Byers would give the Irish their first lead of the day with 19:21 left in the half with her first of five on the day. Jane Stoeckert (So., Mendham, N.Y.) was fouled and awarded a free-position shot. Instead of shooting she found Byers moving in from the right of the goal and the sophomore slipped it past Paige to give Notre Dame a 2-1 lead.

Rutgers would get the equalizer less than eight minutes later with 11:27 left in the half when Lawrence set up Tornetta for her fourth goal of the season to even things at 2-2.

The Scarlet Knights then grabbed their second lead of the half with 8:56 left when Frankoski converted a free-position goal; beating Goodman for her 37th goal of the season and a 3-2 Rutgers lead.

Byers would put the Irish ahead 4-3 at halftime, scoring twice in a span of 2:10. First Meghan Murphy (Sr., Centennial, Colo.) found Byers in front with 2:52 left to tie the game at 3-3. Byers then scored on her own driving down the right side before moving in front to beat Paige with 42 seconds left in the half for her third of the day and 53rd of the season.

The two teams would go back and forth in the first 10 minutes of the second half with neither team able to score until Frankoski broke through on Goodman to tie the game at 4-4 with 19:52 left for her second of the game and 38th of the year to even the score at 4-4.

Notre Dame would regain the lead with 18:46 left when Lena Zentgraf (Sr. Charlottesville, Va.) forced a turnover in midfield and found Byers in transition. The speedy attack player did the rest as she whipped her fourth of the day past Paige to regain the Irish lead at 5-4.

McKinney followed with her second of the day with 15:59 to make it a 6-4 game and it looked like the Irish were starting to take control of the game.

But, as has been the case in recent games, the opposition struck back just 43 seconds later when Lawrence scored while getting knocked to the ground with 15:16 left to cut Notre Dame’s lead to one goal.

The score stayed that way for close to seven minutes before Batiuk scored her first goal of the game with 8:37 left to tie the score at 6-6.

Byers answered with goal number five of the game 21 seconds later with 8:16 left as McKinney forced a turnover and Heather Ferguson (Jr., Newtown Square, Pa.) grabbed a ground ball before feeding Byers for the goal that gave the and Irish the 7-6 lead.

Batiuk got the game-tying goal all on her own. First she forced a turnover in midfield and grabbed the ground ball before beating Goodman with 1:43 left to make it a 7-7 game.

Off the ensuing draw, Cryan was able to control for Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights worked for one scoring opportunity. They got it with 11 seconds left when Batiuk got off a shot that Goodman stopped. With the ball bouncing around in front, Batiuk came up with it and fired a shot past Goodman with 8.8 ticks left on the clock to give Rutgers the 8-7 advantage.

The Scarlet Knights controlled the final draw and killed the clock to preserve the big road win. On the afternoon, Rutgers out shot the Irish by a 26-23 margin. Paige finished with 12 saves in the game while Goodman had nine in the tough loss.

The Irish will now wait until Sunday to find out where they finish in the BIG EAST and who and when they will play on Friday, April 27 in the BIG EAST semifinals.

Game Summary                1    2  -  F#18 Rutgers (12-3/3-2)      3    5     8#6 Notre Dame (11-5/3-2)    4    3     7
First-Half ScoringTime Team Score Goal Assist28:14 RU 0-1 Mary Cryan (14) Katie Batiuk (5)23:18 ND 1-1 Caitlin McKinney (38) Alicia Billings (6)19:21 ND 2-1 Jillian Byers (51) Jane Stoeckert (14)11:27 RU 2-2 Mallory Tornetta (4) Katy Lawrence (4) 8:56 RU 2-3 * Nina Frankoski (37) Free-position shot 2:52 ND 3-3 Jillian Byers (52) Meghan Murphy (17) 0:42 ND 4-3 Jillian Byers (53)
Second-Half ScoringTime Team Score Goal Assist19:52 RU 4-4 Nina Frankoski (38)18:46 ND 5-4 Jillian Byers (54) Lena Zentgraf (20)15:59 ND 6-4 Caitlin McKinney (39)15:16 RU 6-5 Katy Lawrence (27) 8:37 RU 6-6 Katie Batiuk (38) 8:16 ND 7-6 Jillian Byers (55) Heather Ferguson (8) 1:43 RU 7-7 Katie Batiuk (39) 0:08 RU 7-8 Katie Batiuk (40)
* Free-position goal
Goalkeepers RU - Erika Paige (60:00 min; 7 goals, 12 saves)ND - Erin Goodman (60:00 min; 8 goals, 9 saves)
Shots: RU - 26; ND - 23Ground Balls: RU - 19; ND - 25Draw Controls: RU - 10; ND - 7Caused Turnovers: RU - 9; ND - 12