May 11, 2008
Evanston, Ill. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team ran into a second-half Northwestern buzz-saw that saw the Wildcats snap a 5-5 halftime lead and out score the Irish, 10-2, on the way to a 15-7 win first-round NCAA Tournament game on Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Field.
Northwestern’s Hannah Nielsen scored five of her six goals and teammate Hilary Bowen five (2g, 3a) of her game-high eight points (5g, 3a) in the second half to pace the Wildcat attack. Katrina Dowd added two goals while Casey Donohoe and Brooke Matthews had single goals in the win.
Sophomore Gina Scioscia led Notre Dame with three goals in the contest while senior Heather Ferguson had two goals and an assist for three points. Juniors Alicia Billings and Jane Stoeckert each scored once while junior Shannon Burke had the first two-assist game of her career.
The loss ends 10th-ranked Notre Dame’s season with a 12-7 record. Northwestern, ranked first in the IWLCA poll and second by Inside Lacrosse goes to 18-1 on the year. The Wildcats advance to the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday, May 17 versus Princeton. The Tigers eliminated Vanderbilt with a 14-10 win on Sunday.
Playing on a blustery day on Lake Michigan, the game began with driving rain, winds gusting to 40 mph and temps in the low 40s, Notre Dame took control early in the opening stanza.
Ferguson got the first scoring chance of the game and was fouled on the play by Northwestern’s Christy Finch. She would beat Wildcat goalkeeper Morgan Lathrop with a free-position shot just 2:19 off the clock.
The teams would then trade goal posts as Bowen whipped a shot that eluded Irish goalkeeper Erin Goodman but banged off the left post. Jillian Byers followed with a Notre Dame scoring chance that beat Lathrop but caught the iron to keep the score, 1-0.
Over five minutes would pass before Bowen finally got one past Goodman to tie the game at 22:13. The score would remain tied until 19:29 remained in the first when Ferguson converted a feed from Burke and whipped a shot over Lathrop’s right shoulder for a 2-1 Irish lead.
Notre Dame’s lead would go to 3-1 when Scioscia scored her first of the game at 10:35 when she backhanded a shot over Lathrop.
The lead would be cut to 3-2 at 8:56 when Nielsen found the back of the net for the first of six in the game but the Irish would answer right back as Ferguson set Stoeckert up for her 20th goal of the year just 29 seconds later to make it 4-2.
Northwestern followed with the next two goals as Bowen drove down the middle and bounced a shot past Goodman at 4:39 and Matthews added her goal via a free-position shot at 3:42 to tie the game at 4-4.
Again, Notre Dame answered right back, retaking the lead just 23 seconds later at 3:19. Burke picked up her second assist of the game as she carried the ball through the middle of the field and fed Billings as she cut through the middle and fired a shot past Lathrop for a 5-4 Irish lead.
Bowen would have the last word in the half as she scored with nine seconds left as she was falling in front, bouncing a shot into the goal to send the game to halftime tied at 5-5.
The second half belonged to the Wildcats as they ran off the first four goals of the stanza to take a 9-5 lead with 20:50 remaining. Dowd (29:08) scored an unassisted goal just 52 seconds in and was followed by Nielsen (26:56) with her second of the game and Bowen closed out her five-goal assault with a pair at 23:41 and 20:50.
Scioscia would break up that run as she scored her second of the afternoon when she carried the ball from the right sideline and worked her way to the front of the cage before flipping a shot home at 19:51 to make it 9-6.
That would be as close as Notre Dame would get again on the afternoon as the Nielsen ran off four consecutive goals in a 6:08 span to make it 13-6.
Scioscia again broke the Wildcat run with her third of the game with 10:03 remaining to make it 13-7.
Northwestern’s stifling defense would force the Irish into many unforced turnovers and Donohoe and Dowd closed the scoring for the 15-7 final score.
The Wildcats dominated the shot clock, out-gunning Notre Dame by a 33-19 margin. Goodman finished with nine saves in the Notre Dame goal while Lathrop had eight saves for Northwestern.
The win was the seventh consecutive win for Northwestern in the all-time series with Notre Dame and was the second time that the Wildcats have eliminated the Irish in NCAA Tournament play as they also did it in 2004.
** Sophomore Gina Scioscia finished the season third in scoring with 20 goals and 35 assists for 55 points. She had a 47-point improvement from her freshman season when she had four goals and four assists for eight points.
** With three draw controls in the game, junior Jillian Byers finished the season with 52 draw controls to establish a new single-season Notre Dame mark in that category. She passes Kaki Orr ’07 who set the mark with 51 last season.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 - F#10 Notre Dame (12-7) 5 2 - 7#1 Northwestern (18-1) 5 10 - 15
Scoring SummaryFirst HalfTime Team Score Goal Assist27:40 ND 1-0 Heather Ferguson Free-position shot22:13 NU 1-1 Hilary Bowen19:29 ND 2-1 Heather Ferguson Shannon Burke10:35 ND 3-1 Gina Scioscia 8:56 NU 3-2 Hannah Nielsen Casey Donohoe 8:27 ND 4-2 Jane Stoeckert Heather Ferguson 4:39 NU 4-3 Hilary Bowen 3:42 NU 4-4 Brooke Matthews Free-position shot 3:19 ND 5-4 Alicia Billings Shannon Burke 0:09 NU 5-5 Hilary Bowen
Second HalfFirst HalfTime Team Score Goal Assist29:08 NU 5-6 Katrina Dowd26:56 NU 5-7 Hannah Nielsen Meredith Frank23:41 NU 5-8 Hilary Bowen Hannah Nielsen20:50 NU 5-9 Hilary Bowen19:51 ND 6-9 Gina Scioscia18:12 NU 6-10 Hannah Nielsen Hilary Bowen15:28 NU 6-11 Hannah Nielsen14:44 NU 6-12 Hannah Nielsen12:04 NU 6-13 Hannah Nielsen Hilary Bowen10:03 ND 7-13 Gina Scioscia 5:36 NU 7-14 Casey Donohuoe 3:06 NU 7-15 Katrina Dowd
Goalkeepers:Notre Dame: (Erin Goodman, 60:00 min., 15 GA, 9 saves)Northwestern (Morgan Lathrop, 60:00 min., 7 GA, 8 saves)
Shots: ND: 19; NU: 33Ground Balls: ND: 13; NU: 22Caused Turnovers: ND: 8; NU: 8Draw Controls: ND: 13; NU: 11