May 10, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team put its high-powered offense on display Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field as they ran past the Vanderbilt Commodores, 19-13, in the first round of the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament.
Three Irish players – Kailene Abt (So., Huntington, N.Y.), Jillian Byers (Sr., Northport, N.Y.) and Gina Scioscia (Jr., Summit, N.J.) – had five-point games with Abt and Byers scoring four goals with one assist and Scioscia getting three goals with a pair of assists. Shaylyn Blaney (So., Stony Brook, N.Y.) added four goals of her own in helping the Irish advance to NCAA Quarterfinals. Jackie Doherty (So., Ellicott City, Md.) scored twice while Ansley Stewart (So., Alexandria, Va.) and Maggie Tamasitis (Fr., Boyertown, Pa.) scored one goal each in the win.
Vanderbilt was lead by Carter Foote with five points (1g, 4a) while Ally Carey and Sarah Downing had three goals each. Cara Giordano and Allie Frank scored twice for the Commodores while Katherine Denkler and Laura Keenan had one goal each.
The victory improved the Irish to 16-4 on the year with the 16 wins being a new school record. Vanderbilt’s season comes to an end at 10-7. Notre Dame will move on to face North Carolina on Saturday, May 16 at Chapel Hill, N.C. The game time has yet to be determined.
This will mark the third time in the program’s history that the Irish have advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. They advanced in 2002, losing at Princeton and then won in 2006, knocking off Georgetown to go to the Final Four in Boston. North Carolina is the third seed in the tournament and is 14-4 on the year. The Tar Heels advanced by defeating Towson, 15-4, on Sunday.
The win also gives the Irish a 4-0 record at home in NCAA Tournament action, something that wasn’t lost on head coach Tracy Coyne.
“At Notre Dame you have traditions and legacies,” said Coyne.
“I think it’s nice to continue the tradition of being undefeated at home in the playoffs. I think our 2009 team is establishing its own legacy, as one of our best teams ever, now that they have the most wins in the program’s history in one season.”
The two teams started the game slowly, trading goals over the first 16:50 of the game on the way to a 4-4 tie at that point. From there, the Irish went on the offensive, scoring nine of the final 12 goals of the first half for a 13-7 halftime lead.
“I was very pleased with the way we played in the first half,” said Coyne.
“There was a point in the half where we just started to click and we came together as a unit. We have multiple threats on offense and because we’ve had good balance scoring, it allows you to spread it around and that’s what we did late in the first half.”
With the score tied 4-4, the Irish ran off four straight goals in a 3:09 span with Scioscia scoring twice and Blaney and Abt getting single goals to make it 8-4. Scioscia would finish the half with three goals and one assist.
“It was important for us to get off to a fast start today,” said Scioscia, Notre Dame’s second leading scorer this season.
“The first time we played them (April 15 at Nashville, an 18-11 loss), nothing went right. Our shooting was off. I think it helped turn our season around. We’re a team that once we get a lead we can control the tempo and we were able to do that in the first half.”
Denkler stopped the Notre Dame run at 6:38, but Blaney answered with her third goal of the half just 27 seconds later at 6:11 to make it 9-5. It loked like the Commodores had stemmed the tide as the teams traded goals with Giordano’s goal at 3:04 making it 10-7, but that was a close as Vanderbilt would get.
The Irish had one last surge left for the half as they scored three more times in the final three minutes Kaitlin Keena (So., Vienna, Va.) set up Byers’ second goal of the half just four seconds after Giordano’s goal at the 3:00 minute mark. Scioscia netted her second goal via a free-position shot with 50 seconds left and Abt scored her second of the half with 14 seconds left on the clock.
Abt, the sophomore midfielder would take over the first five minutes of the second half as she had a hand in three consecutive goals. First she set up Doherty for her second goal just 32 seconds into the half. She scored unassisted at 26:08 and then got a free-position goal at 25:10 to make it 16-7. Byers ended the four-goal outburst with her third goal of the game at 23:27 and the Irish led 17-7.
Vanderbilt would out score Notre Dame, 6-2, over the final 20:26 of the game for the final score of 19-13.
In the game, the Irish out shot the Commodores by a 34-22 margin. Vanderbilt goalkeeper Natalie Wills had six saves in the game while, Erin Goodman (Sr., Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) had five in the game.
Coyne knows her team has its work cut out for it as they now prepare for North Carolina, a team that her program has never faced in the regular season during its 13-year history.
“They are a very athletic, powerful and quick team,” said Coyne.
“We played them in the fall and even though its just fall ball, I thought we matched up well against them. I haven’t seen much on film, so now we have to get back to work and prepare for them. We weren’t looking past Vanderbilt because they’ve beaten us three straight times.”
** With four goals in the game, Jillian Byers became Notre Dame’s all-time single-season goal-scoring leader as she now has 78 on the season, breaking the mark of 74 set by Crysti Foote `06 in 2006. Foote also saw two other records fall as Scioscia’s two assists give her 42 on the season, breaking Foote’s mark of 40 set in 2006 and the two assists give Scioscia, 81 for her career, breaking Foote’s career mark of 80.
** Kailene Abt, Shaylyn Blaney and Jill Byers each had four goals in the win. That marks the second time this season that the Irish have had three players with four or more goals in a game. In the March 14 win over Hofstra (17-15), Byers had six with Scioscia and Blaney getting four goals each.
** Notre Dame has scored 11 or more goals in 19 of the 20 games the Irish have played this season. The only game they didn’t was the 21-5 loss to Northwestern in the second game of the season.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 - F#12/#13 Vanderbilt (10-7) 7 6 - 13#6/#6 Notre Dame (16-4) 13 6 - 19
ScoringFirst Half:Time Team Score Goal Assist28:03 ND 1-0 Shaylyn Blaney26:23 VU 1-1 Sarah Downing Carter Foote25:41 VU 1-2 Ally Carey Carter Foote (2)24:12 ND 2-2 Maggie Tamasitis Jillian Byers20:01 VU 2-3 Ally Carey (2) Carter Foote (3)18:44 ND 3-3 Jillian Byers Gina Scioscia13:52 ND 4-3 Jackie Doherty13:10 VU 4-4 Allie Frank Ally Carey11:04 ND 5-4 Gina Scioscia10:41 ND 6-4 Shaylyn Blaney (2) 9:11 ND 7-4 Gina Scioscia (2) 7:55 ND 8-4 Kailene Abt 6:38 VU 8-5 Katherine Denkler 6:11 ND 9-5 Shaylyn Blaney (3) 4:43 VU 9-6 Carter Foote Free-position shot 4:07 ND 10-6 Ansley Stewart Free-position shot 3:04 VU 10-7 Cara Giordano 3:00 ND 11-7 Jillian Byers (2) Kaitlin Keena 0:50 ND 12-7 Gina Scioscia (3) Free-position shot 0:14 ND 13-7 Kailene Abt (2)
Second HalfTime Team Score Goal Assist29:28 ND 14-7 Jackie Doherty (2) Kailene Abt26:08 ND 15-7 Kailene Abt (3)25:10 ND 16-7 Kailene Abt (4) Free-position shot23:27 ND 17-7 Jillian Byers (3) Free-position shot20:26 VU 17-8 Sarah Downing (2) Free-position shot14:57 VU 17-9 Cara Giordano (2) Free-position shot11:54 VU 17-10 Laura Keenan Carter Foote (4)10:56 ND 18-10 Jillian Byers (4) Gina Scioscia (2) 8:30 ND 19-10 Shaylyn Blaney (4) Jackie Doherty 6:27 VU 19-11 Ally Carey (3) 5:05 VU 19-12 Allie Frank Free-position shot 1:55 VU 19-13 Sarah Downing (3)
Goalkeepers:Vanderbilt: Natalie Wills - 60:00 min; 19 goals against, 6 savesNotre Dame: Erin Goodman - 60:00 min; 13 goals against, 5 saves
Total Shots: Vanderbilt: 22; Notre Dame: 34Ground Balls: Vanderbilt: 18; Notre Dame: 24Draw Controls: Vanderbilt: 17; Notre Dame: 18Caused Turnovers: Vanderbilt: 7; Notre Dame: 11