Feb. 18, 2017
By Megan Golden
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — On a gorgeous, 60-degree and sunny afternoon, the No. 10 University of Notre Dame defeated midwest rival Michigan, 12-5, in a low-scoring affair at Michigan Stadium on Saturday.
Notre Dame (4-1) improved to 2-0 all-time against Michigan (0-3) and has now won four consecutive games.
Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny led the Irish to victory in her 100th game at the helm of the program.
How It Happened
The Irish continued their habit of scoring first — as they have in four games — courtesy of a goal from sophomore Samantha Lynch. Notre Dame added a second goal to take a 2-0 lead, but Michigan responded with a 3-0 run to take a 3-2 lead at the 11:11 mark.
The Irish defense adjusted to the Wolverines methodical offense, which ran for much of the 90-second shot clock, and Michigan was held scoreless for the remainder of the first half.
Notre Dame strung together three straight goals from Lynch, junior Molly Cobb and Fortunato, giving Notre Dame a 5-3 lead at halftime.
Notre Dame, which lost the draw control battle in the first half, 7-2, bounced back in the second half to win six of 10 draws.
The Irish limited the Wolverines to just two goals in the second half and used a 7-2 run to secure the 12-5 victory.
Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 44-12 in the second half in five games this season.
Player of the Game
Irish sophomore Samantha Giacolone collected a season-high 12 saves against the Wolverines. Her 12 saves were one shy of matching her career-high, set on February 21, 2016 against Boston College.
In Notre Dame’s lowest-scoring matchup of the year, Giacolone also recorded six ground balls and a caused turnover. She allowed just five goals, the second-fewest in a game this season.
Senior and co-captain Alex Dalton said Giacolone makes the defense better.
“I think when the defense is confident and when she’s confident is when we’re at our best,” Dalton said. “We knew we could get out on their girls because we knew she was in the net. We knew she was playing really, really well and was hot today.
“There’s a sense of confidence that was a game-changer today, and I think she totally owned her position.”
Dalton said she has seen — and heard — Giacolone on the field much more this season.
“I’ve seen her become more of a leader and kind of own that role,” she said. “Her voice in the net has always been something that’s pretty consistent, but expressing that a little bit more has been great for our defense.”
Stat of the Game
The Irish took 30 shots in the game, including 12 in the first half and 18 in the second. Notre Dame, which entered the game averaging 42.8 shots per game, barely outshot the Wolverines, 30-28.
While there were not any 90-second shot clock violations, long offensive sets that ultimately limited the number of possessions. Notre Dame scored 12 goals, marking its fewest of the year. Michigan, which averaged 7.0 goals per game, scored a season-low five goals.
Coming Up Next
Notre Dame returns to action at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Elon in its second road game of the season. The Irish will open Atlantic Coast Conference play at Duke on February 26 in the second game of the team’s five-day, two-game road swing.
For a closer look at the Irish women’s lacrosse program, follow @NDWomensLax on Twitter.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.