April 11, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman Cortney Fortunato had a career-high five goals and senior Kaitlyn Brosco scored each of her first four goals of the year as the No. 10 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team picked up a crucial win in ACC play by defeating No. 7 Duke, 12-10, on Friday night at Arlotta Stadium.
Senior captain Margaret Smith had another All-American caliber performance on the defensive side for Notre Dame (9-5, 2-4 ACC) as she forced five turnovers and collected four ground balls against Duke (8-6, 2-4). Smith entered the night leading the ACC in both categories. Brosco, who made her first start of the year tonight, matched her career highs for both goals (four) and points (five) set when she was a freshman in 2011. Allie Murray also made nine saves in the Irish net to help secure the victory as the Blue Devils were held to 10 goals, matching their lowest offensive output of the season.
“I’m so pleased with Cortney, but you have to talk about what was around her tonight too,” Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “Brosco had the ability to take some of the defensive pressure off her and change the movement of our offense. Brosco communicates, not just for herself, but for everybody. She got Kiera (McMullan) into it. She allowed Rachel (Sexton) to relax a little bit. While it was a big night for Cortney, I think it’s special that it also came on a big night for Kaitlyn Brosco.”
The Irish scored the game’s first two goals as McMullan tallied from Stephanie Toy at 28:13 and Brosco scored unassisted at 25:10. Duke would sandwich a pair of goals around Fortunato’s first goal of the night to make it a 3-2 game at 15:42. Notre Dame scored each of the next five goals, however, extending its lead to 8-2 and putting the pressure on the Blue Devils. Fortunato scored the first two goals of this run, completing her eighth hat trick of the year at the 13:31 mark. Brosco picked up her second of the night, followed by Sexton on a free position and finally Fortunato at 6:36. Kerrin Maurer scored the second of what would be a five-goal night for the Blue Devils before halftime but the Irish took an 8-3 lead to intermission.
Duke scored the second half’s first two goals to cut its deficit to three goals at 8-5. Brosco and Fortunato connected for a spectacular pass and goal at 14:47 to put ND on top 9-5. The teams traded each of the next four scores to make the score 11-7 with 9:07 to play. At 11:07, Sexton scored her 26th goal of the year for Notre Dame, second only to Fortunato on the team, set up by Caitlin Gargan on the first of her two assists in the final minutes of the game. Brosco completed her hat trick since 2012 at 9:07. Duke kept pushing and a pair of Maurer goals would make it 11-9 by the 1:40 mark. Taylor Trimble scored for Duke to make it an 11-10 game with 19 seconds to play. Duke controlled that draw but Toy stepped up and caused a turnover. Gargan rushed it down field and Brosco scored with two seconds left on the clock to ice the 12-10 Irish victory.
Duke finished the night leading shots 30-25, ground balls 22-21 and draw controls 15-8, but it was Notre Dame who scored more goals to pick up its third win this spring over a team ranked in the top 12.
“We lost the draw 15-8 but came away with a 12-10 win,” Halfpenny said. “I give a lot of credit to my team for being able to overcome that lack of immediate possession.”
The Fighting Irish will play their final non-conference game on the regular season on Tuesday night when Notre Dame heads each to face No. 15 Ohio State at 6:00 p.m. in Columbus.