March 29, 2014
NORE DAME, Ind. – Cortney Fortunato had three goals and an assist while Kiera McMullan also picked up three points but it would not be enough on Saturday afternoon as the No. 6 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team (8-4) was clipped, 11-10, by Stanford (8-1) at Arlotta Stadium.
In addition to Fortunato and McMullan, Caitlin Gargan scored twice to help the Notre Dame offense. Senior Margaret Smith had another robust stat line with four draw controls, three ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers. Freshman Alex Dalton had a big day on defense as well for Notre Dame, collecting five ground balls, controlling two draws and causing three turnovers. Still, while the Irish held an 8-5 advantage at intermission, Stanford held Notre Dame to just two second half goals to secure the victory in what has become an intense rivalry-style game.
Indicative of an exciting contest that featured five ties and four lead changes, team stats were close. Notre Dame held a 24-21 edge in shots, Stanford led ground balls 17-15, Notre Dame led draw controls 12-10 and the teams matched each other at 16 turnovers apiece.
“This one hurts because we did so many things really well,” Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “We played a great first half and our offense was doing a great job of finding openings and continuing to work them. Defensively, we made Stanford work for its goals. They had long sets and had to work the ball around. But, unfortunately, it was the evil side of sports today for us.”
Stanford scored three of the first four goals to open the game, taking a 3-1 lead at the 21:48 mark on a free position goal by Hannah Farr. Rachel Sexton was the lone Irish player to tally during that run, scoring unassisted at 22:18 to make it a 2-1 game at that point. Notre Dame scored each of the next three goals to take its first lead of the day at 4-3 with 13:38 left in the half. Gargan was set up by McMullan at 20:58, McMullan knotted the score at 15:29 and then Casey Pearsall scored unassisted to put the Irish on top. Stanford tied the game and then retook the lead at 5-4 at 9:10 on goals by Lucy Dikeou and Laura Klein.
Notre Dame scored each of the first half’s final four goals to take an 8-5 lead and plenty of momentum into the locker room. McMullan struck first, unassisted, at 6:49. Fortunato scored on a free position at 3:31 to give the Irish back the lead and then scored again, unassisted, at 1:19. Notre Dame capped off the half’s scoring with 16 seconds to co when Grace Muller redirected a pass from Pearsall for the 12th goal of her freshman season.
The teams traded free position goals to open the second half. Farr scored for the Cardinal at 25:31 and Fortunato responded at 21:12. It was the seventh hat trick of the freshman’s season but the first one in a game that Notre Dame would eventually lose. Stanford scored the game’s next four goals to retake the lead at 10-9. Fortunato set up Gargan at 8:23 to tie the game back up at 10-10. Dikeou scored her fourth goal of the game, from Meg Lentz, while playing with a man-advantage at 4:05 to give the Cardinal an 11-10 lead. Notre Dame had possession twice within its offensive third of the field inside the game’s final minutes but was not able to score a game-tying goal.
“This one hurts because we know what we had, Halfpenny said. “Now, we’ll go back to the drawing board, learn from this one and turn our sights on the Cavaliers.”
The Fighting Irish get back into ACC play when they return to the field on Saturday, April 5, playing host to No. 16 Virginia. The game is set to begin at 3:00 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.