Kiera McMullan had a goal and an assist against the Cavaliers.

No. 8 Women's Lacrosse Falls to No. 16 Virginia, 13-8

April 5, 2014

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Cortney Fortunato and Rachel Sexton scored two goals each but a dominating 13-4 disadvantage in second half draw controls was too much for the No. 8 Notre Dame’s women’s lacrosse team to overcome in a 13-8 loss to No. 16 Virginia on Saturday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium.

The Cavaliers (7-6, 1-3 ACC) held a 4-1 halftime lead, bolstered by 11 first half saves by goalkeeper Liz Colgan. Winning the second half’s first eight draw controls, and 13 of 17 overall after intermission, gave UVa a substantial time of possession edge which helped the Cavaliers hold on for the victory in the first-ever meeting between the two sides. Notre Dame (8-5, 1-4 ACC) held a 31-27 edge in the game on shots but 16 saves by Colgan helped the Cavaliers claim the win.

Virginia scored each of the game’s first three goals, getting one goal each from Liza Blue, Kelly Boyd and Courtney Swan, to take a 3-0 lead at 21:39. Fortunato scored her first of the game, unassisted, at 17:16 to cut the Cavalier lead to 3-1. Casey Bocklet’s goal on a free position for UVa at 10:32 was the first half’s only other goal.

Margaret Smith pushed forward and scored just her second goal of the year, assisted by Stephanie Toy, at 27:57 of the second half to cut the deficit to 4-2. UVa’s Kelly Boyd responded just 34 seconds later with the first of two straight goals that made it 6-2. Fortunato converted on Caitlin Gargan’s feed at 26:13 to make it a 6-3 game, but UVa would score each of the next four goals to go up 10-3 and take command of the contest.

Notre Dame did not go quietly and scored three of the next four goals to cut the UVa edge to 11-6. Stephanie Toy started the streak at 19:34 while Brie Custis and McMullan also added strikes before the 17:46 mark. Each team scored twice more before the end of the game. Maddy Keeshan and Blue completed hat tricks for the Cavaliers in that stretch while Rachel Sexton cored twice for the Irish, giving her 24 goals on the year. McMullan set up the first Sexton goal.

“I give a lot of credit to my team that, despite losing the draw 13-4 in the second half, we still played them 9-7 (in the second half),” Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “I credit the defense on that. They were able to come up with the ball, but we also have to control it better on offense. At times, there was some brilliant looking offense, but we want to make that more consistent. Our youth is going to continue to work through that.”

Amongst the defensive stalwarts for Notre Dame, Smith topped the team with five ground balls while also causing a turnover. Alex Dalton caused a pair of turnovers while controlling trhee draws and scooping up a ground ball. McMullan also got four ground balls, one of which was a rebound that led directly to her goal with 17:46 left in the game. UVa only had 11 turnovers on the day, but eight of them were forced by Irish defense.

Allie Murray made 10 saves in the Notre Dame net. She also had three ground balls and caused a turnover.

The Fighting Irish get face another tough ACC challenge on Friday night, April 11, when No. 9 Duke comes to Arlotta Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. game.