April 15, 2009
Nashville, Tenn. – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s lacrosse team ran into a red-hot goalkeeper on Wednesday afternoon as freshman Natalie Wills made 17 saves to lead her Vanderbilt Commodores to an 18-11 win at the VU Lacrosse Complex.
Notre Dame got four goals each from Jillian Byers (Sr., Northport, N.Y.) and Kailene Abt (Huntington, N.Y.) and junior Gina Scioscia (Summit, N.J.) had two goals and three assists as the Irish out shot Vanderbilt by a 34-30 margin. Megan Sullivan (Fr., Winchester, Mass.) was the only other Notre Dame player to get on the scoreboard.
Besides Wills’ stellar goalkeeping, the Commodores got a seven-point (6g, 1a) afternoon from junior Sarah Downing while Katherine Denkler was right behind her with four goals and an assist. Carter Foote, Ally Carey, Alex Priddy and Cara Giordano each added two goals in the victory.
The loss was the second in a row for Notre Dame and marked the third consecutive loss to Vanderbilt in the all-time series. The ninth-ranked Irish fall to 11-4 overall while the 12th-ranked Commodores are now 9-4 on the season. Notre Dame ends its four-game road swing with a 2-2 record.
For the second game in a row, the Irish struggled to get their offense on track, falling behind 10-3 at halftime. Last weekend, Notre Dame trailed Syracuse, 11-1 with 11:05 left in the first half and then trailed 12-3 at the break before staging a furious rally on the way to a one-goal loss.
Unlike last Saturday, there was no second-half rally as Irish could only get as close as four goals down in the second half.
Downing and Denkler, who each had three goals in the first half, started the Vanderbilt scoring, getting goals 45 seconds apart at 28:32 and 27:47 to give the Commodores a 2-1 lead.
Abt cut the lead in half with her first goal of the game at 26:36 on a nifty driving, twisting shot that saw her slide through the defense and go from right hand to left before firing a shot past Wills but that was as close as the Irish would get the rest of the night.
Vandy would then run off four straight goals to make it 6-1 with Priddy scoring twice and Downing and Denkler getting their second goals of the day by the 16:54 mark.
Byers scored her first of the game off a Scioscia set up at 10:39 to make it 6-2 before the Commodores answered with four more goals.
This time it was Giordano, Denkler, Downing and Foote who scored in a 5:28 span to extend the Vanderbilt lead to 10-2 with 4:11 in the half.
Scioscia would close the half with her first goal as midfielder Shannon Burke intercepted a long pass out of the Commodore zone and fired it right back to Scoiscia who was alone in front to beat Wills to make it 10-3 with 1:20 left in the opening stanza.
The defenses stiffened to start the second half as neither team scored until the 21:40 mark when Denkler beat Notre Dame goalkeeper Erin Goodman (Sr., Corlandt Manor, N.Y.) to make it 11-3. From there, the Irish would put together a four-goal streak over a 3:58 span to cut the lead to 11-7.
Shaylyn Blaney (So., Stony Brook, N.Y.) set up Abt for her second goal at 20:15; Scioscia scored on a free-position shot (19:11) and then set up goals by Sullivan (18:56) and Byers (16:17) and it looked like there might be a repeat of Saturday’s comeback at Syracuse.
Vanderbilt put those ideas to rest as the Commodores scored three of the next four goals. Giordano and Carey scored on free-position shots and Downing scored her fourth of the game to offset Abt’s third goal of the game. With 10:16 left in the game, Notre Dame trailed 14-9.
Downing would score twice more in the final 10:16 with Foote and Carey offsetting two goals by Byers and one by Abt for the final margin of victory at 18-11.
Goodman finished the game with nine saves in the contest while Wills played 57:08 and made 17 stops. Rachel Woolford played the final 2:52 and stopped the two shots on goal she faced, giving Vanderbilt 19 saves for the day. That’s the most saves by an opposing team against the Irish since Feb. 24, 2008 when Ohio State’s Kristen Gilwee had 20 versus Notre Dame in a 14-11 win.
The Irish will look to snap out of their two-game losing streak on Saturday, April 18 when they close out the BIG EAST regular season versus the Connecticut Huskies. That game will be played at 12:00 noon outdoors at Alumni Field. The Irish will honor their 2009 Senior Class prior to the start of the game.
** Prior to last Saturday’s loss at Syracuse, Notre Dame was 4-0 on the road. The Irish return home with a 4-2 record in road games this season.
** The loss to 12th-ranked Vanderbilt drops Notre Dame to 4-4 in games versus ranked teams this season.
** Senior Jillian Byers was named one of 25 nominees for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy earlier in the day. This marks the second consecutive year that Byers was selected as a nominee for the award.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 - F#9/#9 Notre Dame (11-4) 3 8 - 11#12/#12 Vanderbilt (9-4) 10 8 - 18
ScoringFirst Half:Time Team Score Goal Assist28:32 VU 0-1 Sarah Downing Carter Foote27:47 VU 0-2 Katherine Denkler Laura Keenan26:36 ND 1-2 Kailene Abt21:22 VU 1-3 Alex Priddy19:56 VU 1-4 Alex Priddy (2) Carter Foote (2)18:55 VU 1-5 Katherine Denkler (2)16:54 VU 1-6 Sarah Downing (2)10:39 ND 2-6 Jillian Byers Gina Scioscia 9:39 VU 2-7 Cara Giordano Ally Carey 8:45 VU 2-8 Sarah Downing (3) Katherine Denkler 7:29 VU 2-9 Katherine Denkler (3) Sarah Downing 4:11 VU 2-10 Carter Foote Free-position shot 1:20 ND 3-10 Gina Scioscia Shannon Burke
Second HalfTime Team Score Goal Assist21:40 VU 3-11 Katherine Denkler (4)20:15 ND 4-11 Kailene Abt (2) Shaylyn Blaney19:11 ND 5-11 Gina Scioscia (2) Free-position shot18:56 ND 6-11 Megan Sullivan Gina Scioscia (2)16:17 ND 7-11 Jillian Byers (2) Gina Scioscia (3)14:18 VU 7-12 Cara Giordano (2) Free-position shot12:43 ND 8-12 Kailene Abt (3) Maggie Tamasitis12:17 VU 8-13 Sarah Downing (4)10:16 VU 8-14 Ally Carey Free-position shot 9:27 ND 9-14 Jillian Byers (3) 7:58 VU 9-15 Sarah Downing (5) 7:17 ND 10-15 Kailene Abt (4) Free-position shot 6:23 VU 10-16 Ally Carey (2) 5:51 VU 10-17 Sarah Downing (6) 4:50 VU 10-18 Carter Foote (2) Ally Carey (2) 2:52 ND 11-18 Jillian Byers (4)
Goalkeepers:Notre Dame: Erin Goodman - 60:00 min; 18 goals against, 9 savesVanderbilt: Natalie Wills - 57:08 min; 11 goals against, 17 saves Rachel Woolford - 2:52 min; 0 goals against, 2 saves
Total Shots: Notre Dame: 34; Vanderbilt: 30Ground Balls: Notre Dame: 24, Vanderbilt: 22Draw Controls: Notre Dame: 16, Vanderbilt: 15Caused Turnovers: Notre Dame: 14, Vanderbilt: 12