April 3, 2009

Irish Ease Past Cincinnati; Byers Leads ND

from press releases

CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team got their four-game road swing off to a fast start on Friday afternoon as the Irish rolled to a 16-5 BIG EAST win over the University of Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium. The meeting was the first ever between the two schools as the Bearcats are in their first season of conference play.

Senior All-American and Tewaaraton Trophy candidate, Jillian Byers (Northport, N.Y.) paced the Notre Dame attack with five goals and one assist for a six-point afternoon. Sophomore attack Ansley Stewart (Alexandria, Va.) scored a career-best four goals in the game and junior Gina Scioscia (Summit, N.J.) chipped in two goals with three assists for five points.

Joining those three on the Notre Dame side of the score sheet were freshman Maggie Tamasitis (Boyertown, Pa.) with her second four-point game of the season on two goals and two assists; sophomore Kailene Abt (Huntington, N.Y.) added a goal and two assists while Shaylyn Blaney (So., Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Maggie Zentgraf (Jr., Charlottesville, Va.) added single goals. Jackie Doherty (So., Ellicott City, Md.) and Kate Newall (Fr., Middlesex, England) picked up assists. Newall's assist was the first point of her collegiate career.

Laura Simanski led Cincinnati with three goals while Natalie Starvaggi and Lindsey Marshall scored for the Bearcats.

The win improves the 10th-ranked Irish to 10-2 overall and 3-1 in BIG EAST play. Cincinnati falls to 5-6 on the year and 0-3 in conference play. The 10th win for Notre Dame marks the fourth consecutive season in a row that the Irish have had 10 or more wins, a first in the program's 13-year history.

This game started slowly as it took Notre Dame just over seven minutes to start the scoring as Abt set up Byers for her first of the game and 41st of the season with 22:55 left in the half. Simanski answered back for the Bearcats less than two minutes later at 21:10 when Simanski beat Erin Goodman (Sr., Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) to even the score at 1-1.

From there the Irish ran off four straight goals and nine of the final 11 goals in the first half. The four-goal run started at 16:53 and ended 5:17 later with Stewart scoring twice and Blaney and Byers getting single goals for a 5-1 Notre Dame lead.

Starvaggi halted that run at 11:14 to make it a 5-2 but Byers set up a Scioscia goal just 28 seconds later to regain the four-goal lead at 6-2. Marshall collected her lone goal with 10:15 left in the opening half to make it 6-3, but that would be as close as Cincinnati would get.

The Irish would run off the final four goals of the first half with Scioscia and Stewart scoring one each and Tamasitis moving from playmaker to goal scorer with goals at 4:45 and 1:09 with Abt and Newall getting credit for assists respectively to send the game to intermission with Notre Dame in front, 10-3.

In the second half, the Irish broke the game wide open with the first five goals of the half to build a 15-3 lead. Stewart closed out her four-goal game just 3:28 into the second stanza and was followed by Byers with two goals, Zentgraf and Abt with 9:17 left in the game for the 12-goal lead.

Cincinnati stopped what turned out to be a nine-goal Notre Dame run over a 28:28 span when Simanski got her second goal of the game, this one on a free-position shot with 6:54 left. Byers got the final Irish goal with 3:32 left and Simanski got her third goal of the night with 1:48 left in the 16-5 Notre Dame win.

Goodman played the first 46:08 of the game, giving up three goals with nine saves in picking up her 10th win of the year and school-record 33rd of the year. Junior Amy Winik (Freehold, N.J.) played the final 13:52, giving up the final two Bearcat goals of the game.

Katherine Russo played the entire game for Cincinnati, giving up all 16 goals while making eight saves in the game.

The Irish defense played a stifling game all afternoon led by senior All-American candidate Shannon Burke (Timonium, Md.) who grabbed six ground balls, had one draw control and had four caused turnovers. Fellow defender Rachel Guerrera (Jr., Wantagh, N.Y.) had four ground balls and one caused turnover in front of the Irish goal.

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