February 27, 2011

Irish Need Second-Half Rally to Top Dukes

from press release

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team snapped its two-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon as the Irish rallied from a 7-4 halftime deficit to defeat Duquesne, 12-10, at Rooney Field.

Senior midfielder Shaylyn Blaney paced the Notre Dame attack with three goals and three assists to equal a career high with six points in the game. Fellow senior Ansley Stewart added three goals while Jenny Granger and Kaitlyn Brosco scored twice and Kailene Abt and Kaitlin Keena added one in the win.

Duquesne was led offensively by Katie Rekart with three goals. Caitlin Prince chipped in two with Meredith Dunn, Haley Marafioti, Casey Denk, Elise Caldwell and Cailin Colegrove adding single markers.

The victory improves the 10th-ranked Irish to 2-2 on the season while the Dukes fall to 1-2 this year. Notre Dame now owns a 7-0 all-time record against Duquesne, including a 3-0 mark in Pittsburgh.

"It was a strange game for us," said head coach Tracy Coyne.

"We got off to a fast start, but then lost our rythmn and didn't get it back until the second half. Duquesne had a good game plan. They slowed it down; they didn't want to run with us. I told the team after the game that good teams find a way to win and we did that today."

In a game that was postponed from Saturday to Sunday afternoon due to bad weather in Pittsburgh, Notre Dame started fast, but then fell victim to a four-goal run in the first half by Duquesne that put the Irish behind on the scoreboard for most of the game.
Notre Dame scored off the opening draw as Blaney picked up her first of three assists, setting up Granger for her first of the afternoon just 13 seconds into the game.

The Dukes answered back at 28:33 as Prince scored her first of the afternoon to make it 1-1 only to see Blaney score her first of the game 12 seconds later at 28:21 to put the Irish back in the lead at 2-1. That would be the last lead of the game for Notre Dame until there were just under 22 minutes left in the second half.

Duquesne took control of the opening half as the Dukes went on a four-goal run in just over eight minutes on goals by Rekart, Marafioti, Colegrove and Dunn for a 5-2 lead with 13:31 left in the half.

A free-position goal by Stewart at 12:26 halted the Duquesne run and from there the teams traded goals the remainder of the half with Caldwell and Rekart (her second) getting goals around Blaney's second of the half and the Dukes had a 7-4 lead at the half.

Again, the Irish scored quickly to open the second half as Stewart converted a feed from Maggie Tamasitis just 48 seconds into the second stanza for her second goal of the game. Tamasitis, Notre Dame's leading scorer, was held to just one assist as the Dukes face guarded the junior attack player, taking her away from the Irish offense.

A free-position goal by Denk at the 27:00 mark restored the Duke's lead to three goals at 8-5 but it would be their last goal for over 13 minutes as the Notre Dame offense went on its own four-goal run.

Granger set up Stewart for her hat trick at 26:31 to start the run that in the next five minutes would put the Irish ahead, 9-8.

Blaney fed Granger for her second goal at 24:49 and Abt set up Bosco, the freshman midfielder, at 24:32. When Blaney scored on a free-position goal at 21:27, Notre Dame had climbed the ladder to take the lead at 9-8.

Rekart recorded her hat trick at 13:38 to tie the game at nine. From there the Irish were able to take over the game, scoring three of the last four goals on the way to the win.

Blaney equaled a season and career high with her third assist, setting up Keena to put the Irish in front to stay. Brosco scored her second of the contest with 9:23 left to make it a two-goal game at 11-9.

Prince scored her second of the game for Duquesne with 8:06 left to cut the Notre Dame lead to one goal, only to see Abt close out the scoring with 3:49 left for the 12-10 final.

From there, goalkeeper Ellie Hilling and the Notre Dame defense were able to keep the Dukes off the scoreboard to seal the victory. Hilling finished with six saves in the game, coming up with five stops in the second half, including a pair on free-position shots.

"We made some adjustments in the second half and it paid off for us," said Coyne.

"Our defense played better in the second half and Ellie (Hilling) made some key saves that gave us the chance to get back in the game."

Notre Dame out shot Duquesne, 29-21, in the second half. Liz Walker made seven saves for the Dukes.

The Irish are now off for 11 days and return to action on Thursday, March 10 when they play host to Ohio State in a 4:00 p.m. game at Arlotta Stadium.

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