February 21, 2016

Women's Sunday Wrap: Notre Dame Hammers BC

by Daniel O'Boyle | Twitter

The 2016 ACC season began on Saturday at Loftus Sports Center, and No. 8 Notre Dame’s defense sent an early message, helping the Irish to a 14-4 victory over No. 9 Boston College. 

It was the Eagles (2-1, 0-1 ACC) who got off to the better start, winning the opening draw and scoring thanks to a free position shot from senior midfielder Caroline Margolis. The Irish were quick to answer through senior attacker Rachel Sexton, but another free position from junior midfielder Mary Kate O’Neill restored the lead for Boston College.

However, O’Neill’s goal would be the last the Eagles scored for nearly 40 minutes When Boston College next got onto the scoresheet, it was to make the score 11-3 after a string of 10 unanswered Irish goals. Three of those goals — two from junior attacker Heidi Annaheim and one from junior attacker Grace Muller — came within the final 61 seconds of the first half, as the Irish built a 7-2 lead at the break. Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said the run of goals was a full-team performance starting at the back. 

“It just speaks to our defense fueling our offense and our midfield being incredible connectors,” Halfpenny said. “Once we settled down, we had the opportunity to play them live and not just go from a scout report. We settled in, we played our game and it’s a standard that we want to continue to play to. The girls are setting the bar which they want to play at, which I’m very excited about. They’re keeping it very focused on ourselves and on each other.”

Boston College won 11 draws to Notre Dame’s nine, including six of the game’s first seven, but struggled with scoring past freshman goalie Samantha Giacolone. The Eagles attempted 15 shots during their scoreless stretch, nine of them saved by Giacolone. Giacolone finished with 13 saves for the Irish, while the Boston College offense, which had scored 37 goals in its first two games of the season, could only convert four of 23 shots. Halfpenny had praise for Giacolone in particular, as well as her whole defensive unit. 

“We had some different changes, some new faces in the lineup today, Barbara [Sullivan], Steph [Peragallo] and Brie [Custis] holding down the fort back there with Sam Giacolone,” Halfpenny said. “But the reality is that as Sam continues to settle in, we’re giving her the saves we want her to make. She’s making most of the saves she should make, she’s making a couple of that next category and today she had a couple of those momentum one-on-none saves in the second half, and that’s all you can ask of your goalie. She did a great job of handling the ball and making decisions in the clear, so I’m really excited about that.”

Notre Dame freshman goalie Samantha Giacolone made 13 saves while allowing just four goals to spark the Irish to a dominating win over Boston College. (Matt Cashore)

Katherine McManus was one of the new faces playing for Notre Dame. Playing in her first game of the season, McManus had a pair of ground balls and a caused turnovers. 

“Katherine McManus stepped in too and she was fantastic today, flying in off the line, matching BC, her presence in one-v-ones has been great. She’s been working really hard, along with all of her teammates and I do think that that’s the standard we’d like to play to. I talked about not worrying about expectations this season and our expectations aren’t what we’re talking about. We’re talking about how we train in practice and how we can put that performance on the field and showcase that on game day.”

Offensively, the Irish were paced by Cortney Fortunato with five goals and two assists while Annaheim added three goals and two assists. None of BC's four goals were assisted and three came on free position shots.

The win gives the Irish a strong start and puts the Eagles in an early hole in conference play in this year’s ACC, which boasts seven of the current top 20 teams in the country. Halfpenny said opening conference play well is important, but her team must always look to the next game. 

“It’s still so early,” Halfpenny said. “BC’s only going to get better, we’re only going to get better, but the reality is, in a conference that’s the best in the country top-to-bottom, when you get one, you take it, you celebrate it, but then you have to have amnesia to be able to get ready for the next round.“

The Eagles will hope to bounce back this Saturday with another chance to earn their first conference win of the season when they travel to Louisville. The Irish will return to action on Friday, hosting Colorado at Arlotta Stadium.

In other notable games from Sunday:

Connecticut 12, James Madison 10

Katherine Finkelston and Jacqueline Jordan each scored four goals as Connecticut edged No. 18 James Madison 12-10 to improve to 2-0 for the season. It’s the second season in a row that the Huskies have knocked off a nationally-ranked opponent at home. UConn upset Florida 11-10 last April at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex. 

UConn scored the first three goals of the game, but fueled by Elena Romesburg, the Dukes came back to take a 5-4 lead with 17:42 in the first half. Romesburg scored three of JMU’s goals during the spurt.

The Huskies then turned to Finkelston, a senior who had five goals in the upset win over Florida a year ago. Finkelston scored UConn’s next four goals, the fourth coming with 18:41 left in the game to give the Huskies an 8-7 lead it would not surrender. 

The teams traded goals from there before Jordan scored consecutive goals just 12 seconds apart to put UConn in front 12-9 with 5:15 to play. Betsy Angel scored for JMU with 3:44 to play, but that was the final score of the game.

Shannon Nee came up big for UConn in goal, making 12 saves, including seven in the second half. 

JMU (1-2) was led by Jaci Gordon with three goals and an assist and Romesburg also had the three goals. The Dukes forced UConn into 24 turnovers, with Anna Zabel causing six turnovers.

Stanford 18, Ohio State 7 

Anna Salemo, who was originally recruited to play for the Cardinal coming out of Heritage (Colo.) High in 2011 before taking a medical leave of absence, tallied a team-high six points Sunday afternoon as No. 15 Stanford dominated No. 17 Ohio State 18-7. Junior attacker Kelsey Murray scored four goals while adding one assist and senior midfielder Lucy Dikeou docked four points. Stanford outshot the Buckeyes 28-15 and won the draw battle 16-11. Sophomore Kelly Myers had a game-high seven draw controls. 

Syracuse 16, Wagner 5

No. 3 Syracuse gave a rude welcome back to former star Katie Rowan, scoring the first nine goals of the game on its way to a 16-5 win over Wagner. Rowan is in her first year coaching at Wagner. Kayle Treanor had two goals, including a nifty behind the back shot to go along with five assists and 12 draw controls for the Orange. Halle Majorana and Riley Donahue each added three goals and an assist for Syracuse. Shea Gegan had two goals and an assist for Wagner.

The game was the first of two on the day for the Orange. Syracuse hosts Marist tonight at 7:30. 

Johns Hopkins 14, Rutgers 2

Haley Schweizer poured in six goals as No. 13 Johns Hopkins cruised past Rutgers 14-2. Hopkins (3-0) outscored Rutgers 7-1 in each half and also got two goals each from Shannon Fitzgerald, Cece Finney and Emily Kenul. Caroline Federico went the distance in goal and made six saves.

Michigan 11, Marquette 8

Michigan outscored Marquette 4-1 over the final 18 plus minutes to post an 11-8 victory over the Golden Eagles. Anna Schueler’s goal with 16:16 remaining broke a 7-7 tie and ignited a three-goal run for Michigan (2-2). Junior Kim Coughlan had five goals and an assist to pace the Michigan offense.

Lehigh 9, Yale 7

A game of runs gave Lehigh a 9-7 win over Yale, spoiling the head coaching debut for Yale’s Erica LaGrow. Lehigh scored four straight to open the game, but Yale answered with four straight of its own. The Mountain Hawks then scored five straight, taking a 9-4 lead with 14:53 to play. Yale responded with its own three-goal run, but ran out of time and Lehigh registered the win. Courtney Henig led Lehigh with three goals and Lauren Beausoleil and Allison LaBeau each had two goals and two assists. Tess McEvoy had three goals and an assist for Yale.

Virginia Tech 14, High Point 13 (OT)

After trailing High Point 9-6 at halftime, Virginia Tech scored four consecutive goals to tie it up 11-11 with 13:42 remaining in the game. Junior midfielder Kristine Loscalzo then scored back-to-back goals in less than 20 seconds to tie the game again, 13-13. The Panthers and Hokies went into overtime before senior defender Meghan Macera scored the gamewinner. 

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