April 5, 2013

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No. 6 Notre Dame Needs OT to Dispatch Louisville

from press release

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Notre Dame senior women's lacrosse student-athlete Betsy Mastropieri found the back of the net 3:18 into the second overtime to give the No. 6/7 Irish a thrilling 16-15 win over Louisville Friday evening at the University of Louisville Lacrosse Stadium.

"I'm absolutely thrilled with the win," said head coach Christine Halfpenny. It was good to get an overtime game under our belts with so many tough games left this season and it was awesome to get the win. It is definitely a confidence builder for our team. Our team leadership was awesome in every huddle and it absolutely helped us win this game."

After a high-scoring affair in regulation, neither team could muster a goal in the first overtime or through the first three minutes of the second overtime. However, freshman Stephanie Peragallo came up with a huge draw control to open the second three-minute session of the second OT to give the Irish an opportunity to claim the golden goal. Notre Dame did just that as junior Lindsay Powell passed it in to Mastropieri, who buried the ball in the back of the net to give the Irish the win.

"Betsy only played the last four minutes of the game," said Halfpenny. "But she was ready to go in when given the opportunity and she helped win the game for us."

The victory was the first double overtime win for the Irish since Notre Dame took down No. 15 Georgetown, 7-6, last season to clinch a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament.

With the win Notre Dame improves to 9-0, including 3-0 in BIG EAST play. The victory assures the Irish of at least the second best start to a season in school history. The 2013 squad trails only the 2004 team, who began the year 10-0. They have now surpassed last year's team that opened 8-0 in Halfpenny's first season at the helm of the program.

Notre Dame continues its weekend road swing at 1 p.m. Sunday in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the Irish meet the Cincinnati Bearcats. Fans can follow the game by clicking on the links for live stats or paid live video on UND.com.

A pair of impressive offensive performances by two seniors paced the Irish. Senior Jaimie Morrison turned in a historic effort as she totaled nine points (5G, 4A) to put her in elite company in school history. The nine points tied her for third in school history for most points in a game and also tied her for second in school history for most points in a road contest.

Fellow senior Jenny Granger had a team-high five goals while dishing out two assists to total seven points.

"Jaimie and Jenny played like senior leaders today," said Halfpenny. "They were very poised and confident and showed incredible leadership in big moments."

Freshman Kiera McMullan added a pair of goals and an assist, while Powell and Margaret Smith each had a goal and an assist. Powell also had two ground balls, one draw control and one caused turnover, while Smith turned in another impressive all-around game, tallying three ground balls, three draw controls and two caused turnovers to go along with the two points.

Elsewhere on defense, sophomore Barbara Sullivan continued her impressive season as she collected seven draw controls, scooped up two ground balls and caused a team-high three turnovers.

In goal sophomore Allie Murray saw her first action of the season after replacing senior starter Ellie Hilling. Murray showed no rust, stopping six shots and allowing only three goals in 25:08 of action to pick up the second win of her career. The other win came last year as the Irish topped Villanova 18-5 at Arlotta Stadium as Murray stopped nine Wildcat shots.

"Allie absolutely came up huge for us in the cage," said Halfpenny. "She made some critical stops for us that helped us then go down the field and score goals. Some of the stops were point-blank shots and really helped us pull this game out."

Louisville took a 7-6 lead into the halftime break after scoring three straight goals in under two minutes to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 advantage. Powering the offensive attack was Katie Oliverio, who scoring the first two of the three consecutive goals at the 27:05 and 25:31 marks. The Irish fought back to tie the score at five on a Morrison goal at 16:04. The Cardinals then scored two more goals in a row to run the score to 7-5 with 13:12 left in the half. Freshman Stephanie Toy gave the half its final goal as she scored unassisted with 9:32 left in the half.

Notre Dame is now 4-0 this season when trailing at the break.

The second half featured a flurry of goals as both teams traded leads. Notre Dame quickly tied the score at seven before Louisville scored three goals in a row in just under three minutes to take a 10-7 advantage. Goals from Morrison and McMullan moved the score to 10-9, before the Cardinals tallied goals from Nikki Boltja and Kaylin Morissette to take a 12-9 lead.

As Murray replaced Hilling, Notre Dame finally went on the run it was looking for as it scored five of the next six goals to tie the contest at 13. During the run Granger scored a pair of goals. The Irish appeared on the brink of victory after Granger scored with 3:54 left to make the score 15-14. However, Oliverio tallied her 19th goal of the season with 2:20 left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Boltja scored a game-high six goals, while Oliverio had four to lead the Cardinals. Suffering the loss in goal was Ashley Herbst (7-4), who stopped nine Notre Dame shots.


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