EVANSTON, Ill. - The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team saw its first season under head coach Christine Halfpenny come to an end on Saturday afternoon at Northwestern's Lakeside Field, as the Wildcats defeated the Irish, 12-7.
The Irish end the season with a 13-5 record, a mark that is one of the best in school history.
In a game that was in doubt until the very end, the Wildcats used the draw (15-5) to control the possession for much of the game, as they outscored the Irish 7-4 in the second half to hold on for the win. Their last two goals came against an empty net as they Irish added an extra defender to try and get the ball back.
The Wildcats piled up 25 shots compared to 15 for the Irish, and also scooped up 19 ground balls to Notre Dame's 14.
Leading the way for the Irish were junior Betsy Mastropieri and sophomore Kaitlyn Brosco, who each tallied a pair of goals. In her last game, Maggie Tamasitis scored a goal and dished out a pair of assists. Also scoring goals were Caitlin Gargan and Margaret Smith.
Northwestern was led by Erin Fitzgerald's hat trick, while Lacey Vigmostad and Taylor Thornton scored two goals each. Alyssa Leonard dominated the draw control for the Wildcats, as she faced off against the Irish and collected eight, often times out of the air. Thornton led the way with five ground balls. Goalie Brianne LoManto picked up her 18th win, as she allowed seven goals while stopping five shots.
Despite only collecting two draws in nine opportunities, the Irish trailed by only two goals at halftime, 5-3. Notre Dame was helped by a ferocious defense that forced Northwestern into 11 turnovers. When the Irish did have the ball they were hurt by nine turnovers, many after forcing a Northwestern turnover. However, the Irish were efficient around the goal, scoring their three goals on only seven shots, while the Wildcats took 13 shots to score their five goals. The 5-3 margin put the Irish squarely in the game after trailing 12-3 just three weeks ago against the Wildcats at the half.
In the second half the two squads traded goals until the Wildcats went on a 3-0 run from 17:52 to 11:39 to go up 10-5. The Irish cut the lead to 10-7 with 5:18 left after goals from Brosco and Mastropieri, but could get no closer.
The contest marked the final game in an Irish uniform for eight Notre Dame student-athletes. Seeing their final action were Tamasitis, Megan Sullivan, Kate Newall, Jordy Shoemaker, Flannery Nangle, Brittany Mallory, Kristin DeRespiris and Kelly Driscoll.
Tamasitis ends her career as the Irish leader in assists with 151. She is also fourth in points with 228. The Boyertown, Pa., product and senior teammate M. Sullivan end their careers tied for second for most games played with 76.
Courtesy Notre Dame Media Relations