No. 2 Northwestern Wears Down Irish for First-Round Victory

The Wildcats then answered a Kaitlyn Brosco goal with decisive 3-0 run, beginning when Leonard came out of the substitution box and found a lane through the fan, receiving a pass from behind the cage from Smith and quickly finishing her shot for her sixth tally of the year. A Thornton free position goal and a crafty dodge by Amanda Macaluso five minutes later then provided NU its largest lead, 10-5, with 11:39 remaining.

Notre Dame would score twice over the next five minutes to keep things interesting, but two yellow cards issued to the Irish in their attempts to force Northwestern turnovers resulted in back-to-back open-goal opportunities that Lacey Vigmostad converted to account for the final margin of 12-7.

Senior goalkeeper Brianne LoManto stopped five Notre Dame shots on the day while junior midfielder Gabriella Flibotte caused three turnovers for the second straight game.

The Wildcats advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the ninth straight year where next week they will host the winner of a first-round match-up between seventh-seeded Duke and Virginia to be played tomorrow (Sunday). Start time at Lakeside Field next Saturday is set for 7:00 p.m. CT with the Big Ten Network providing a live broadcast from Evanston.

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EVANSTON, Ill. No. 8 Notre Dame saw its first season under head coach Christine Halfpenny come to an end on Saturday afternoon at Northwestern's Lakeside Field, as the No. 2 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.

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2012-05-12



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