Hilling Leads No. 6 Irish to Thrilling Victory Over No. 8 Hoyas

NOTRE DAME, Ind. Behind 14 saves from senior goalie Ellie Hilling and four second-half goals from sophomore Caitlin Gargan, No. 6 Notre Dame outlasted No. 8 Georgetown, 13-12, in Big East action Sunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium.

Despite losing the battle in nearly every major category, the Irish used efficiency on the offensive end to put the ball in the back of the net 13 times on only 22 shots compared to 12 goals on 37 shots for the Hoyas.

The game witnessed several offensive flurries from both teams as Notre Dame scored two or more consecutive goals four times, while Georgetown accomplished the feat on three occasions.

With the game tied at four coming out of the halftime break, the Irish quickly took an 8-4 lead on the strength of two consecutive goals from Gargan and one each from Jenny Granger and Lindsay Powell that all came within the half's first eight minutes. Gargan's first two came within 1:31 of each other and just 2:48 into the half. Gargan finished the day with a game-high four goals, which tied her career high that she set earlier this season against Villanova.

The Hoyas quickly responded with four goals over the next eight minutes to tie the contest at eight. The tying goal came from the stick of Dina Jackson off a nice feed from Rosie Corcoran.

Not worried about the loss of momentum, Notre Dame ran off three more goals in four minutes on impressive individual efforts from Stephanie Toy, Gargan and Lauren Sullivan.

Georgetown trimmed the lead to 11-9 with 5:55 left after Meghan Farrell scored off a pass from Hannah Franklin. However, the Irish answered with two more goals of their own to seemingly put the game out of reach. Gargan scored her fourth goal of the game off a pass from Granger, while Sullivan tallied her second goal of the contest after receiving a feed from Toy.

Trailing by four with under a minute to go in regulation, Georgetown refused to give up, tallying three goals within 54 seconds to nearly send the game to an improbable overtime.

Farrell scored just seconds after a ground ball pickup from Corcoran with 54 seconds left to make the score 13-10. On the ensuing draw, Sophia Thomas struck pay dirt after Casey McGowan controlled the draw and passed to Thomas to move the score to 13-11.

Nearly 30 seconds later after Notre Dame controlled the ball right in front of its own goal, an opportune Kelsi Bozel scooped up a ground ball off an Irish turnover and made a nifty behind the back toss into the back of the net to cut the margin to one with 13 seconds remaining.

Georgetown had a chance to conclude the improbable comeback with just seconds remaining in the game after winning its 12th draw control of the half, but a Hoya turnover with three seconds remaining ended the scare and improved Notre Dame to 11-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big East.

Besides taking 15 more shots than the Irish, the Hoyas also out-drew Notre Dame, 17-10, had more free position opportunities, 10-1, and had less fouls, 39-12, and turnovers, 21-15.

Hilling, however, evened the playing field as she stopped shot after shot from Georgetown players, including several from point-blank range. The 14 saves were a season high for the Rochester, N.Y., native, who has reached double digits in stops four times this season, including two games in a row.

Hilling also tied her career high for the fifth time with a game-high six ground balls. She picked up her 10th win of the season and moved into first place in school history with 496 career saves and into fourth place in school history with 144 ground balls. Hilling is now tops in school history for goalies in games played and started (66), saves and minutes played (3,881:58).

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