No. 4 Northwestern Wins Road Test at No. 9 Notre Dame

“Lauren has been working hard all season to get more comfortable in her role, to find that junior leadership mentality and to find her voice and lead,” said Halfpenny. “She did it last weekend and she did it tonight. All year long we have told her that she is a shooter and to give us 100% of your effort and use your incredible mind and skill set in shooting and be who you are and tonight she showed that she is a shooter for us and we are incredibly proud of her.”

The Irish close out the regular season at 1:00 p.m. Saturday as they welcome in first-year program Marquette to Arlotta Stadium on senior day.

Notre Dame leapt out to an early 1-0 lead after L. Sullivan found the back of the net at 27:38 off a pass from Gargan. The Wildcats answered with a pair of goals from Fitzgerald and Leonard before L. Sullivan tied the contest up with a goal at 22:54. Senior Jenny Granger gave the Irish another lead just 11 seconds later after a pass from fellow senior Betsy Mastropieri put her in prime position.

Northwestern answered with a trio of goals to take a 5-3 lead with 7:54 remaining in the half. It appeared the Irish could head into the locker room only down one after junior Kaitlyn Brosco scored with 2:12 left, but the Wildcats were awarded a free position attempt with one second remaining that Fitzgerald capitalized on to send the game to break with the score 6-4.

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Fourth-ranked Northwestern used a 7-1 run covering both sides of halftime to overcome a feisty Notre Dame squad Wednesday evening, downing the ninth-ranked Irish 10-8 at Arlotta Stadium in South Bend.

Senior Erin Fitzgerald scored four points (three goals, one assist) and junior attacker Kat DeRonda contributed a career-best three goals to NU's 14th straight win over the Fighting Irish.

After the 'Cats built a five-goal advantage with 22:57 to play, the hosts did their best to rally with a 4-1 run in the middle third of the second half. But sophomore goalkeeper Bridget Bianco -- who recorded seven first-half saves on her way to nine for the evening -- and the Northwestern defense kept the Irish off the scoreboard for the final 11 minutes of the game to secure the win.

Northwestern's willingness to do the dirty work defensively was reflected in a 24-17 advantage in ground balls for the evening, led by senior Ali Cassera's career-high-tying six as well as five from her classmate Taylor Thornton.

Fitzgerald put the Wildcats on the board offensively when she answered Notre Dame's first goal of the game with a score off a free position attempt and, after the NU defense forced a turnover in front of its own goal, Alyssa Leonardfired home a left-handed shot to give NU an early 2-1 lead.

The Irish put away two goals in a span of just 11 seconds to restore a 3-2 advantage at the 22:43 mark, but the Wildcats countered by running an efficient offensive set that ended with Fitzgerald feeding a cutting Kaleigh Craig for Craig's sixth score of the year. NU took a 4-3 lead soon after when Beatrice Conley wrapped the crease to score and Bianco kept Northwestern's lead intact with back-to-back saves on a fast-break opportunity for the Irish.

With eight minutes to go in the first, NU extended its lead when freshmanNancy Dunbar fed DeRonda in space for Northwestern's fifth goal of the evening.

With the Wildcats later protecting a one-goal lead, it appeared NU's final possession of the first half would end without the 'Cats getting a good look on cage, but the Irish were whistled for defensive three seconds with only one second left on the clock. Fitzgerald converted the ensuing 8-meter attempt to send Northwestern into the locker room with momentum and a 6-4 advantage.

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2013-04-24



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