No. 7 Irish Down No. 10 Cornell, 16-8, to Advance

(Notre Dame, Ind.) – The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament on Sunday afternoon as the Irish eliminated Cornell with a 16-8 win at Moose Krause Stadium. The win advances the Irish to a quarterfinal match up next Saturday, May 20 versus third-seed Georgetown. The Hoyas, the 2006 BIG EAST champions, defeated Monmouth, 18-2, in their opening round game. The game will be played at Moose Krause Stadium at 1:00 p.m. since the Hoyas cannot host this year.

In Sunday's win over Cornell, Notre Dame (14-3) got big games on both sides of the ball. The Irish defense held Cornell to eight goals behind strong play in front of goalkeeper Carol Dixon (Gr., Pennsauken, N.J.) who finished with 12 saves in the game. Crysti Foote (Sr., Suffern, N.Y.) and Jillian Byers (Fr., Northport, N.Y.) paced the Notre Dame offense with four goals and two assists each. Sophomore Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) added three goals while Heather Ferguson (So., Newtown Square, Pa.) and Kaki Orr (Jr., Darien, Conn.) scored twice and Brittany Fox (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) added a solo goal.

Noelle Dowd led Cornell (12-4) with four goals on the afternoon. Allison McKeown, Allison Schindler, Mimi Baveye and Courtney Farrell scored single goals for the Big Red. Cornell wasted little time in the game, jumping out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Dowd, Farrell and Schindler in the first 8:19 of the game. Following Schindler's goal, Irish head coach Tracy Coyne, who picked up her 200th career win in the game, called a time out to settle her team down.

"I called the timeout just to get us settled down. We had some early-game jitters and we just needed to regroup. Crysti's (Foote) goal loosened us up and we got our confidence back."

Foote's goal, one of three free-position goals in the game for the Irish All-American and Tewaaraton Trophy candidate, came just 1:23 after Coyne's time out and started Notre Dame on a 10-1 run that would give the Irish a six-goal lead early in the second half. Orr cut the lead to 3-2 at 18:36 with her first goal of the game via a free-position shot. Byers scored twice in a 1:05 span to put the Irish ahead 4-3 with 15:59 left in the first half. Her second goal came off a Foote assist, giving the Irish scoring leader her 33rd helper of the season and 69th of her career, both new Irish records for assists.

"We got off to a fast start with the three goals but Notre Dame was quick to tie it in a five-minute span," said Cornell head coach Jenny Graap. "When they went ahead 4-3, they grabbed the momentum. Emotionally, the momentum was important and they were able to keep it into the second half."

Dowd answered back for the Big Red with her second of the game just 34 seconds later to make it 4-4, but that was as close as Cornell would come the rest of the afternoon. Byers set up Orr's second goal of the game at 14:56 and McKinney scored twice at 14:27 and 9:22 to build Notre Dame's lead to 7-4. Byers closed out the first-half scoring with her third of the half with 5:20 left for an 8-4 Irish advantage.

Notre Dame's offense continued to fire on all cylinders in the second half. Foote (free-position goal) and Byers made it a 10-4 lead with 25:18 left in the game before Cornell broke the Irish run. McKeown beat Dixon with a free-position shot with 24:12 left only to have Ferguson answer back at 19:04 off a great feed from Byers to make it 11-5.

The Big Red then scored twice to cut the Irish lead to 11-7 and maybe seize the momentum back. Dowd got her third of the game (free-position shot) at 18:07 and Baveye scored off a Charlotte Schmidlapp assist with 16:56 left to cut Notre Dame's lead to four goals. Cornell had two more chances to cut the lead but Baveye was wide right on a shot from the right wing and Jessica Wiegand fired high on a free-position chance with 12:34 left.

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