Following a season filled with milestones and accomplishments, the women’s lacrosse team’s 2006 campaign came to a disheartening conclusion on Sunday, with a 16-8 loss to No. 7 Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament. No. 10 Cornell (12-4, 6-1 Ivy) jumped out to an early 3-0, but Notre Dame’s high-octane offense was too much for the Red’s short-handed defense to handle. With the win, Notre Dame advances to the quarterfinals to face No. 4 Georgetown in a match-up of the two top teams in the Big East.
This was the second time Cornell and Notre Dame have met this season, with the first a 17-15 decision in favor of the Irish. Between the two games, Cornell went 11-2 and earned a share of its first ever Ivy League title. To do so, the squad underwent a dramatic transformation that refocused the team’s priorities on defense. Entering Sunday’s game, Cornell was ranked third in the country in goals allowed (7.07 per game) and thirteenth in goals scored (12.53 per game). However, since the first time the squads met this season, Cornell has allowed a meager 6.23 goals per game.
On Sunday, Cornell was without the services of two of its starters – juniors Margaux Viola and Anne Riordan – due to injury. Despite this, the Red jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by sophomores Noelle Dowd and Courtney Farrell and senior Allison Schindler. At that point, Notre Dame elected to take a timeout to curb Cornell’s momentum and to attempt to establish a rhythm of its own. The decision paid off as the Irish went on an 8-1 run over the remainder of the half,
Up 8-4 at halftime, the Notre Dame padded its lead with two more goals to open the second half. The Red began to whittle away its deficit, scoring three of the next four goals – on tallies by junior Allison McKeown, Dowd and sophomore Mimi Baveye – to cut the Irish’s lead to 11-7. With momentum starting to turn in favor of Cornell, the Red tried to push up its defense, hoping to cause some turnovers and create fast break opportunities. However, Notre Dame was able to get past the defense, scoring the next five goals, to thwart Cornell’s comeback attempts.
Dowd tallied her fourth goal of the game and the 30th of the season with about a minute and a half remaining to cap the scoring on the day. Notre Dame was led by four-goal, two-assist efforts by both Crysti Foote and Jill Byers, bringing their season totals to 102 points (68 goals, 34 assists) and 73 points (51g, 22a), respectively.
Senior Maggie Fava made eight saves on the day, with six coming in the second half. Junior Mary Montague saw her first action of the season, allowing one goal and scooping up a ground ball, in about seven minutes of playing time at the end of the first half.
Senior Lyndsay Robinson and sophomore Amanda Linnertz each had three ground balls on the day, while senior Rachel Spoonhower had three draw controls.