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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

WOMEN'S LACROSSE: Irish fall to Blue Devils, Cardinal

It was a weekend of almosts and could-have-beens for the Irish, as missed opportunities and strong goaltending sank Notre Dame this weekend. The Irish fell to 3-8 on the season after dropping a pair of games, losing to No. 2-ranked Duke 11-8 on Friday before falling 6-5 in a closely-contested game against Stanford on Sunday afternoon.In both contests, the Notre Dame defense had to try to pick up for the struggles the team had with the ball."The defense played awesome; the defense kept us in the game," head coach Tracy Coyne said after Sunday's game against Stanford.On Friday, the defense proved itself by containing Blue Devils junior star Katie Chrest, who has been practicing with the USA World Cup Team, holding her to two goals, the latter of which came with just 45 seconds to play in the second half."Megan Fitzpatrick was the matchup on her, but I think other defenders collapsing and taking her out of her game, I think that really made a difference," Coyne said.Regardless, Duke still jumped out to an early lead, getting goals from Kristen Waagbo and Caroline Cryer to take a 2-0 lead just 5:53 into the game. It was a lead they would never lose, as Notre Dame never got closer than a two-point deficit in the game. Behind four goals from freshman Rachel Sanford, the Blue Devils led 5-2 at halftime and built up to a 10-5 lead with 5:20 to go in the game before the Irish closed the game on a 3-1 run to make the game's last minutes interesting. The last minute effort was initiated by freshman Caitlin McKinney, who scored with 4:20 left to cut the lead to 10-6. McKinney was very busy all afternoon, scoring three goals and adding two assists to lead the team with five points.Despite the loss, Coyne was pleased with the way her team played."I think if we always played like this, we'd be in the top five," Coyne said.Unfortunately for her team, they did not play the same on Sunday, falling to Stanford in the lowest-scoring contest in the seven-year history of Notre Dame women's lacrosse. The game started off at a frenzied pace, with both offenses ineffective despite operating at nearly full speed the entire first half.Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-1 lead when junior Chrysti Foote, who finished with two goals and two assists and has already been offensive player of the week twice this year, scored one of each to give her team the lead 13:39 into the first half. However, Stanford quickly rallied and went into halftime with a 4-3 lead. In the second half, the pace slowed down, and Notre Dame had opportunities to score.However, the Irish were without McKinney the entire second half, as she was ejected with 2:09 left in the first period for checking to the head. "Obviously, she's a huge part of the attacking unit and she generates a lot, but I still felt confident in the other players we had out there," Coyne said.Ultimately, the game came down to the wire, as it was tied at five for most of the final seven minutes. The Irish had an opportunity to score with a minute to go in the game, but Stanford goalie Laura Shane got the biggest of her 14 saves to shut down Notre Dame's chances. Moments later, Nina Pantano beat Notre Dame's Carol Dixon for the game-winner for the Cardinal with just 14 seconds remaining. "We got some good looks, but I was disappointed with how we executed at the very end on attack," Coyne said.Notre Dame is in action again next Saturday at 1 p.m. against Georgetown at Moose Krause Stadium.