Mar 24, 2013, 1:03 AM EDT
In their second Top 25 matchup of the season, the Irish exceeded their high level of competition with a 9-6 victory over nineteenth-ranked Rutgers after nine days without playing a game. Although the temperature was just above freezing, the Irish played outside in the frozen tundra of Arlotta Stadium amongst a number of bundled up fans. The seventh-ranked Irish earned their seventh win of the season while remaining undefeated behind eight saves by senior goalie Ellie Hilling. Hilling, while earning her seventh victory between the pipes this season, now has the most victories of any Notre Dame goalie, and she got plenty of help on the other end with multi-goal games from two attack players, Jenny Granger and Lindsay Powell.
Granger added two assists and head coach Christine Halfpenny tapped into her bench by deploying her high-octane offensive fresh legs in Kaitlyn Brosco, Stephanie Toy, and Lauren Sullivan. Grace Dooley and defender Barb Sullivan energized their teammates with quick clears while sprinting down the field and solid cradling ability against the Scarlet Knights. Dooley also added an assist for Notre Dame. The game played right into Notre Dame’s strengths, as the Irish were able to follow through on the fast tempo that Coach Halfpenny has stressed all season long. The Scarlet Knights were never able to get into a groove as they attempted to slow the game down and work their possessions with ball movement. Notre Dame kept the pressure on captain goalie Lily Kalata, who still managed to save ten of Notre Dame’s twenty-four shots.
Notre Dame took care of the ball nicely as Rutgers turned it over 25 times as opposed to the Irish’s 15. The Irish also had more ground ball pickups than Rutgers, who had trouble catching passes because of Notre Dame’s “sticks up” defense.
The Irish continue to climb up the national polls as the team has gotten off to the fourth fastest start in program history. Notre Dame next faces Villanova on March 24 looking to carry momentum into its next game against a conference foe.
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