NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Elon University women’s lacrosse led by four at halftime on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25, at 18th-ranked Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish battled back to claim an 11-9 win at Loftus Sports Center.
Elon now stands at 0-3 on the season. It has faced three nationally-ranked ACC opponents in a row to open the 2018 campaign. Notre Dame is now 3-2 on the year.
Elon came out firing in the early going with three goals in the opening 4:40 the game. Abby Godfrey got things going just 3:05 in with a free position goal, and her tally was followed 23 seconds later when Quinn Daly scored her first collegiate goal. Just 1:12 later, Maeve Cowley netted her first of the year on a free position shot to put Elon up 3-0 and bring a Notre Dame timeout.
After the stoppage, the Fighting Irish tallied a pair to make it a one-goal game, but Shannon Horan gave the Phoenix breathing room with her first goal on her first shot of the campaign. Just 56 seconds later, Nicole Sinacori scored her fourth of the year and Stephanie Asher followed it to put the Phoenix up 6-2 with 13:04 to go. Down the stretch in the opening 30 minutes, Cowley scored her second of the frame to give Elon a 7-3 lead at the break.
On the other side of halftime, neither side could get on the board until Notre Dame opened the flood gates with Jessi Masinko starting a 7-1 run to bring the Irish all the way back for a 10-8 lead with 8:04 to play. In the closing minutes, Melissa Birdsell took a pass from Sinacori and brought Elon within one at 10-9 with 3:02 to play, but a Notre Dame goal with 1:06 to play sealed the Irish win.
Cowley found the back of the net on all three shots she took on the afternoon to lead the Phoenix. Six other Elon players all tallied once while Sinacori had the only assist. Alexis Zadjura led the team with four caused turnovers and Asher and Zadjura matched each other for a team-best three draw controls. A host of Phoenix, including Daly, Horan, Zadjura and Tori Cipollone, all picked up two ground balls on the afternoon.
Off the bench, Diana Kelly scored four goals while Masinko, Molly Cobb and Sydney Cardozo all tallied twice to pace the Irish. Maddie Howe had four helpers while Nikki Ortega had two. Both Andie Aldave and Savannah Buchanan finished with a game-high five draw controls and Casey Pearsall and Kathleen Roe forced three turnovers apiece.
-Maeve Cowley’s three goals fell one short of tying for her career high of four.
-Elon did a number on Nikki Ortega, holding Notre Dame’s leading scorer off the board all afternoon. Entering the day, she had 12 goals in four games.
-Notre Dame started Samantha Giacolone in the cage, but Elon beat her for six goals in 16:56 of game action before she gave way to Bridget Deehan, who made five saves and gave up three goals in 43:04.
-Elon has now played six consecutive games against nationally-ranked opponents going back to the CAA Semifinals on May 5, 2017. During the run, it has played Towson, James Madison, Virginia (twice), Duke and Notre Dame.
Ready to come home for the first time in 2018, Elon will welcome High Point to Rudd Field on Thursday, March 1, at 6 p.m. Elon is 3-0 all-time against High Point and has won each of the last three meetings after dropping the series opener. The Phoenix is also 13-4 all-time against Big South foes.