BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech lacrosse team opened conference play falling to No. 12 Notre Dame, 18-9, at Thompson Field Sunday afternoon. Junior Megan Will led the Hokies with three goals and two assists, while Notre Dame was paced by Caitlin Gargan with four goals and an assist.
Notre Dame (3-2, 1-2 ACC) opened play with a very quick attack, scoring twice in the first two minutes of the game, but redshirt senior Julia Heaps got the Hokies (3-2, 0-1 ACC) on the board less than three minutes in as she quickly turned and fired in a pass from classmate Kelly Naslonski.
The Irish wasted no time to build on their early lead as they put away three more goals over the next four minutes. Freshman goalie Meagh Graham disturbed the high-powered attack when she intercepted a pass and quickly sent it down field. The ball ended up in the hands of Will who juked her defender and capitalized on the defensive stop.
Cortney Fortunato scored her third goal of the game following the strike by Will and Grace Muller tacked on another to make it a 7-2 game midway through the first half. Naslonski tried to get things going for the Hokies less than a minute later we she picked up the rebound of a shot by Will and put it away.
Junior Meg Bartley added another for Tech, relaying a pass from Heaps into the back of the cage, and Will found an open look attacking on the right side to add to Tech’s total, but the Irish put away three more goals in the final three minutes of the first half to take an 11-5 lead into the break. Notre Dame outshot the Hokies 19-15 and also took the edge on draws, 11-6.
Tech opened the second half with a three goal run as sophomore Meghan Macera and Will scored on back-to-back free position attempts and junior Jack Boissonneault made it an 11-8 game burying a pass from Will. After a lull in production for both teams, Notre Dame started a run midway through the half that would put the game away. Brie Custis helped the Irish hold on to a near turnover and made the most of it, eventually ending the possession with a goal, and they tacked on five more over the next ten minutes.
Bartley, who finished the game with two goals and seven draws, teamed up with Will for a late goal for the Hokies but their fate was already decided. Notre Dame outshot Tech 35-26 in the game. Fortunato and Sexton put away three goals for the Irish, while Margaret Smith gave them a lift off the bench with seven draws and four caused turnovers.
Graham played the full game for Tech and finished with 11 saves. Allie Murray got the decision for the Irish and made six saves in her 30 minutes of action in goal. She was replaced at the half by Liz O’Sullivan, who allowed four goals and made three saves.
Tech returns to action on Sunday, March 9 to host nationally-ranked Duke at 1 p.m.
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