Flanagan Stars as No. 6 University of Notre Dame Edges No. 11 Pennsylvania State University 5-4 to Finish Seventh at 2011 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship

Eileen Flanagan
Eileen Flanagan

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Eileen Flanagan (Sr., Fountain Valley, Calif.) stopped 13 shots to anchor No. 6 University of Notre Dame to a 5-4 home victory against No. 11 Pennsylvania State University in the seventh place game of the 2011 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship at Notre Dame's Rolfs Aquatic Center.

The game was nip-tuck throughout as the Irish found the back of the cage first at the 3:36 mark of the first period with a water-skimming shot by Ali Durkin (Sr., Chicago, Ill.), but PSU responded 22 seconds later when Christin Demoss (So., Mohnton, Pa.) drilled a five-meter penalty shot past Flanagan for the equalizer.

The tie lasted for approximately 2:30 before Courtney Melos (Fr., Sinking Spring, Pa.) connected on a drive-and-shoot chance during a man-advantage opportunity to give the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead with 36 seconds remaining in the opening quarter of play.

PSU's margin grew to 3-1 over half-way through the second period when Vivianne Velez (Jr., Harleysville, Pa.) volleyed home the Lions first natural goal of the morning.  However, the luck of the Irish began to change as Lizzie Gormley (Sr., Houston, Texas) whipped a ball around the diving form of PSU goalie Lara Kaiserian (So., Bryn Mawr, Pa.) to move Notre Dame to within 3-2 at the 1:38 mark.

From there the two teams locked down defensively and stiffled their offensive progress until Melos returned the Penn State lead to a pair of markers via a catch-and-shoot chance at 1:13 of the third period.  But, once again, Notre Dame refused to go South as Victoria Anglin (So., Agoura Hills, Calif.) slipped through into the Lions' den for a buzzer-beater to conclude the third period and set the scoreboard at 4-3.

Needing a quick score to tie the game and put PSU on its heels, Maisie O'Malley (Jr., Chicago, Ill.) delivered with 6:43 shining down from the Coach Dennis Stark '47, '49 scoreboard courtesy a man-up tally to reignite the Irish victory hopes.

Neither team could solve the other's goalie for the next two minutes until Anglin spun a ball into the left-side of the netting with 4:03 remaining in regulation to record the game-winning goal and give the Notre Dame seniors one final victory prior to graduation ceremonies.

The story of the game was the play of Flanagan who allowed two goals early but settled down to block aside 13 of PSU's 17 shots on cage in the game to keep the Midwest Division champion Fighting Irish among the nation's Top Seven teams for another year.

For Penn State, Melos led the way with a pair of strikes, while Kaiserian stopped two shots for the Mid-Atlantic Division champion Nittany Lions as PSU's eighth place finish in the 16-team field tops the program's previous finishes at the National Collegiate Club Championship of 10th (2001 @ Miami University (Ohio)) and 11th (2005 @ Texas A&M University). 

1 2 3 4 -- Final
No. 11 Pennsylvania State University 2 1 1 1 -- 4
No. 6 University of Notre Dame
1 1 1 2 -- 5

Notre Dame Goals: Victoria Anglin (2); Ali Durkin; Lizzie Gormley; Maisie O'Malley

PSU Goals: Courtney Melos (2); Vivianne Velez; Christin Demoss

Saves: Notre Dame - Eileen Flanagan (13) ; PSU - Lara Kaiserian (2)

Exclusions: Notre Dame - 2 ; PSU - 6

Advantage Opportunities:  Notre Dame - 2-for-6 ; PSU - 2-for-2

Sprints: Notre Dame - 3-for-4 ; PSU - 1-for-4

Cards: None

Officials: Don Lewis, Scott Voltz

University of Notre Dame head coach Brian Coughlin & the Fighting Irish discuss strategy against Pennsylvania State University

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