Notre Dame earns share of title

Notre Dame's Moira Putsch sends the winning goal past Episcopal Academy's Gianna Pileggi on a penalty stroke."I didn't want to look back and say I could have done more," the senior said.                      RON TARVER / Staff Photographer
Notre Dame's Moira Putsch sends the winning goal past Episcopal Academy's Gianna Pileggi on a penalty stroke."I didn't want to look back and say I could have done more," the senior said.                      RON TARVER / Staff Photographer
Posted: November 08, 2013

When the final horn sounded, Moira Putsch was submerged.

The Notre Dame senior was at the bottom of a quickly growing pile of her teammates and students at the game.

It was only fitting that Putsch was at the core of the celebration after her two second-half goals lifted Notre Dame to a 2-1 win Wednesday against visiting Episcopal Academy and at least a share of the Inter-Ac League field hockey championship.

In what she called "the biggest game in her four years at Notre Dame," the University of Maryland recruit tied the game three minutes into the second half and scored on a penalty stroke to the top left corner of the net with a little more than eight minutes remaining to win it.

"Knowing this was my last chance, all I wanted to do was leave every last ounce that I have out there," Putsch said. "I didn't want to look back and say I could have done more."

"I'd put my life on Moira," Notre Dame coach Adele Williams said. "There's very few she misses, and in big games, she delivers."

Putsch's two goals gave her 46 this season, a personal best.

"She's by far the best player in the state," Williams said. "It's actually kind of sad to see her go. I've had her for four years, and I'm just excited she can leave with a championship."

Episcopal took the lead early in the first half on Margaux Paolino's goal and survived much of Notre Dame's attack. The Irish outshot Episcopal, 18-2, and earned 19 corners to the Churchwomen's five, but goalie Gianna Pileggi made 17 saves.

"Their goalie is amazing," Putsch said. "She's the best goalie there is out there."

Notre Dame (19-1 overall, 11-1 league) earned at least a share of the Inter-Ac title for the sixth time in seven years.

Episcopal Academy (17-1, 10-1) will host Agnes Irwin on Friday, and a win would split the Inter-Ac championship between Notre Dame and Episcopal for the second straight year.

While Putsch was willing to call her winning goal her biggest, she was quick to point out that the two teams could meet again in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools championship, which Notre Dame won in 2011 and Episcopal won last year.

"Just for now," Putsch said. "We'll see."

Episcopal Academy 1 0 – 1

Notre Dame 0 2 – 2

Goals: EA-Margaux Paolino; ND-Moira Putsch 2.

Saves: EA-Gianna Pileggi 17; ND-Gabby Carlini 1.


ncarroll@phillynews.com

@NickJCarroll

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