With 30 seconds left to go and down by one, the Dartmouth women’s lacrosse team (0-2) was on the attack, looking to even up the score and force overtime with the Wolverines (4-0). As many times during the game, there was a certain someone who stood in the way of those plans: senior goalkeeper Mira Shane.
Dartmouth attacker Katie Bourque threw a low ball to the bottom-left corner of the net when Shane stuck out her leg to prevent the goal and maintain the one-point lead. Though Bourque would score seconds later off of a free-position shot, Shane made sure she had to work for it.
Shane made sure the Big Green worked for all of their goals. She had a season-high 16 saves in Sunday’s matchup, a game that saw the Wolverines come away with an 11-10 victory after a weather-induced delay, a full 60 minutes of regulation and two overtimes.
“I think I owe it to my goalie fam,” she said. “We push each other day in and day out to expect the best we’re shooting for — 70 percent or higher. And obviously, that win is dedicated to our past goalie coach from last year. She sent us a text this morning and I think it’s just a mindset of going in and staying focused and doing it for your teammates.”
Shane made saves right from the get-go, saving three separate free-position shots in the first few minutes. It took six minutes of play before a goal was scored. Kathryn Giroux netted the first goal past Shane on Dartmouth’s fourth free-position attempt.
Sunday’s game included 14 free-position shots for Dartmouth, which are shots awarded to players when they are fouled within the eight-meter arc. That’s more than Michigan’s three previous games combined. These shots are often difficult to save for the goalie, but Shane was able to hold her own against the Big Green.
She also held her own against Dartmouth’s 36 shots, 26 of which were on goal. The 26 shots allowed on goal were a season-high for Michigan.
Not only were her numbers impressive, but Shane was the vocal leader of the defense, and at times, the whole team. She made a save with her stick on a ball bound for the top right of the net and passed it on to her teammate for a counter attack and an eventual score. She made sure to run all the way to midfield to celebrate.
“Mira’s impact on our team, you can’t put it into words,” said Michigan coach Hannah Nielsen. “She’s one of the hardest workers on the team. She puts in additional minutes throughout the week, which results in a performance like that. She’s the leader back there, save after save, on some point-blank shots. And she’s communicating in the net, she’s spirited, she’s a leader, and she deserves those 16 saves today because she put in the work for them.”
When asked about how it felt whenever she made a jaw-dropping split save like she did at the end of regulation, Shane just laughed.
“I think it goes back to these feelings of why you play and purpose,” she said. “Hannah and the rest of our leadership development team talk a lot about ‘Why are you doing this?’ And I think it’s my senior season and I wanna go out with a bang. So all of those crazy split saves and throwing my body, it’s all for the girls on my team.”
Once the game reached overtime, Shane didn’t get quite as much action as she did in regulation, only needing to save one shot. But it was thanks to her that overtime happened at all.
Shane’s teammate, junior Molly Garrett, sealed the 11-10 victory for the Wolverines with a game-winning goal during the second overtime with golden goal in effect. Shane had nothing but praise for Garrett and the rest of her teammates.
“I think with that this team, specifically this year, yes we’ve grown but also we’re filled with fighters,” Shane said. “And we don’t give up and we’re tough ‘til the very end and win or lose we’re gonna be the tougher team out there so I think we really showed that today and also showed that on the scoreboard at the end of the day thanks to Molly.”