ND Women’s Lacrosse
Duke to visit Arlotta Stadium
Katie Heit | Friday, April 11, 2014
After dropping their last two games against ACC opponents, the No. 10/11 Irish attempt to end their conference season on a high note when they take on No. 7 Duke on Friday at Arlotta Stadium in their second-to-last ACC matchup of the season.
The Irish (8-5, 1-4 ACC) enter the contest coming off a close 11-10 loss to Stanford on March 29, followed by a 13-8 loss to Virginia on Saturday.
Sophomore attack Kiera McMullan said the Irish have struggled with shooting in the losses.
“We haven’t been shooting well in the last few games,” McMullan said. “Against Virginia we were held to one goal in the first half. This week we really have gone back to the basics and worked a ton on finishing our shots.”
In addition to shooting, the Irish struggled to control the draw during their matchup with Virginia. The Cavaliers won 13 of the draw controls in the second half, while Notre Dame took only four.
As they look toward Duke (8-5, 2-2), McMullan said the Irish need to return to the basics of Irish lacrosse.
“I don’t think we’ve been playing our style of lacrosse,” McMullan said. “We have let the other team gain a lead early on, and it’s difficult to play catch-up the entire game. I think we need to go back to controlling the game and playing Notre Dame lacrosse.”
Against Duke, the Irish will be relying on several key players. Freshman attack Cortney Fortunato has been a consistent powerhouse for the Irish, though she scored only two goals in the contest against Virginia. This season, Fortunato has totaled 33 goals, a team high for the Irish. Fortunato and senior midfielr Margaret Smith were both named second-team midseason All-Americans. Smith is fourth in Notre Dame history in draw controls and is on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, given to the nation’s best lacrosse player.
The Irish will also be looking td junior goalkeeper Allie Murray to anchor the Irish defense. Murray had ten saves in the game against Virginia.
Duke enters the contest cominy off a 13-11 loss to Boston College on Saturday.
McMullan said the Irish are mentally prepared to take on Duke tonight.
“Duke is a great team,” McMullan said. “We have spent all week preparing for them. … I think if we stick to the game plan our coaches have set up for us, we should come out on top.”
The Irish are in action Friday at 7 p.m. against Duke at Arlotta Stadium.