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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Irish beat Cavaliers, set for matchup with Orange

| Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The No. 4 Irish extended their winning streak to four games as they defeated conference foe Virginia, 16-4, on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.

The top scorers led the charge for Notre Dame (9-1, 3-1 ACC) on Saturday as junior attacker Cortney Fortunato and senior attacker Rachel Sexton scored four goals apiece en route to the home team’s streak-extending win. Six other players also scored for the Irish during the win.

Notre Dame’s offense has continued to thrive in recent weeks, showing no signs of slowing down and averaging 19 goals in their last four victories. The team’s prolific offensive attack is also a varied one — the Irish have seven different players in double digits for goals so far this season. Fortunato and Sexton have proven particularly effective, leading the team with 35 and 29 goals scored, respectively.

The Irish possession game continued to shine as well. The home team spent a great deal of time in the offensive zone as it was the team’s second game this season in which it forced more than twenty turnovers (the first came against another conference foe in Virginia Tech on March 8).

This disparity in turnovers — Virginia committed 29 to Notre Dame’s 21 — led to an even larger gap in shots attempted. Notre Dame directed 43 shots toward the Cavalier net, including seven free-position shots, while Virginia attempted only twelve on the afternoon. The Irish were also disciplined both on and off the ball, surrendering no free-position shots and holding advantages in both draw controls and ground balls recovered.

Notre Dame has rebounded from its double-overtime loss against Louisville on March 5. Since that game, the Irish have won four games in a row, each by a margin of at least four goals and one (against Liberty) by a whopping 23 points.

The Irish offensive front will match up against a Syracuse defensive corps that has surrendered double digit goals only four times in ten games this season and comes into the weekend with an 8.88 overall average for team goals against.

A win on Saturday would be Notre Dame’s fourth conference victory of the season. Currently placed third in the conference and trailing only Duke and North Carolina (both of whom are undefeated in conference play, though they have played only two and one conference games, respectively), the Irish will look to establish themselves firmly in the top half of the ACC with a win. Perhaps more importantly, though, they will seek to keep pace with fourth-place Louisville, who handed the Irish their only loss of the season earlier this month.

Syracuse, on the other hand, would fall to 1-2 in conference with a loss on Saturday, tying them with Boston College and placing them just ahead of Virginia and Virginia Tech (both of whom are winless in conference play).

The Irish host Syracuse on Saturday at noon at Arlotta Stadium.

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