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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Notre Dame welcomes Louisville for first home ACC matchup

| Friday, March 3, 2017

Fresh off a road win over No. 10 Duke, No. 8 Notre Dame welcomes No. 20 Louisville this weekend in its first conference game at home.

The Cardinals (6-1, 0-0 ACC) are no pushover, however, as they have won three straight, including the program’s 100th victory in a 13-9 win on Feb. 25 over Brown, the nation’s top-ranked defensive team.

The Irish (6-1, 1-0) played Louisville twice last year, dropping the first game 10-9 on the road in double overtime before avenging the loss with a 12-10 victory in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. This year, the Irish look to continue their current six-game win streak in their ACC home opener.

Saturday’s game marks Notre Dame’s first in Arlotta Stadium this season. The Irish have found playing in Arlotta to be a strong suit in recent history, as they went 8-2 at home last year with four of those wins coming in its outdoor venue. So far this season, all of Notre Dame’s home games have been played indoors at Loftus Sports Center.

The Irish boast the fifth-ranked scoring offense in the country coming into the matchup, thanks in large part to a balanced offense, led by senior attack and captain Cortney Fortunato’s consistent high level of play. Fortunato leads the team with 27 goals in seven games. Fortunato set a career-high in points on Feb. 11 in a 24-9 win over Detroit, as she scored six of Notre Dame’s goals and accounted for ten of her team’s points in the victory.

Fortunato has only failed to score in one game this season — Notre Dame’s 12-11, come-from-behind win over the Blue Devils (4-1, 0-1). However, the rest of the offense stepped up, as five different Notre Dame players accounted for all of the team’s scores. Sophomore midfielder Samantha Lynch and junior midfielder Molly Cobb led the way for the Irish, as they picked up four goals apiece against the Blue Devils.

Notre Dame’s win over Duke is evidence of the squad’s depth: Lynch, who is in the midst of a breakout campaign during her first season as a starter, is second on the team to Fortunato with 21 goals. Five other players on the Irish roster have double-digit point totals on the year.

Another strong suit for the Irish so far this season has been their second-half performances. Notre Dame has been dominant coming out of the break: Through seven games, the Irish have outscored their opponents 60-22 in the second half, while also winning more draws and forcing more turnovers.

The Irish will take on the Cardinals on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium. First draw is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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