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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Irish drop three straight over spring break, hope for rebound against Orange

| Thursday, March 22, 2018

Showing flashes of success but struggling to stay on top for a complete game, Notre Dame experienced a tough spring break period, dropping each of its three games and falling to 5-5.

On March 11, the Irish (5-5, 1-3 ACC) traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia, to take on No. 16 Virginia Tech, who had already earned two ranked victories this season over Duke and Denver after an 0-2 start. The Irish had a perfect 8-0 series record against Virginia Tech (8-3, 2-0 ACC) — which was hoping to earn its second conference victory of the season to match a program-high in the ACC — going into the meeting, yet the Hokies came out well on top.

The Irish were held without a goal for more than 25 minutes, falling behind 5-0, and scored only once in the opening 45 minutes. Although a run of four goals brought the score to 8-5 with just over nine minutes left, the Irish couldn’t overcome the large deficit and lost the game 9-6. Freshman midfielder Andie Aldave, whose strong start to her Notre Dame career has been a regular highlight for the Irish this year, led the Irish in scoring with three goals and draw controls with four. The Irish won the draw 10-7, but the team’s 20 turnovers compared to Virginia Tech’s 13 proved to be costly, as did Notre Dame’s 2-for-9 performance on free-position shots.

Chris Collins | The Observer

Irish freshman midfielder Maddie Howe carries the ball up the field during Notre Dame’s 15-10 win over Marquette on Feb. 24 at Arlotta Stadium.

Hoping to bounce back at High Point, the Irish got off to a better start, but this time they struggled in the second half, as a 6-0 run led to a 13-7 defeat. Irish freshman midfielder Maddie Howe scored three goals in the first 25 minutes, as the Irish held a 5-4 lead with just a minute remaining before halftime. However, a goal from Panthers sophomore midfielder Ashley Britton tied the score. Although Notre Dame took one more lead, the Panthers (5-2, 0-0 Big South) pulled away midway through the half to record their third consecutive victory, with Howe’s fourth goal of the game being too little, too late. Senior midfielder Erica Perrotta was the star of the game for the Panthers, recording three goals, three ground balls, two draw controls and four caused turnovers. For the Irish, the free position again approved to be a problem, as the team went 1-for-7, while a combination of a 20-to-13 turnover disadvantage and six fewer draw controls meant the Irish took 18 fewer shots than their opponent.

Returning home to Arlotta Stadium and hoping to preserve their winning record, the Irish played the nation’s 12th-ranked offense in No. 10 Virginia. Although Notre Dame took a 3-1 lead, the team fell victim to a 9-1 run that left them trailing 10-4 late in the first half. Despite working the deficit back to just 12-9 with 20 minutes remaining, the Cavaliers (6-2, 2-1 ACC) took over again with five more unanswered goals before sophomore midfielder Savannah Buchanan’s consolation goal brought the game to its final score of 17-10. The Irish were again drastically outshot, 42 to 25, after losing the battle of the draw 18-11. Howe scored four more goals to bring her season total to 21, while Buchanan scored three and added an assist, three ground balls and four draw controls.

The Irish will now attempt to prevent their three-game losing skid from extending against two top-10 opponents. On Saturday, the Irish will host No. 9 Syracuse, which — despite its pedigree as one of the nation’s top programs — is without a win in ACC play, having lost to Virginia in its only conference game so far. The Orange (6-2, 0-1 ACC) have been a dominant offensive team this year and rank second in the nation in scoring offense, scoring 14 or more in all but one game this season. Then, Notre Dame will play No. 5 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on March 31.

Opening draw between the Irish and Orange is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.

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