ND Women’s Lacrosse
Irish look to continue hot stretch on the road against Wildcats
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, April 6, 2018
No. 20 Notre Dame will have a chance to guarantee itself at least a .500 regular-season record for the 13th consecutive season when the Irish travel to No. 9 Northwestern on Sunday.
After a difficult start to the season, the Irish (7-6, 2-4 ACC) are riding an impressive three-game stretch that saw them upset No. 18 Syracuse in overtime before a tight 13-12 defeat to No. 5 North Carolina, in which the Irish led 6-2 at halftime, followed by a comfortable 14-8 victory over Michigan. Those results have been enough for the Irish to re-enter the polls at No. 20. The run has been due to significant work from the Irish freshmen. Midfielder Andie Aldave scored perhaps the most important goal of the Irish season thus far, the overtime game-winner against the Orange (8-5, 0-3 ACC), before adding a goal, two assists and eight draw controls against the Tar Heels (8-3, 3-1 ACC) and a hat-trick — as well as two caused turnovers on the defensive end and two ground-ball pickups — against the Wolverines (5-8, 1-2 Big Ten). Fellow freshman midfielder Maddie Howe also had a big game against Michigan, as she scored three goals while also tallying three assists.
The Irish will now face another tough opponent in the Wildcats (9-3, 2-0 Big Ten), one of the most in-form teams in the nation. If the Wildcats defeat Ohio State on Friday, they will enter the matchup on a five-game winning streak, with the last three of those previous four victories coming over the Orange, Johns Hopkins and No. 11 Penn. That run has coincided with the strong performances of Wildcats senior attack Shelby Fredericks, as she has rounded into full health after missing time to start the season. Fredericks has been instrumental in winning possessions for the Wildcats offense, having controlled 65 draws in just 8 games this season while also chipping in offensively with five goals and a team-leading 16 assists. Aldave’s ability to win the draw against her more experienced counterpart could prove to be one of the most important battles of the game.
The Wildcats have been one of the top defensive teams in the nation this season, allowing just 9.25 goals per game, which ranks 12th nationally. Redshirt-freshman goalie Julie Krupnick, who has 95 saves on the season, has been a major part of that effort, but senior defender Lindsay Darrell has played a significant role, too, with 20 caused turnovers.
Offensively, the Wildcats are led by junior attack Selena Lasota. Lasota has scored 30 goals this season and added seven assists while picking up 19 ground balls.
Notre Dame’s recent record against Northwestern has not looked good, with the Irish going just 1-4 in their last five games against the Wildcats — the lone win coming in the 2016 NCAA tournament. Last year, the Irish opened their season with a tight 14-13 defeat to Northwestern at Loftus Sports Center.
The Irish will hope to continue their recent strong run and end Northwestern’s with a win at Martin Stadium in Evanston, Illinois, on Sunday. Opening draw is scheduled for 1 p.m.