Irish drop two straight for first time all season
For the first time all season, the No. 6 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team lost back-to-back contests, dropping their final regular season match to No. 5 Northwestern, 15-11, and losing in the first round of the ACC conference tournament to No. 15 Duke, 14-13.
The match against the Wildcats (11-4, 4-1 Big Ten) honored the team’s seniors, but the Irish were unable to truly celebrate as they couldn’t escape with the win. Notre Dame never led in the entire game, and Northwestern won the majority of draw controls in the game — 18 of 28. Senior Samantha Giacolone was in goal, and had seven saves, while sophomore midfielder Andy Aldave took the draw for the Irish and won six controls, reaching a record 128 draw controls during the regular season. Additionally, junior midfielder Savannah Buchanan and senior attack Samantha Lynch scored three goals apiece for the Irish, and Buchanan and senior defender Hannah Proctor both forced four turnovers.
Northwestern won the first draw, and senior attack Selena Lasota netted the first goal of the game less than 30 seconds after play began. The Irish answered by winning control of the second draw, and Lynch scored an unassisted goal. Northwestern junior middie Lindsey McKone then scored off of a crease roll to put Northwestern ahead 2-1. McKone scored again after receiving a quick assist. Andy Aldave responded by giving Notre Dame a second goal and cutting the margin to one.
Northwestern answered with an unassisted goal by senior attack Claire Quinn and another goal on a free position shot by senior attack Liza Elder to run the score up 2-5 Northwestern. Buchanan pulled a shooting space call off a drive to goal, missed the free position, but drew another foul and ripped her 8-meter shot into the goal. This was followed by a crease roll and goal by Northwestern sophomore middie Lauren Gilbert, and Lasota scored her second goal of the game on an 8-meter shot, giving Northwestern a seventh goal and 7-3 lead.
Buchanan then scored her own second goal of the game unassisted in a drive to goal. Northwestern answered with an unusual goal that was shoveled in by freshman middie Izzy Scane. Buchanan scored her third goal, unassisted, to give herself a hat trick and to make the score 8-5 Northwestern.
Northwestern’s Gilbert drove to goal and scored again, followed by a goal from Irish junior middie Erin McBride, who charged into her 8-meter shot to make the score 9-6 Northwestern heading into halftime.
Northwestern scored four goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half to cement their lead. Lasota drove and scored unassisted to give the team its 10th goal of the game, making the score 6-10 Northwestern. The next draw control was won by Northwestern, and junior defender Kathleen Roe was given a yellow card, forcing Notre Dame to play down a player for the next two minutes.
Northwestern’s Lasota scored off of a shooting space call to run the score up 6-11 Northwestern. Freshman middie Madison Mote on the Irish responded by cutting in front of the crease and scoring off an assist from senior attack Nikki Ortega, who fed to her from behind the goal, giving Notre Dame a seventh goal. Northwestern scored two more goals unassisted, the first by Scane and the second by Lasota, making the score 7-13 Northwestern.
Irish sophomore attack Maddie Howe then drove to goal and netted her 46th goal of the season, unassisted, to narrow the deficit. The crowd celebrated accordingly in the stands by doing pushups. Northwestern’s Gilbert then scored off of an assist by Scane to make the score 8-14 Northwestern.
Aldave then received a yellow card for a cross check after a collision with a Northwestern player, putting the Irish down a player for two minutes. Despite the disadvantage in numbers, Notre Dame’s Lynch scored to close the gap 9-14 Northwestern.
Scane scored off of an 8-meter shot to give Northwestern 15 goals, marking the most goals allowed by the Irish this season. The Irish did not allow this to dishearten them, as they responded quickly with a goal from Aldave on a crease roll. That was Aldave’s 40th goal of the season, making the score 10-15 Northwestern.
Lynch drove to goal with four minutes remaining and scored unassisted to make the score 11-15 Northwestern, her 47th of the season. With two minutes remaining, Aldave pulled a foul, but her 8-meter shot was blocked. Notre Dame pressed Northwestern in the final minutes of the game, forcing a turnover with 30 seconds left, but could not capitalize on it, leaving the final score 11-15 Northwestern.
“Well in terms of how we played, we came out kind of slow, we didn’t necessarily play with ourselves, and something that we talked about a lot was kind of belief in who we are and what we are doing, and we felt that kind of waivered during this game,” Irish senior middie Sydney Flynn said. “So keeping that consistent for a full 60 minutes would really help us going forward. That’s something we’ve done in the past. We’re looking to carry that forward, and that belief and that love we have as a team and carrying that into the tournament. We’re still number three going into the ACC tournament, so we have a ton of faith in what we’re doing and where we’re going.”
Following the conclusion of the regular season, Notre Dame entered the ACC tournament as the third seed, facing off against sixth-seeded Duke University (10-7, 2-5 ACC) on Wednesday in the first round of the postseason conference competition. Despite beating the Blue Devils 15-7 Apr. 14, the Irish were unable to repeat their performance, falling 14-13 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
The contest was close for its entire duration, with neither team taking a lead greater than two goals. Duke scored the first two goals, and three of the first four, with Aldave breaking up the Blue Devil rhythm to make the score 3-1 with 18:29 remaining in the first period.
The teams then went on to exchange man-up goals, with the Irish capitalizing on the advantage first before surrendering a penalty which the Blue Devils swiftly took advantage of, making the score 4-2. Notre Dame and Duke then exchanged unassisted goals, boosting the score to 5-3.
After a fairly even opening 15 minutes, the Irish took the reigns for the next five, scoring three unanswered goals to take their first lead of the day, 6-5. Duke then netted two straight to close out the frame, including a man-up score with one second remaining in the period, to take them into the half with the 7-6 advantage.
To open up the second, Duke scored the first goal to extend their lead to two for the fourth time during the game. Notre Dame then went on to score four of the next five, closing the deficit and recapturing the lead, 10-9. But Duke answered by scoring three straight and five of the next seven, taking a two-goal lead 14-12 with just 4 minutes remaining in the game. Notre Dame closed the gap to one off of an unassisted goal by Howe with 3:37 remaining in the game, but it wasn’t enough, and the Irish lost the matchup 14-13.
With the loss, Notre Dame was eliminated from the ACC postseason tournament. They will now turn their attention to the NCAA tournament, which will open May 10.