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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Notre Dame women’s lax bounces back from loss to No. 1 BC with another top-25 victory

| Tuesday, April 9, 2019

In yet another tight battle, the No. 4 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team beat out No. 21 Virginia Tech. After a loss to No. 1 Boston College on Wednesday, the Irish (11-2, 4-2 ACC) topped the Hokies (8-7, 1-4) at Arlotta Stadium on Sunday by a score of 15-13.

This secured the third top-25 victory this season for the Irish, along with wins over the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Virginia Cavaliers. The Irish have not lost at home in 2019, winning all six games.

Anna Mason | The Observer

Irish junior attackman Jessi Masinko tries to get past her defender in a matchup against Louisville on March 2 in which Notre Dame cruised to a 16-4 victory.

The win for the ladies came down to their first half performance. With five goals in the first 10 minutes, the Irish put the Hokies in a hole they were never able to emerge from. A run at the end of the half brought Virginia Tech to within three, but the Irish maintained a 9-5 lead going in to the halftime break.

Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny was very pleased with her squad jumping out to an early lead and never looking back. “I’m really proud of the way we started today,” said Halfpenny.

“I thought we did an incredible job of coming out fast, playing hard and protecting our home field. Credit to Virginia Tech for playing hard and making it interesting at the end. For our group, I’m happy to see us handle some adversity towards the end of the game and earn our fourth ACC win. Experiences like that against this level of competition, especially at this time of year, will only make us stronger and better moving forward.”

In the second period, after trading blows to start, the Irish tore the Hokies apart in a six-minute stretch, scoring five goals and catapulting themselves to a 15-7 lead. This proved to be insurmountable for the opponent, who’s comeback efforts were unsuccessful.

Individually, the Irish had several standout performers who have played well all season. With four goals and three assists in the contest, sophomore attackman Maddie Howe showed no signs of stopping. Howe has now recorded at least five points in five games this season, and has notched a hat trick in eight games.

Howe commented on the Irish’s strong offensive effort, noting, “Our success on offense all comes down to team movement. When we get the ball really moving, we work together really well as a team and get the ball where it needs to be. Offensively, we worked as a cohesive unit today to get the ball into the back of the net.”

In addition to Howe’s efforts, sophomore midfielder Andie Aldave continued doing what she does best: winning the draw. Aldave notched 12 draw controls to break her own single-season Irish record and became the first player in program history to record 100+ draw controls in one season. Aldave currently stands at 200 draw controls in her career, which ranks second in Irish history behind Barbara Sullivan (269). The sophomore was also able to contribute two goals during the contest.

After the game, Aldave detailed that her success on draw controls should be credited to Notre Dame’s work as a team.

“For me, getting over 100 draw controls this season is really a testament on how hard we work on the draw as a team, on-and-off the field. As a group, we constantly challenge each other everyday in practice to be better on the draw and that’s one of the biggest reasons for our high draw-control percentage as a team,” Aldave said.

Freshman midfielder Madison Mote also stepped up with three goals and an assist of her own. Senior attackman Nikki Ortega scored and assisted twice. In the goal, senior Samantha Giacolone was crucial once again, making key stops to prevent further bleeding at the end. She ended the game with 12 saves and was helped by her defense, who forced several turnovers throughout. The victory was Giacolone’s 11th while in goal this season for Notre Dame.

Defensively, the Irish caused nine Virginia Tech turnovers with junior defender Kathleen Roe and sophomore midfielder Diana Kelly causing a pair each.

Notre Dame also earned a 17-10 edge in ground balls and an 18-12 advantage in draw controls.

Notre Dame will face a struggling Butler team that has only three wins on the season on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Arlotta Stadium.

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