ND Women’s Lacrosse
ND dominant on both ends in regular season, come up short in tournament
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, May 17, 2019
The 2019 season was one of the most successful seasons for the team in recent history.
The squad earned a 14-5 record — going 5-2 in the ACC — made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament and was ranked as high as No. 4 in the country.
The Irish’s success rested on the their staunch defense. The squad had the fifth-best scoring defense in the nation, giving up 153 goals on the year — only 8.05 per game. This success was due in large part to senior goalie Samantha Giacolone. The two-time First Team All-ACC selection sported a .498 save percentage, good for eighth-best in the nation. The defense, which ranked 12th in the country with 11.26 caused turnovers per game, was led by senior defender Hannah Proctor, who also earned First Team All-ACC honors this season.
The staunch defense for the Irish was balanced with a high powered offense, which outpaced the squad’s opponents, outscoring them 285 to 153 on the season. The offense was lead by sophomore attacker Maddie Howe, senior attacker Samantha Lynch and sophomore midfielder Andie Aldave, who lead the team in scoring with 59, 53 and 47 goals, respectively. Both Howe and Aldave additionally earned First Team All-ACC honors for the Irish.
The team opened the season with a hot start, winning 9 of their first 10 games, with their only loss coming by one goal to ACC foe Syracuse. Memorable wins include a 27-0 victory over Kent State, big wins over Vanderbilt and Ohio State and a nail-biter victory over No. 5 Virginia in Charlottesville. The squad, which started the season off unranked, climbed the polls as the team continued winning by convincing fashion.
The team continued to have success, but dropped more games as the year progressed and the competition got tougher while running the gauntlet of ACC play. All but two of the eight ACC teams ended the year ranked in the top 20 in the final poll of the year. Notre Dame posted a 5-2 record in ACC play, which put the team in a three-way tie for second place with North Carolina and Syracuse.
Notre Dame had an early exit from the ACC Tournament, losing to Duke in the quarterfinals by a single goal. The team had defeated Duke 15-7 two games earlier during regular season play.
Despite the difficult ACC Tournament, the team still qualified for the NCAA Tournament due to its strong year. Notre Dame was placed in the Midwest bracket and played in Evanston, Illinois, at regional host Northwestern University. Notre Dame defeated Stanford in the opening round of the tournament, before dropping in the second round to the Wildcats. It was the second loss for the Irish on the year to Northwestern, which was the only team to beat Notre Dame at home — whether it be at Loftus Sports Center or Arlotta Stadium — this season.
While the squad struggled in postseason play, this season was one of the most successful for the women’s lacrosse team in recent memory. Part of this success is due to the seniors on the squad — Giacolone, Proctor, Lynch, attacker Nikki Ortega, midfielder Makenna Pearsall, midfielder Jenn Casadonte and midfielder Sydney Flynn — due to both their role on the field and creating team culture.