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Women’s lacrosse dominates in season opener against Marquette

| Monday, February 10, 2020

The seventh ranked Irish women’s lacrosse squad began their season in resounding fashion, defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles by a score of 18-3 on Sunday afternoon in the Loftus Sports Center.

Hannah Huelskamp | The Observer
Irish junior midfielder Diana Kelly calls for a pass during Notre Dame’s 18-3 win over Marquette on Sunday at Loftus Sports Center.

Eight different players contributed goals for the Irish in the lopsided victory, but they were led by their newer members. Freshman attacker Madison Ahern got the Irish on the board on five separate occasions with three goals and two assists. Junior attacker Maddie Howe added four goals to her name, the first of which was good for her 100th career goal, while graduate student attacker Samantha Lynch matched Ahern’s three goals. Other multi-goal scorers for the Irish included freshman midfielder Kasey Choma with two goals, senior attacker Jessi Masinko and senior Savannah Buchanan with two goals and one assist a piece. The other goals came from senior midfielder Erin McBride and freshman attacker Jackie Wolak, who both also notched an assist.

The goal-keeping for the Irish was stellar as well with junior goalie Bridget Deehan recording eight saves on the day out of a total of 17 shots. Senior goalie Grace Steffens relieved Deehan for the final six minutes of the game and played stellar as well.

The Irish also won crucial categories such as the turnover battle and draw control. The Irish forced 17 turnovers in the game while only giving up 10. Off the many draws in the high-scoring game, Buchanan secured four and junior midfielder Andie Aldave controlled three.

The Irish secured the resounding victory in no small thanks to their early scoring, netting the first seven goals of the game in the opening 16:44 of play. In fact, the Irish took the lead just 37 seconds into the game off of a goal from Lynch.

Just under four minutes after Lynch’s goal, the Irish were able to double their lead off of a free position attempt from Howe following a Golden Eagles’ foul. The Irish converted four of their 10 free position attempts on the day. 

The young talents of Ahern and Choma stood out early as well. Ahern scored her first collegiate goal in the first half and assisted Choma in getting her first collegiate goal just moments later. Choma is considered to be the top midfielder recruit of the 2019 class and Ahern the top incoming attacker recruit by Inside Lacrosse.

Although the Golden Eagles were finally able to get on the board with 12:13 to go in the first half, the Irish continued to dominate play and took an 11-2 lead into the half. 

It was clear from the start that the Irish were the more experienced team. Marquette has just four seniors on their team compared to 12 freshmen and 10 sophomores.

With the win, Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny improved her head coaching record at Notre Dame to 96-57 through her nine years at the helm of the team.

Although Sunday’s game was a solid win for the Irish, the schedule will only get tougher from this point on. The Irish travel to No. 3 ranked Northwestern on Friday night. The Irish lost two close games to the Wildcats last year, including in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats also advanced to the Final Four last year but were ultimately defeated by the lacrosse powerhouse in the University of Maryland, the Terps come into this season ranked second overall.

Besides the Northwestern game this week, the Irish will face stiff competition in ACC play against No. 1 North Carolina, No. 4 Syracuse, No. 5 Boston College and No. 9 Virginia. The Irish will take on the Wildcats in Evanston, Illinois at Ryan Fieldhouse on Valentines Day at 7 p.m. 

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