Irish best Blue Devils, advance to conference semifinals
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, April 30, 2021
Notre Dame women’s lacrosse is moving on in the ACC Tournament. The fifth-ranked Irish (9-5, 5-5 ACC) defeated seventh-ranked Duke, 17-16, to advance to the semifinals on Thursday afternoon. The Irish will now take on top-seed North Carolina, who is hosting the tournament, on Friday.
The Irish came out firing on all cylinders, scoring five goals from five different players in the first ten minutes of play to take a 5-1 lead. The two sides traded goals over the remainder of the first half. Duke cut the margin to three with just over five minutes left in the half, but goals from senior midfield Andie Aldave and junior midfield Hannah Dorney in the last 2:09 extended the Irish lead to 12-7 at the break.
The Blue Devils (9-7, 5-7 ACC) scored soon after the second half began, but senior attack Maddie Howe responded with her third goal of the contest to restore the five-goal lead with her third goal of the contest. Howe paced the Irish with four goals and an assist in the match.
However, Duke went on a major run, scoring six of the next seven goals to tie the contest at 15 apiece. Notre Dame scored just one goal in a stretch of nearly 20 minutes. Sophomore midfield Kasey Choma scored her team-leading 36th goal of the season to put the Irish back in front, but Duke tied it again less than two minutes later. Choma has been playing her best lacrosse as of late, scoring 14 times over her last three games. With just under three minutes to play, Howe gave the Irish the lead for good with an unassisted goal, besting Duke’s goalie with a bouncing shot.
Irish senior goalie Bridget Deehan preserved the win with an important save on a Duke free-position shot, and the Irish were able to regain possession and run the clock out to preserve the victory. Deehan stopped eight shots in the contest.
The Irish will now need to recover quickly from their hard-fought victory, as they face No. 1 North Carolina Friday at noon. The Irish will also be looking for redemption after North Carolina eked out an 11-10 victory in South Bend earlier this year. The matchup will be televised on ACC Network. Should the Irish advance, they will face the winner of Boston College vs. Syracuse in the conference finals Sunday.