ND Women’s Lacrosse
Irish lose by one to No. 1 ranked UNC
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, April 14, 2021
The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team suffered a narrow loss to the UNC Tar Heels on Saturday. The No. 4 Irish (6-3, 3-3 ACC) hosted the No. 1 ranked team in the country, the unbeaten Tar Heels (12-0, 6-0 ACC) at Arlotta Stadium in what would produce a thrilling matchup in the elements. As the rain poured down the Irish would push the Tar Heels to their limit as they gave up an 11-10 loss in a nailbiter.
The Tar Heels jumped out to an early 5-1 lead throughout the first 12 minutes of the game but the Irish would rally back with a 6-1 run to carry a 7-6 lead into the locker room at the half. Irish senior goaltender Bridget Deehan matched her career-high with 14 saves, eleven coming in the first half. Senior attack Maddie Howe was the steam for the Irish offense, recording a hat trick on six shots and adding a pair of ground balls and draw controls to her stat line. Sophomore attack Jackie Wolak also added a pair of goals on her six shots, but she did cough up three turnovers. Deehan also added five ground balls to keep the Irish in it throughout.
While Deehan served well as an anchor — even being named IWLCA’s National Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season for her outstanding efforts — the Irish defense had their work cut out for them all day with the Tar Heel offense. Graduate student Kelly Donnelly forced a game-high of three turnovers and won a pair of ground balls.
The Tar Heels would come out of the break re-energized, and once again jumped out to an early lead. UNC senior attacker Jamie Ortega, who always poses a threat to a defense ranking sixth in the nation in points per game and second in total points, scored two quick goals to open the second half but Maddie Howe was able to respond with a pair of her own two goals. But with the score knotted at 9-9 with 14:10 remaining in the game, Ortega was not finished and would sneak two more balls past Deehan despite Notre Dame’s best effort to keep their head above water. Irish Junior midfield Madison Mote was able to find an equalizer off of a free position shot to tie the game 10-10 with 8:33 to play, but their efforts were not enough as the Tar Heels were awarded their own free position shot just over a minute later and Ortega would net what would be the game-winning goal.
The Irish are not done with top-ranked competition yet, though, as they will head to Chestnut Hill this week for a pair of matchups at No. 5 ranked Boston College. The Irish will face off in their first game against the Eagles on Thursday at 5 p.m., and the game will be broadcast via ACC Network. They will meet again on Saturday at 11 a.m., and the second game can be streamed on the ACC Network Extra.