ND Women’s Lacrosse
Dominating win marks Notre Dame’s first ranked victory
Olivia Schatz | Monday, March 6, 2023
The No. 13 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team had a dominating win against No. 11 Duke on Saturday. Despite the Irish having the weapons in their roster — and a winning streak — they have not had the best luck against ranked opponents in the past. In the 2021-2022 season, the Irish got into a habit of losing to ranked opponents by one or two points.
This season, however, Notre Dame was looking for a change. While the Irish lost to their first ranked opponent in No. 3 Northwestern, they did not let this opportunity pass them.
The Irish opened up the game by scoring the first three goals in the match. Junior midfielder Mary Kelly Doherty scored the first on the night, assisted by senior attack Jackie Wolak. Wolak scored one herself only 30 seconds later. Again, less than a minute later, senior attack Madison Ahern found the back of the net to lead the Irish 3-0.
Duke did not let them pull too far ahead and would go on to score three straight goals themselves to tie the game. In the final two minutes of the first quarter, Doherty scored again to give the Irish a slight advantage leading into the second.
The second quarter went back and forth between the teams, but the Irish were able to keep their lead. Ahern was the first to score this time, now off of a free possession. Duke scored before Wolak was able to find the back of the net to keep their lead. However, a penalty allowed Duke to score once more in the half, tightening the Irish lead to only one.
It was the second half where Notre Dame flourished. With two free position shots off the bat from Wolak and Ahern, the Irish were able to extend their lead to 8-5. Wolak and Ahern would score again to spread their lead even wider before senior midfielder Kasey Choma found the back of the net after a rebound. While Duke was able to score once in the quarter, the Irish were quickly pulling away, 11-6.
The final quarter saw significantly less scoring. Ahern opened up with a goal in the first five minutes of play. There would not be another score change until the final three minutes of play, when Ahern scored off a free penalty shot. Choma then finished the game with one final goal with 1:17 left, sealing Notre Dame’s 14-6 victory.
Ahern and Wolak tied their career highs with six and four goals, respectively. The Irish outperformed the Blue Devils in almost every category. On the offensive side, Notre Dame outshot Duke 28-19. On the defensive end, the Irish had 12 caused turnovers and 13 ground ball recoveries to Duke’s 10 and six.
While the Irish were already considered a threat this season, this will surely boost their resume, especially as Notre Dame now will go off to face No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday. While Notre Dame played Duke in a neutral field, it was still in Duke territory, giving the Irish much-needed experience on the road. Notre Dame will face Syracuse on the road and will need to present another dominating performance if they hope to come out on top. The ACC presents the toughest schedule in the country, and a win against a ranked opponent will always help in their mission to be crowned ACC champions.
The Irish are back in action Saturday against Syracuse. The game will start at noon EST.