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Irish fall to No. 7/6 USC, 11-8

Feb. 23, 2018

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By Matt Paras

NOTRE DAME, Indiana – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team (2-2) returned home to face school-rival USC Friday night at Loftus Sports Center. A defensive battle for most of the evening, USC used a 6-0 run to take control of the game en route to the 11-8 win.

How it Happened

USC claimed the first goal of the evening at the 28:23 mark from Izzy McMahon. Both defenses settled in and did not allow a goal over the next six minutes.

The Irish broke through with a free position goal from Savannah Buchanan at the 21:20 mark to tie the game. The Irish would score the next three goals from Maddie Howe, Jessi Masinko and Katherine Enrietto to take a 4-1 lead with 9:40 left in the first half.

USC scored the next two goals before the half and Notre Dame held a 4-3 lead at the break.

The Trojans took the momentum to start the second half, scoring the first four goals to reclaim the lead at 7-4. Kerrigan Miller scored three of the four Trojan goals during the run.

The Irish ended the run and scored two of the next three goals from Nikki Ortega and Enrietto to make it a two-goal game at 8-6 with over 18 minutes left.

The Trojans answered once again with a three-goal spurt over the next nine minutes to take an 11-6 lead and put the game out of reach. Andie Aldave and Ortega scored the final two goals of the game for the Irish.

Coach Halfpenny’s Thoughts

On her assessment of the game:
“I think there were highs and lows in the game that you can look at. Really proud of winning the draw battle against a team that shows a lot of strength in the 3-v-3 game there and had continued success from our freshman Andie Aldave. Coming away with 50% save percentage is huge against a really strong shooting team. Overall, I thought we gave great effort and fought really, really hard from start to finish as a team.”

On whether the short turnaround will help after a loss:
“100 percent. We are going to have a short-term memory on this one and we are thrilled for a game on Sunday. This group is hungry. I can’t even explain how exciting it is to work with a group that has enthusiasm for the game. One of the comments was, ‘this game was a dogfight, this was the biggest dogfight so far this year’. There was an awesome amount of respect but prove-it mentality from both sides. I really felt the ND-USC rivalry and that got our players going, you could feel it. We haven’t built a rivalry with them just yet as this was just the second time we have played but it was really exciting to see. We win hard and lose hard so having less than 48 hours before the next game will be huge for this group.”

Stat Leaders

  • Enrietto tied for the team lead in goals Friday with two. It is her third straight multi-goal game and she has scored in all four games this season.
  • Ortega scored two goals along with Enrietto to tie the team lead. The Centereach, N.Y. Native has scored at least two goals in every game this season and leads the team with 12 goals on the year.
  • Following her record-breaking performance in the win over Stetson, Aldave owned the draw controls once again. She had nine on the night to lead both teams and has 31 through just four games this season.
  • Molly Cobb had her best defensive game of the season for the Irish. She set career-highs in ground balls with four and caused turnovers with three.

Up Next

The Irish will be back in action Sunday afternoon. Notre Dame will take on Elon at 1 pm ET at the Loftus Sports Center. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.


Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse and cross country/track & field programs. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.