March 30, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team (6-5, 2-3) got back to work this week as another top-10 challenge awaits. The Irish head down to Chapel Hill to face the fifth-ranked Tar Heels (7-3, 2-1) Saturday at Kenan Stadium. Opening draw is set for 12 pm ET and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first time since March of 2016 that the Irish have faced three-straight top-10 opponents. Back in 2016, the Irish defeated No. 7 Princeton and No. 9 Virginia before falling to No. 5 Syracuse.
Last time out, the Irish got off to a fast start against No. 7/9 Syracuse. The Irish owned the draw, holding an 8-1 advantage in the first half which led to a 6-2 Irish lead at halftime.
In the second half, Syracuse began to come back and tied the game at nine with four minutes remaining. The Irish regained the lead on the ensuing possession following the goal from Molly Cobb. The Orange responded and tied the game again just 30 seconds after Cobb’s goal. The game would go into overtime as the Irish did not score on the final possession of regulation.
Syracuse won the opening draw in overtime but the Irish defense made a huge stop. They forced Syracuse’s shot to go wide and gained possession after a race to the end line. After the clear, Savannah Buchanan found Andie Aldave inside the eight-meter and she fired home the game-winning goal to give the Irish an 11-10 upset win.
Buchanan and Aldave had strong games in last Saturday’s win. Buchanan led the team in points with two goals and three assists. She also scooped up two ground balls, caused two turnovers and had a season-high seven draw controls. Aldave scored twice on the afternoon, won five draw controls and tallied two ground balls.
Buchanan was tabbed an honorable mention All-American by Inside Lacrosse on Thursday when they released their mid-season awards. The Baltimore, Md. native leads the Irish in assists (14), second in points (29), draw controls (37), ground balls (23) and caused turnovers (13). She is also third on the team in goals with 15.
The Irish defense held the Orange to only 10 goals on the afternoon, their lowest total in a game this season since an 18-11 loss to Maryland. Samantha Giacolone had eight saves and limited the Orange to two first half goals. Kathleen Roe tied a career high with three caused turnovers, recorded two ground balls and right after causing a turnover in the second half. Roe was named ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Week following her performance against the Orange.
Scouting the Tar Heels
North Carolina heads into Saturday’s matchup 7-3 on the season and 2-1 in conference play. The Tar Heels defeated No. 17 Virginia Tech 13-12 on Wednesday following Olivia Ferruci’s late goal to break the 12-12 tie. The Tar Heels have won four of their last five games with the lone loss coming on the road against No. 2 Boston College.
North Carolina owns a 7-0 all-time record against the Irish and are 3-0 in Chapel Hill. The last time the two teams squared off, No. 2 North Carolina defeated the Irish 16-9 at Arlotta Stadium. The Irish only trailed by three at halftime but the Tar Heels pulled away in the second half.
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.