#9/6 Irish Topple #4/3 UNC, 9-7

1 2 total
North Carolina
period 1 3 period 2 4 total 7
Notre Dame
period 1 4 period 2 5 total 9
Game stats North Carolina Notre Dame
Shots 26 28
Saves 11 14
FOULS 14 14

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Senior Samantha Giacolone recorded a season-high 14 saves and classmate Samantha Lynch netted four goals as No. 9/6 Notre Dame earned a 9-7 victory over No. 4/3 North Carolina this afternoon at Arlotta Stadium.

With the win, the Irish improve to 10-1 overall and 3-1 in ACC play. The Tar Heels drop to 9-3 (2-2 ACC).

Notre Dame, which entered the contest with the nation’s stingiest defense at 6.10 goals allowed per game, limited Carolina to their season-low total of seven goals.

Savannah Buchanan also collected three points on two goals and an assist for the Irish in addition to leading the team with five draw controls.

Sophomore Andie Aldave scored a pair of goals and notched four draw controls.

As a team, the Irish doubled the Tar Heels in ground balls, 14-7. Giacolone had a game-high five ground balls.

HOW IT HAPPENED
The defenses and goalies dominated the opening 30 minutes, as the two sides combined for 13 saves and 10 caused turnovers. The Irish scored the opening goal just over two minutes into the game, as Howe finished off the pass from Buchanan.

The Tar Heels leveled the score at 1-1 just two minutes later and then the Irish reclaimed the lead off a goal from Buchanan. Notre Dame then was unable to capitalize on a number of opportunities, while North Carolina capitalized by scoring two goals to take its first lead of the day at 3-2 with eight minutes left in the half.

The Irish offense came to life in the waning minutes of the first half, scoring twice in the last four minutes off scores from Lynch and Aldave to take a 4-3 lead into the halftime break.

After a scoreless opening 13 minutes of the second stanza, the Tar Heels found the back of the net twice to go back on top at 5-4 with 15 minutes left. The Irish fought back, as Lynch leveled the game at 5-5 with her second goal of the day.

The back-and-forth affair continued with UNC regaining a 6-5 lead off a give-and-go play from a free-position shot.

The Irish answered, as Lynch completed her hat trick off a free-position shot to tie the score at 6-6. Just minutes later the Irish found Lynch again in a one-on-one situation, and the senior broke down her defender and scored her fourth goal of the game to give Notre Dame a 7-6 lead with 8:45 left in regulation.

The Tar Heels managed to draw even again off a goal that went in with 6:38 left on the clock before the Irish struck twice within a minute’s time off shots from Buchanan and Aldave to take the largest lead of the game at 9-7 with 4:24 remaining in the second half.

The Irish defense, stingy all day, staved off the Tar Heels down the stretch to hold on for the 9-7 lead.

Christine Halfpenny’s thoughts:
“I’m so grateful to be here leading this first-class group of student-athletes. Today being our Daughters For Dads Game, it’s really special to have this team rally around something that’s so much bigger than lacrosse. I don’t think anyone in our locker room is surprised at what we are doing this year. We’re just focused on ourselves and getting better every day.”

Halfpenny on performance of Giacolone and Lynch:
“They’ve both been on the field since their freshman year against Carolina, including some really close losses. Today, both of them were very accountable in playing their roles and playing with passion. I’m very proud of them, and our entire senior class, for being such leaders on this team.”

Samantha Giacolone’s thoughts:
“It’s an amazing feeling. This team worked so hard all week in practice in preparation for this moment. To come out here, our first home game this year at Arlotta, and get a big win is exciting.”

Samantha Lynch’s thoughts:
“It was a full-team effort today with Sam (Giacolone) and our defense fueling our offense. The energy our sideline brought today was unbelievable and fueled us as well. It’s about all 33 of us playing and supporting each other with high energy at all times.”

NOTABLE NUMBERS

  • That victory is Notre Dame’s second over a top-five ranked opponent this season, with the other coming on March 16 at #5 Virginia.
  • The win was Notre Dame’s first over North Carolina in program history.
  • With four goals against the Tar Heels, Lynch has now scored four or more goals in five games this season.
  • Notre Dame, which entered the contest with the nation’s stingiest defense at 6.10 goals allowed per game, limited Carolina to their season-low total of seven goals.
  • Samantha Giacolone recorded a season-high 14 saves. She now owns a .555 save percentage and nation-leading 6.35 goals-against average.
  • Andie Aldave has recorded 86 draw controls this season. She set the program single-season record with 98 last year as a freshman.

UP NEXT
The Irish will take on their third straight top-five opponent at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 3, as they travel to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, to face No. 1 Boston College. That contest is slated to be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.

–ND–