April 15, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Indiana - The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team (8-7, 3-4 ACC) started the final stretch of the regular season on a high note when they took on No. 19/18 Duke (7-7, 2-4 ACC) Sunday afternoon. Both teams had their share of runs in the game and it was deadlocked at 9-9 heading into the final minutes. Savannah Buchanan capitalized on a loose ball and fired home the game-winning goal with under a minute left to give the Irish a 10-9 win.
Coach Halfpenny's Thoughts
Overall thoughts from the game:
"Our team has shown a great amount of resilience as we continue to grow and continue find experience. Today I was really proud of them to stay with it, they had great resolve from start to finish. They stayed together, which was a key to our game. Savannah's goal was a snapshot of us staying together. Maddie Howe drew the shooting space and Savannah took advantage of a second-chance opportunity on a loose ball."
On the production this season from the freshmen:
"We have had a great mix from the freshmen to the sophomores to the juniors and the seniors. We are finding our way which is super exciting. We are gaining a ton of experience and are starting to show it now. Savannah and Andie coming away with nine draws against one of the top draw specialist in the country was huge today. It really fuels us and it will fuel us going forward."
On another strong defensive first half:
"Our defense fuels our offense and when you come up against an opponent that has a great ability on the draw, we were aware they might get first dibs. We were very comfortable and confident in our defensive personnel and defensive strategy. Knowing that we were going to make stops is huge. It fuels our offense and gets them excited. I was really impressed with the communication that happened when we pushed up into the offensive end. It is something we have relied on this year and it was great today."
How It Happened
Notre Dame took control of the game during the first half of play with stingy defense that opened up some opportunities on the other end for the offense.
Olivia Jenner scored the first goal of the game for the Blue Devils at the 25:50 mark but they did not hold the lead for long. On the ensuing possession, Savannah Buchanan answered for the Irish to tie the game at 1-1 with 24:43 left in the first half.
Both defenses settled in following the Buchanan goal but the Irish broke through on the free position goal from Andie Aldave. Aldave gave the Irish a 2-1 lead at the 15:37 mark following a nine-minute stretch where neither team scored.
Exactly two minutes later, it was the team's leading goal scorer, Maddie Howe, who put the Irish up by two. Howe tallied another goal at the 11:54 mark to increase their lead.
Jessi Masinko was next for the Irish to score, as she capitalized on a free position attempt and gave the Irish a 5-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining. In the final minute of the half, Nikki Ortega found a streaking Molly Cobb and Cobb put it in the back of the cage to give the Irish a 6-1 halftime lead.
The Notre Dame defense was stout in the first half, limiting Duke to just one goal. It was the third time in the last five games the Irish have held an opponent to two goals or less in the first half. Samantha Giacolone had a stellar first half in the cage, stopping six of the seven shots she faced.
The strong defense carried over to the second half as neither team scored in the first nine minutes of play. Duke broke through as Jenner tallied her second goal of the game and the Blue Devils started a run of their own. Duke scored five of the next six goals to tie the game up at 7-7 with 10:27 remaining in regulation.
As they have done for much of the season, the Irish stayed composed and answered right back. Masinko tallied her second of the afternoon with 8:16 remaining to regain the lead. Howe was next less than a minute later with her fourth of the game and the Irish were up 9-7 with seven minutes left.
After a scoreless stretch, Duke responded quickly with two goals in 36 seconds to tie the game back up with three minutes left. The Blue Devils won the ensuing draw control but the Irish defense came up big once again. They forced a high shot from Charlotte North and beat the Blue Devils to the end line to regain possession.
After a Notre Dame timeout, Maddie Howe made a run to the cage and drew a shooting space foul. On the free position attempt, the ball was knocked loose from Howe's stick but Buchanan was there to scoop it up and score her second of the game.
Duke won the final draw of the game but its last-second shot was deflected by Giacolone and then hit the pipe for the Irish to come away with the 10-9 win.
- Maddie Howe tied a career high with four goals against Duke. It was the fifth time this season she has scored four goals in a game.
- Samantha Giacolone made eight saves on 14 shots for a .571 save percentage. It was her ninth game this season with a save percentage at .500 percent or higher.
- With the win, Giacolone passes Jen White and now sits third all-time in school history with 32 career wins.
- Andie Aldave had a game-high five draw controls. She had one more than Olivia Jenner, who came into the game leading the nation in draw controls (115).
- Makenna Pearsall scooped up a career-high four ground balls.
- Savannah Buchanan scored twice on the afternoon for her seventh multi-goal game of the season. She also won four draws and scooped up two ground balls.
- The Irish held Duke scoreless for 33:24 between the first and second half. It was their fifth game this season that they have held an opponent scoreless for 20 minutes or longer and they are 4-1 in those games.
Notre Dame added a mid-week game this week and will hit the road to take on Albany. The Irish and Great Danes will face off Wednesday afternoon at 1 pm.