Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Observer

Irish postseason hopes in jeopardy after dropping match to Albany 10-7

Notre Dame’s chances of an NCAA tournament appearance took a major hit Wednesday, as the Irish fell to an in-form Albany team.

The Great Danes (7-7, 5-0 America East) had won each of their previous six games entering the encounter and completed a miraculous turnaround from an 0-7 start to .500 with the victory, which drops the Irish (8-8, 3-4 ACC) back down to a .500 record of their own. The defeat is the fifth-consecutive road defeat for the Irish, stretching back to a 9-6 loss at Virginia Tech on March 11th.

Irish freshman midfielder Andie Aldave cradles the ball against Marquette during Notre Dame's 15-10 win on Feb. 28
Irish freshman midfielder Andie Aldave cradles the ball against Marquette during Notre Dame's 15-10 win on Feb. 28. Aldave recently clinched the program record for draws in a season at 89.

The game started on a positive note for the Irish as freshman midfielder Andie Aldave controlled the opening draw to tie the program record for draw controls in a season. However, Albany opened the scoring in the first five minutes of play, but the Irish soon held a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from freshman midfielder Maddie Howe and senior attack Abi Cullinan, with Aldave picking up the draw control after Howe’s goal to take the draw control record for herself. Although the Great Danes equalized, senior midfielder Molly Cobb gave the Irish another lead just over halfway through the first period.

However, the Great Danes controlled the remainder of the first half. A 4-0 run, started and finished by junior midfielder Kaylee Rickert gave the Great Danes a 6-3 lead at halftime, as Albany held Notre Dame without a score for the final 14 minutes of the period.

Aldave scored from the free position early in the second half to give the Irish some hope and added her second goal of the game after Albany responded, but the Irish could never get within one goal, despite two free position attempts, one of which struck the post, with the score at 6-4 and a further attempt saved with the score at 7-5.

With just over five minutes left, freshman midfielder Kathryn Sancilio made the score 10-6 to seemingly put the Irish out of reach and although sophomore midfielder Savannah Buchanan quickly got one goal back, the Irish could not find another as the game ended 10-7.

Aldave ended the game with five draw controls to bring her total for the season to 89, as well as her two goals. Howe had a goal and an assist to move to 48 points for the season, but turned the ball over five times. The Irish struggled to deal with Rickert, who ended the game with four goals, an assist, four ground balls and a caused turnover.

The Irish will host San Diego State for Senior Day this Sunday. If Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny is to continue her perfect record of six-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, a loss to the Aztecs (9-7, 1-1 MPSF) would all but preclude the Irish from earning an at-large bid.

Opening draw at Arlotta Stadium between the Irish and the Aztecs is at 1 p.m. Sunday.