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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Women’s lacrosse looks for road win against No. 9 Duke

After last weekend’s pair of victories, one at home over Liberty, and the other on the road against No. 19 Louisville, the fifth-ranked Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team (4-2, 1-2 ACC) will travel to Durham, North Carolina, to take on ninth-ranked Duke (6-3, 2-3 ACC) on Sunday. 

The Blue Devils have faced a plethora of top teams already this season, most recently splitting a pair of games with then-No. 9 Virginia. They feature a balanced scoring attack, with seven players having scored 10 or more goals so far this season. They are led by Katie Cronin and Gabby Rosenzweig, who have collected 27 and 31 points, respectively. 

In the Irish’s only competition against a top-10 opponent so far, they dropped a pair of games against No. 2 Syracuse. However, the ACC is filled with top teams; and including Notre Dame, six of the top ten teams in the IWLCA coaches poll are from the ACC. The Irish’s next five games, including the matchup against Duke, will all come against teams inside the top ten. This weekend’s matchup is a critical opportunity to pick up a win before the schedule gets even tougher. 

A key factor in this game will likely be turnovers. Duke turns the ball over at the highest rate in the conference, and Notre Dame causes the second-most turnovers, behind Duke. The Blue Devils also lead the conference by a substantial margin with 151 draw controls per game. 

Notre Dame will look for continued production from graduate student attacker Samantha Lynch, among others. Lynch was named ACC offensive player of the week for the second time this season on Tuesday, after scoring nine goals and collecting an assist in the Irish’s two wins last weekend. She leads the team with 20 goals, good for more than 3 goals per game, which ranks third in the ACC. She also leads the Irish with 24 points on the season. 

Sophomore attacker Madison Ahern has also been key for the Irish this season, scoring ten goals and distributing a team-leading eight assists so far. Senior attacker Maddie Howe has also had a strong start to the season, scoring 13 goals along with six assists. The Irish will likely need all of these players and more to contribute in order to secure the victory. 

The opening draw is set for 1 pm on Sunday afternoon from Koskinen Stadium. The game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.