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Saturday, May 25, 2024
The Observer

Irish roll over Central Michigan, 24-5

Perhaps inspired by the unseasonably sunny South Bend skies and the first outdoor game of the season that ensued, Notre Dame women’s lacrosse put forward their most dominant performance of the young season. The team bested Central Michigan 24-5 at Arlotta Family Lacrosse Stadium Sunday. 

The scoring started early, with junior midfield Kristen Shanahan finding the back of the net just 30 seconds after the opening whistle. Central Michigan would knot the score at one just a few minutes later, but that would be the last Chippewa look at goal for a long time. The newly-tied score set forth an avalanche of Irish offense, with the Irish ripping off a run of 14 unanswered goals that would last until halftime.

Notre Dame spread the offense around in their 15-1 run to start the game in the first half. Nine different Irish players got on the scoresheet in the first 20 minutes alone.

That theme of spreading the goals around would continue into the third and fourth quarters. Six different Irish players notched multi-goal games, with three players tallying hat tricks (or, in Jackie Wolak’s case, better — the senior had four goals).

After the game, head coach Christine Halfpenny discussed her squad’s offensive depth.

“We’re old on our offensive end,” Halfpenny said. “And not just our starting unit. Today, we were able to see our second unit come in and do a lot of damage. I think we had 15 players got on the scoresheet today in some way, shape or form. That’s a big deal. It allows us to maybe pocket some timeouts and utilize our depth and our experience.”

Even as Central Michigan found a late spark to the tune of three fourth quarter goals, the Irish dominance continued. Despite several late spells of possession from the Chippewas, Notre Dame still ended the game with a gaudy 37-9 advantage in shots and a 24-8 advantage in draw controls. 

Looking ahead, Notre Dame will move on to their first ACC test of the season. Clemson is slated to travel to South Bend next Sunday, a chance for Notre Dame to gauge their level against a conference foe. The Irish are coming off two blowout wins and a loss to one of the best teams in the country in Northwestern.

Halfpenny mentioned after the game her team’s ability to keep the focus on themselves rather than the opposition, despite the wide range in the caliber her squad has faced:

“I think the reality is, we are in the pursuit of consistency in playing our brand of lacrosse no matter who we’re playing against,” Halfpenny said. “Our players, with the veteran experience they have, know what to expect in the ACC. Our focus remains on us.”

Clemson will enter South Bend with an undefeated record through three games, but the Tigers are yet to play a power-five opponent. With the Clemson match setting off a stretch of four ACC tests, the Irish will be looking to set the tempo for their conference slate early on.

Notre Dame women’s lacrosse will be back in action Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. The match will be broadcasted on the ACC Network.