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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame women's lacrosse prepares for final road games of regular season

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Max Petrosky/Observer


Notre Dame women’s lacrosse will head on the road for the final time this weekend, facing off against Pitt and Robert Morris in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

The Irish will likely have a point to prove in their two matchups for multiple reasons. For one, Notre Dame fell in dramatic fashion last weekend in a top 10 matchup at home. The Irish led Boston College by as many as four goals in the fourth quarter but conceded five unanswered Eagles goals over the final 10 minutes of the contest. The final dagger by midfielder Cassidy Weeks came with just 12 seconds remaining in regulation. 

The loss to Boston College ended a two-game winning streak in which it looked like Notre Dame was building serious momentum. The week prior the Irish dispatched current No. 5 North Carolina in convincing fashion at Arlotta Stadium. A win over the Eagles would have given Notre Dame back-to-back wins over top ten teams and an outside chance at the second seed in the ACC tournament. 

To the credit of the Irish, they responded with force in their midweek showdown on the road against Butler. Notre Dame dominated the Bulldogs, at one point amassing a 24-0 lead. Though Butler eventually got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, the 26-3 final scoreline was reflective of a motivated Irish squad.

The win also gave Notre Dame its second win away from home on the year. The Irish had previously been 0-3 in true road games. A neutral site triumph against Duke kept them from being winless away from the confines of Arlotta Stadium until Monday.

On Friday, the Irish will have a chance to further boost their road record against a struggling Panther squad. Pitt is 0-7 on the season in ACC play and just 4-10 overall. Since the start of March, the Panthers have lost eight of their nine games. The lone win came against 4-9 Youngstown State of the MAC. 

Boasting the conference’s worst offense by goals scored and second-worst defense by goals conceded, Pitt is among Notre Dame’s easiest conference matchups this spring. But if the Panthers do pull the upset, look for the attacking partnership of Sydney Naylor and Camdyn O'Donnell to pull the strings. The sophomore and senior have combined for 47 total points this spring. The pairing holds the only two players with more than 20 points individually on the roster.

Naylor and O’Donnell will have a tough task ahead of them in facing a stout Irish defense. Notre Dame has allowed just 114 total goals this season, the second-best defensive mark in the conference. Pitt’s offense, conversely, ranks last in goals, assists, points, shots and shots on goal per game. 

The Irish defense has come close to pitching a shutout on multiple occasions this season. Junior goalie Lilly Callahan allowed just two goals against San Diego State and one against Virginia Tech. Friday could be her best chance yet to finally go a full game without conceding a goal. If Notre Dame does pitch a shutout, it would be the first by an ACC team this season.

Notre Dame women’s lacrosse will be back in action Friday against Pitt. The game is slated for a 5 p.m. start and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.