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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame women's lacrosse wraps up regular season with win over Louisville

Senior attacker Jane McAvoy and freshman defender Ellie Noto run onto the field before Notre Dame's 15-9 win against Louisville on April 20, 2023 at Arlotta Stadium.
Senior attacker Jane McAvoy and freshman defender Ellie Noto celebrate a goal during Notre Dame's 15-9 win against Louisville on April 20, 2023 at Arlotta Stadium.

Notre Dame women’s lacrosse wrapped up its regular season Thursday, dispatching Louisville 15-9. 

A dominant first quarter set the tone for the Irish. It took Notre Dame all of 14 seconds to jump out into the lead after the opening whistle. Senior midfielder Kasey Choma raced in on net and gave the Irish an early 1-0 lead.

Notre Dame would keep building on that lead as the quarter continued. Choma, senior attacker Jane McAvoy, junior midfielder Mary Kelly Doherty, senior attacker Madison Ahern and junior midfielder Kristen Shanahan all found the back of the net in the first frame. Senior attacker Jackie Wolak was also involved, notching four assists in the first quarter alone.

In the second and third quarters, however, Louisville slowly battled their way back into the contest. The Cardinals outscored the Irish 4-2 in each of the two middle frames. Kokoro Nakazawa was a force for Louisville, tallying up a hat trick by the end of the third quarter. Heading into the fourth, the Cardinals had reduced their deficit to four.

Louisville kept the pressure up in the fourth quarter. A Hannah Morris goal brought the Cardinals within three. Louisville’s defense was excellent throughout the second half, holding the Irish without a goal for a nearly 20-minute stretch between the third and fourth quarters.

Eventually, though, Notre Dame broke through. Jackie Wolak added a second goal to her four assists with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and the Irish once again had breathing room. 

The Wolak goal seemed to open the floodgates for a Notre Dame offense that had misfired in the second half. Two minutes later, Wolak would take a feed from Ahern and rifle a shot into the roof of the net to force a Louisville timeout. Graduate student midfielder Hannah Dorney would add on further in the final minutes, notching an insurance goal to put the Irish up six.

Though Notre Dame’s offense struggled to find firepower in the second half, Wolak’s late brace that sealed the Irish victory wasn’t difficult to see coming. Notre Dame outshot Louisville 40-23 in the game, including a 32-16 margin in shots on goal. 

Shots weren’t the only metric where the Irish dominated the Cardinals. Notre Dame was all but unstoppable in draw controls, winning 24 to Louisville’s four. That excellence in draw controls came as no surprise, however. Notre Dame entered the game leading the ACC in draw-control victories, with 264 in 15 games. Louisville, on the other hand, ranked second to last.

The win gives the Irish a nice boost as they prepare for ACC Tournament play next week. The conference is stacked with top talent this year, with no less than five teams ranked in the top-15 nationally. Now riding a four-game winning steak, Notre Dame should head to Charlotte with momentum as they prepare to square off against some of the nation’s best. 

The location of the ACC Tournament comes as a welcome sight for the Irish, as well. Notre Dame has already played in Charlotte once this year in a neutral site matchup with Duke. The Irish won that contest decisively, notching a 14-6 victory.

Notre Dame women’s lacrosse will be back in action next week in the ACC Tournament. The Irish’s first opponent has yet to be determined.