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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

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Notre Dame women's lacrosse sweeps Eastern and Central Michigan, looks ahead to Northwestern

The Irish handled business over the weekend, but now will square off against No. 1 Northwestern at Loftus Sports Center.

Notre Dame women’s lacrosse swept their opening weekend of action with a dominant pair of wins over Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

The usual suspects shined for the Irish offense in the two matches, which Notre Dame captured by an aggregate score of 43-9. Among the Irish leaders in goals from the contests were graduate student attacker Jackie Wolak (7), graduate student midfielder Kasey Choma (6), senior midfielder Mary Kelly Doherty (5) and graduate student attacker Madison Ahern (5) — all of whom made up the top four for Notre Dame in goals scored in 2023.

As the returners made their expected mark, some of the Irish’s key offseason additions shined as well. Graduate student attacker Arden Tierney looked the part of a seamless fit in Notre Dame’s attack. Tierney tallied a pair of goals, but more notably posted more assists than any other Irish player on the weekend with 6. She also racked up 10 draw controls, splitting draw specialist duties with senior Kelly Denes. Graduate student defender Olivia Dooley also slotted in nicely with the Irish defense, though her and her fellow defenders weren’t tested much in either game.

The lobsided victories allowed Notre Dame the chance to rotate heavily throughout the weekend. 26 players took the field at the Loftus Sports Center over the course of Friday and Sunday, including a number of freshmen making their Irish debuts. Among the rookies to turn heads on the statsheet were midfielder Angie Conley (2 goals and 2 assists) and freshman midfielder Kathryn Morrissey (2 goals).

Notre Dame will now look ahead to a pivotal showdown with the nation’s top ranked team, Northwestern. The Wildcats are the defending national champions, and presently hold a 1-0 record with a win over No. 5 Syracuse. The “Lakeshow,” as Northwestern’s output has been dubbed, features reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Izzy Scane. Scane tallied a whopping 99 goals and 35 assists last season and opened her season with a hat-trick as well as an assist on Saturday against the Orange. Notably, in Scane’s last game against Notre Dame, the graduate student scored 10 goals.

The Irish square off against Northwestern on a near-yearly basis, but have won just one game since 2016, a thrilling 17-15 victory over the then third-ranked Wildcats. It was one of three ranked wins in a 7-0 start to Notre Dame’s 2020 campaign that would be left unfinished following the season’s suspension by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Irish were ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time of the season was suspended, then ultimately cancelled. 

Notre Dame women’s lacrosse will be back in action on Friday at the Loftus Sports Center. The game is set to start at 7:30 pm and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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