The Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s lacrosse team will open its spring season against the Boston College Eagles, an ACC rival who finished No. 2 overall last year.
It’s not going to get easier for the Irish women, who started 8-1 last season before running out of gas and finishing an underwhelming 11-8. The Irish will play 10 opponents who, like them, made the NCAA Championship field. Seven of those 10 appeared in the second round or later. (The Irish were bounced by Cornell in the first round of that tournament.)
Earlier this month, coach Christine Halfpenny named seniors Sydney Cardozo and Molly Cobb, as well as junior Samantha Giacolone as captains for the upcoming year. The Irish’s fortunes last year seemed to rise and fall with their goaltender Giacolone, who earned National Player of the Week honors after a strong performance against Louisville, but then faded down the stretch.
The Irish are also lost some of their most talented players to graduation, including attack Cortney Fortunato and midfielder Casey Pearson. But they’ve restocked with the nation’s fifth best recruiting class, including Inside Lacrosse’s top rated recruit — midfielder Andie Aldave.
Here’s the Irish’s 2018 schedule, which starts Feb. 10:
All times Eastern
Feb. 10 — vs. Boston College (noon) - The Irish lost twice to the Eagles (17-7) last year, including the first round of the ACC Championship
Feb. 17 — at Jacksonville (1 p.m.) - The Dolphins were 14-6 last year and lost their first round NCAA Tournament game to the USC Trojans.
Feb. 18 — at Stetson (11 a.m.) - The Hatters were 5-13 last year.
Feb. 23 — vs. USC (6 p.m.) - The Trojans (18-4) were last year’s Pac 12 champions and lost in the NCAA Tournament semifinals to Boston College.
Feb. 25 — vs. Elon (1 p.m.) - The Phoenix were 13-7 last year, with one of those losses coming Feb. 23 to the Irish at home. They lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to the Virginia Cavaliers.
Feb. 28 — vs. Marquette (5 p.m.) - The Golden Eagles were 6-11 last year, including a 21-9 loss to Notre Dame in early February.
March 4 — at Louisville (1 p.m.) - The Cardinals were 11-9, including a loss last year to Notre Dame. They were also bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
March 11 — at Virginia Tech (1 p.m.) - The Hokies finished 11-8, which included a mid-April loss to the Irish.
March 14 — at High Point (4 p.m.) - The Panthers were 16-4 last year, and got to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before running into the buzzsaw that was the eventual national champion, Maryland Terrapins.
March 17 — vs. Virginia (TBD) - The Cavaliers sported a 12-9 record, including a dominating performance against Notre Dame. They also made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to ACC foe, North Carolina.
March 24 — vs. Syracuse (1 p.m.) - The Orange were 15-7, with one of their seven losses being a lopsided defeat at home against Notre Dame. They lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Boston College.
March 31 — at North Carolina (noon) - The Tar Heels were 17-3 last year, including a 16-9 defeat of the Irish in South Bend. Carolina was stopped in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by the women of Navy.
April 3 — vs. Michigan (7 p.m.) - The Wolverines were 5-12 last year, with one of their early losses coming at the hands of Notre Dame.
April 8 — at Northwestern (1 p.m.) - The Irish opened the season with the Wildcats last year, with Northwestern prevailing. The Wildcats finished the season 11-10, however, although one of those wins came in the NCAA Tournament.
April 15 — vs. Duke (1 p.m.) - The Irish came up with a big win against the Blue Devils in a match-up of then-Top 10 teams. Duke then faltered, finishing 8-9 and ending the season by losing twice to North Carolina.
April 21 — vs. San Diego State (1 p.m.) - The Aztecs finished the 2017-18 season with a 10-8 record.
April 26-27 — ACC Championship (Durham, N.C.)
May 11 — NCAA Championship First Round
May 13 — NCAA Championship Second Round
May 19-20 — NCAA Championship Quarterfinals
March 25 & 27 — NCAA Championship (Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook University)