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Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse: Maddie Howe’s Amazing Freshman Season

The Fairport native may have been one of the unlikeliest standout freshmen. But her performance this year has put her among Notre Dame’s all-time greatest.

Maddie Howe Erin Locascio, Fighting Irish Media

“‘Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but death and taxes,” wrote Christopher Bullock in his farce, “The Cobbler of Preston.”

Bullock didn’t live to see Maddie Howe, the epitome of consistent effort during Notre Dame women’s lacrosse 2018 season.

The freshman midfielder from Fairport, N.Y. has scored at least one goal in 13 of the Irish’s 15 games. Howe has scored multiple goals in nine of those games, including a recent stretch of three goals (in a April 3 win against Michigan), four goals (in an April 8 loss to Northwestern) and four goals (in a Sunday win against Duke).

Maddie Howe’s Freshman Season

Date Opponent Result Goals Assists Total Points Top ND Points?
Date Opponent Result Goals Assists Total Points Top ND Points?
2/10/2018 Boston College Loss 3 1 4 Yes
2/17/2018 Jacksonville Win 2 0 2 No
2/18/2018 Stetson Win 2 1 3 No
2/23/2018 USC Loss 1 0 1 No
2/25/2018 Elon Win 0 4 4 Yes
2/28/2018 Marquette Win 1 0 1 No
3/4/2018 Louisville Win 4 2 6 Yes
3/11/2018 Virginia Tech Loss 0 0 0 No
3/14/2018 High Point Loss 4 0 4 Yes
3/17/2018 Virginia Loss 4 0 4 Yes
3/24/2018 Syracuse Win 1 1 2 No
3/31/2018 North Carolina Loss 1 0 1 No
4/3/2018 Michigan Win 3 3 6 Yes
4/8/2018 Northwestern Loss 4 0 4 Yes
4/15/2018 Duke Win 4 0 4 Yes


While it may be little surprise that someone from the Irish’s freshman class — ranked fifth nationally by Inside Lacrosse — has become the team’s standout player, Howe would have been one of the most unlikeliest guesses before the season commenced.

It was fellow midfielder Andie Aldave who Inside Lacrosse tabbed as the nation’s top prospect. The Catonsville, Md. product has acquitted herself well -- the team’s leader in draw controls (ranked #23 nationally), second on the team in goals and third overall in points.

The lacrosse website and magazine also ranked midfielder Kaci Messier (Victor, N.Y.) as the class’ 30th best prospect; goaltender Bridget Deehan (Alpharetta, Ga.) as its 47th best player and defensewoman Lizzy Doherty and midfielder Diana Kelly (both from Chatham, N.J.) on its watchlist.

Of those, Kelly has been the only one to see the field in all 15 games — earning four starts. Messier and Deehan have played in half of the games, while Doherty has just appeared once.

Inside Lacrosse’s underrating of Howe may have to do with the two ACL tears she sustained during her high school career.

The first — a tear of her ACL and meniscus damage to her left knee — happened during a July 2014 tournament in Baldwinsville, N.Y. The second — in her right knee — occurred during a July 2016 Baldwinsville.

Howe committed to the Irish during the Christmas after her first tear over offers from North Carolina, Northwestern and Boston College — who the Irish play annually. She told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that her subsequent sophomore slump was a “frustrating” byproduct of being “incapable of physically doing some things.”

Her bounce-back was bad news for Fairport’s opponents in Section V, Class A. Howe led her team with 58 goals, 71 points and 83 draw controls, earning the Democrat & Chronicle’s “All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year” as a junior in 2016.

Howe’s second injury curtailed the start of her senior season, but she still managed to earn her fifth selection to the all-county first team after leading her team in draw controls and ground balls, receive U.S. Lacrosse All-American honors and maintain a 96 average in her classes.


Howe’s 140th place rank in points per game among NCAA players this year belies how extraordinary her season has been in the annals of Notre Dame history.

Among freshman scoring leaders, Howe’s season is currently fourth best all-time. The three names ahead of her: Jillian Byers, who went on to become the most decorated player in the history of the program; Cortney Fortunato, who is second all-time in points and Shaylyn Blaney, who finished third all-time in goals scored.

Notre Dame All-Time Points Scored, Freshman Season

# Name Freshman Year Goals Scored Assists Total Points Total Games Points Per Game
# Name Freshman Year Goals Scored Assists Total Points Total Games Points Per Game
1 Jillian Byers 2006 54 24 78 19 4.1
2 Cortney Fortunato 2014 46 17 63 19 3.3
3 Shaylyn Blaney 2008 43 9 52 19 2.7
4 Maddie Howe 2018 34 12 46 15 3.1
5 Courtney Calabrese 1998 38 3 41 13 3.2
6 Lael O'Shaughnessy 1998 27 14 41 15 2.7
7 Caitlin McKinney 2005 28 12 40 15 2.7
7 Kaitlyn Brosco 2011 32 8 40 19 2.1
9 Crysti Foote 2003 27 11 38 15 2.5
10 Nikki Ortega 2016 21 14 35 21 1.7

Howe and Notre Dame will play the University of Albany at 1 p.m. Wednesday on John Fallon Field. The Great Dane are 6-7 on the season, but have won six straight contests.