The ACC awarded Andie Aldave and Samantha Giacolone its Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week after dominating performances in a win Saturday against Virginia.
The sophomore midfielder and senior goaltender then made their best arguments for being honored for a second consecutive week in Notre Dame’s 18-6 win Wednesday over Vanderbilt (7-2) at Loftus Sports Center.
Aldave had five goals and won nine draws to lead all players, while Giacolone improved her ACC-best goals against average by stopping 10 of 16 Vanderbilt shots.
The Irish are now 9-0 — the third best start in program history — with the season’s second big test against fourth-ranked Syracuse looming.
Aldave scored the game’s flashiest goals, utilizing spin moves and stick fakes that deeked defenders and fooled Commodores’ sophomore goaltender Lily Argyle — and reminding everyone why she was Inside Lacrosse’s top incoming freshman of 2017.
But the Irish — who entered the game as the nation’s fourth best scoring offense — have weapons everywhere. Five players scored two goals apiece Wednesday, including freshman midfielder Madison Mote.
“It’s a really special feeling to score my first two career goals and help this team earn a victory,” Mote told UND.com. “As a team, we continue to push each other everyday to play to our standard and we look to keep our relentless effort going into the second half of the season.”
Sophomore midfielder Maddie Howe added to her team-leading 26 goals, while junior midfielder Savannah Buchanan and senior attacks Nikki Ortega and Samantha Lynch also doubled up. Howe’s 39 points (28 goals, 11 assists) remains slightly ahead of Aldave’s 37 (25 goals, 12 assists).
Despite the lopsided final score, Vanderbilt battled for the game’s first 25 minutes.
Notre Dame scored first — as it has in each of its nine victories — but the Commodores answered, as they would for each of the Irish’s first three goals. Early action was punctuated by physical play, with the Commodores causing nine of the Irish’s 12 first half turnovers while both teams accumulated 26 fouls.
The Irish held a 7-3 halftime lead and, while dominating their opponents in the faceoff circle, had barely outshot them.
Aldave opened the second half scoring with a under-arm shot from the free position that started low, but beat Argyle high.
The Commodores were able to cut the Irish advantage to 8-5 before Notre Dame exploded for six unanswered goals. Freshman midfielder Hannah Dorney’s sizzling behind the back flip shot made it 16-6 Irish and re-started the running clock. Aldave and Lynch closed out the scoring in the game’s final five minutes.
The Irish now enter the toughest part of their schedule, with a noon matchup Sunday against the Syracuse Orange. Notre Dame returns home to face No. 3 North Carolina on Sunday, March 31 and then heads to Massachusetts for a matchup against No. 1 Boston College on Wednesday, April 3.