Seniors Samantha Lynch and Samantha Giacolone were determined not to let their Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team fall victim to a second half swoon for two consecutive weeks.
Giacolone stopped 14 of North Carolina’s 21 shots and Lynch had four goals from the attack position as the sixth-ranked Irish (10-1, 3-1 ACC) upended the third-ranked Tar Heels, 9-7, at Arlotta Stadium Sunday.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” the Irish goaltender told UND.com after the game. “This team worked so hard all week in practice in preparation for this moment. To come out here, our first home game this year at Arlotta, and get a big win is exciting.”
Defense dominated during a wind swept, 30-degree day which featured other-worldly efforts by both goaltenders. Sophomore Taylor Moreno stopped 11 of 20 Notre Dame shots, including seven of 11 in the first period to keep UNC (9-3, 2-2 ACC) within one goal at the half.
UNC tied the game at 4 after 13 scoreless minutes opened the second half, then took the lead just 90 seconds later on a goal by sophomore attack Jamie Ortega, the younger sister of Notre Dame senior Nikki Ortega.
The nation’s top-ranked scoring defense would not collapse, as they had done against fourth-ranked Syracuse the week prior. Lynch scored three consecutive times, while Giacolone saved four of the six shots on goal from that point forward.
Junior midfielder Savannah Buchanan scored the game winning goal with 5:14 remaining in the game, in a possession she also started by winning the draw control. Buchanan had two goals in the game, as did sophomore midfielder Andie Aldave — the game’s last of each half.
Notre Dame, which leads the nation in the percentage of draw controls won, beat UNC in the faceoff circle 11 out of 17 times Sunday. The Irish also collected 14 ground balls to the Tar Heels’ seven. Both teams were near perfect on clearing the ball from their own defensive zone, with UNC going 19-of-20 and Notre Dame successful on 15 of 16 tries.
TESTS STILL REMAIN
The Irish travel to Chestnut Hill for a 1 p.m. game Wednesday against top-ranked — and undefeated — Boston College. They’ll host Virginia Tech — who is just outside the Top 20 on the Inside Women’s Lacrosse rankings — at noon Sunday at Arlotta. Their game against 13th ranked Duke is on the road on April 14, followed by a home tilt against No. 9 Northwestern on April 20.
The contest Sunday was part of the program’s annual Daughters For Dads Game, which raises funds to help researchers find a cure for cancer. With 241 in attendance Sunday, St. Joseph’s Health Center is donating $6,025 to the Harper Cancer Research Institute.