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Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse: Irish Beat Duke, Record Best ACC Finish Ever

Irish will be No. 3 seed in upcoming ACC Tournament.

Duke Athletics

Notre Dame clinched the third seed in the upcoming ACC women’s lacrosse tournament after dominating Duke in a 15-7 victory Sunday at Durham’s Koskinen Stadium.

The No. 4 Irish (13-2, 5-2) finished their ACC season slate with their fourth victory over a Top 25 team. The No. 12 Blue Devils (9-6, 2-4 ACC) surrendered six goals in the game’s first seven minutes, and the Irish defense suffocated several of Duke’s top offensive threats to protect the lead.

The game featured the top two teams in draw control percentage nationwide, with each winning about 67 percent of their faceoffs. Notre Dame won 16 of 23 draws Sunday — with junior midfielder Savannah Buchanan controlling eight of those — putting pressure on Duke to force turnovers.

The Devils’ aggressive play instead attracted 36 fouls and six yellow cards, which Notre Dame converted into three goals during one-woman advantages and an additional four goals on eight free position attempts.

Senior attack Samantha Lynch and sophomore midfielder Andie Aldave had four goals each, while sophomore attack Maddie Howe added to her team leads in goals (45) and points (62) with three goals.

Aldave also had five outright wins in the circle to add to her team-best 117 draw controls. The 122 draw controls is fourth best among all Division 1 players.

Samantha Giacolone had a shaky first half, surrendering six goals on just eight Blue Devils’ attempts. But the senior goaltender locked it down in the second half, ceding just one score in six Duke shots on goal. The Manorville, N.Y. product is among the top five goaltenders nationwide in save percentage.

Aldave, Buchanan, Giacolone, Howe and defensive specialists Makenna Pearsall and Hannah Proctor are all nominated for the Tewaaraton Award, given annually to college lacrosse’s best female and male players. The top 25 finalists will be announced April 25.

Box score


  • Pearsall, a senior, left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury. She did not return.
  • With four assists today, senior attack Nikki Ortega is now tied for the team lead in that category with junior attack Jessi Masinko.
  • Giacolone recorded her 46th career win, which is a program best.
  • The Irish close their regular season with a 7 p.m. game Saturday at Arlotta Stadium against No. 6 Northwestern (9-4). The game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra. The Wildcats, who boast the nation’s top scoring offense, will play No. 8 Michigan on Thursday.
  • The 5-2 record in ACC play is the Irish’s best conference mark since joining in 2014.
  • The No. 3 seed plays at 8 p.m. April 24 at Alumni Stadium (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The Irish will either play Duke, Virginia or Virginia Tech; they’ve beaten all three this year. If they were to win, a April 26 rematch with Syracuse or North Carolina would be likely. The Irish beat the Tar Heels, but were sniped late by the Orange in a game played last month.