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Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse: Top 5 Irish Fall to No. 1 Boston College

Irish’s second half comeback too little, too late as Eagles remain undefeated.

Risley Sports Photography / @RisleySports (Twitter)

In a match of strength versus strength, the undefeated and No. 1 ranked Boston College Eagles women’s lacrosse team protected their home field and outlasted the No. 5/4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Wednesday, 13-9.

The Irish (10-2, 3-2 ACC) — keepers of the nation’s stingiest defense — ceded six unanswered goals to the Eagles (13-0, 4-0) during a nine minute, 30 second stretch of the first period that forced the visitors to play catch-up for the remainder of the game.

After looking discombobulated for half of the first period, Samantha Giacolone and the defense reverted to their mean after the Eagles’ outburst. The senior goaltender saved seven of 14 shots after the score went 6-1, while the defense caused five Eagles turnovers. The Irish also kept the Eagles scoreless for 14 minutes in the second period.

Giacolone, who was named Tuesday as Brine/US Lacrosse’s Player of the Week, stopped 10 of the Eagles’ 23 shots. Sophomore Abby Ngai was even more impressive, turning away 14 of the Irish’s 23 attempts on goal.

Senior attack Samantha Lynch scored three goals — her third hat trick in a row — and leads the team with 37 goals. Sophomore midfielder Maddie Howe added two goals of her own and, at 35 for the season, is just six away from eclipsing her freshman year tally.

It was Lynch’s final goal that brought Notre Dame to an 11-9 deficit with 8:47 to play — their closest in nearly 37 minutes of game time.

Boston College, the nation’s second best scoring offense, proved to have too many weapons. Senior attack Sam Apuzzo, who won last year’s Tewaaraton Award, and junior midfielder Cara Urbank scored three times each, while five other Eagles players had at least one goal.

Notre Dame, who boasted the nation’s best draw control percentage entering the game, won just 8 of 24 faceoffs against Boston College, who ranked third in that same category.

The teams posted similar numbers in ground balls, clearing percentage, turnovers, caused turnovers and total shots. The Irish didn’t even have a reservoir of luck; three different shots hit the crossbar, but didn’t breach the goal.

Jessi Masinko, who hasn’t played since March 16, missed her fourth consecutive game with what Notre Dame is calling a “lower body injury.” The team considers their junior attack — who leads the team in assists and is fourth in points — as “week to week,” according to the ACC Network Extra broadcast.

The Irish’s next game is at noon Sunday against the Virginia Tech Hokies (8-6, 1-3 ACC), which is Coach Christine Halfpenny’s alma mater. ACC Network Extra will stream the game.

Notre Dame hasn’t posted a video recap, so here are some very Boston College-focused highlights: