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Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse: Irish Beats Third Ranked Team in Win vs Virginia Tech

Notre Dame holds on to 15-13 win after staking out to insurmountable eight goal lead.

Andie Aldave (center) celebrates with her teammates Nikki Ortega (left) and Maddie Howe during Notre Dame’s 15-13 win over Virginia Tech Sunday.
Mike Miller / Fighting Irish Media

The fifth-ranked Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team remained undefeated at home and beat their third Top 25 opponent Sunday by holding off No. 21 Virginia Tech, 15-13.

Sophomore attack Maddie Howe eclipsed all players with seven points (four goals, three assists) and lead the Irish (11-2, 4-2 ACC) to victory over Coach Christine Halfpenny’s alma mater.

The ACC contest at Arlotta Stadium was punctuated by runs.

Five different Irish players scored to open the game, with Hokies sophomore goaltender Morgan Berman saving just one shot and Virginia Tech (8-7, 1-4 ACC) managing just two shots on goal during that stretch.

Freshman midfielder Madison Mote and Howe later extended the lead to 8-2 before Tech roared back with three of their own — including a pair from sophomore attack Sarah Lubnow.

ACC Network Extra / ESPN / NDFIM

In the second half, the Irish ripped off a second run of five unanswered goals to turn a potentially tight game into unexpected laugher.

Mote scored twice more to earn her first career hat trick, while Howe, sophomore midfielder Andie Aldave and junior attack Nikki Ortega also found the back of the net. The Irish were up 15-7 with just under nine minutes remaining in the game.

Tech, however, would not relent.

The Hokies, who have won and lost several close games against ranked teams this year, breezed six of 10 shots past Irish goaltender Samantha Giacolone. The senior — and Tewaaraton Award nominee — had stopped eight of 15 before that point.

The Irish, who did not even manage a shot on goal during the Hokie onslaught, hung on to a 15-13 victory.

“I’m really proud of the way we started today,” said Halfpenny following the game. “I thought we did an incredible job of coming out fast, playing hard and protecting our home field. Credit to Virginia Tech for playing hard and making it interesting at the end. For our group, I’m happy to see us handle some adversity towards the end of the game and earn our fourth ACC win. Experiences like that against this level of competition, especially at this time of year, will only make us stronger and better moving forward.”

The Irish, who entered the game third in the nation in draw control percentage, won 18 of 30 faceoffs. Aldave had 12 of those, and became the first player in program history to record more than 100 in a season. She’s in the top five nationwide in that category.

“For me, getting over 100 draw controls this season is really a testament on how hard we work on the draw as a team, on-and-off the field,” the sophomore told “As a group, we constantly challenge each other everyday in practice to be better on the draw and that’s one of the biggest reasons for our high draw-control percentage as a team.”


  • Junior midfielder Kelly Donnelly scored her first point of the season, assisting on the goal from freshman midfielder Hannah Dorney that opened the game.
  • Junior attack Jessi Masinko missed her fifth consecutive game with injury. With three assists in Sunday’s game, Howe has now surpassed Masinko is assists. The hobbled star is still fifth on the team in total points.
  • Howe has had a hat trick in eight of Notre Dame’s 13 games and recorded five points in five of those games.

The Irish will host Butler (3-10) at 7 p.m. Wednesday before traveling south to Durham for a game against No. 13 Duke (8-5, 2-5 ACC) at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Irish will close their regular season at 7 p.m. April 20 against No. 4 Northwestern (9-3).

The ACC tournament begins April 24 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass.