Maddie Howe scored six times and Samantha Giacolone saved 13 shots to lead the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a NCAA Tournament first round victory Friday over the Stanford Cardinal, 15-9.
The game was won in the center circle, with the Irish winning 18 of 25 draw controls against the nation’s seventh best team in controlling faceoffs. Sophomore midfielder Andie Aldave collected nine of those herself, adding to her program-best 135 draw controls entering this game.
Despite two Top 20 scoring offenses, the first half included two stretches of seven-plus minutes without a goal for either team.
Senior attack Samantha Lynch opened the scoring in the game’s first 2:10, converting a Stanford turnover into a 2-on-1 chance that left Stanford goalie Trudie Grattan outmatched. Lynch also opened the second half scoring with her 50th goal of the season, behind only Howe (56), a sophomore attack, for the team lead.
Senior Giacolone had seven saves, helping the Irish build a 6-3 halftime lead. Stanford never got closer than three goals in the second half.
Freshman midfielder Hannah Dorney notched a hat trick for the Irish and had a career high four points.
Stanford had more shots on goal than Notre Dame, 22-20, had fewer turnovers and cleared a greater percentage of balls out of their own defensive zone. Notre Dame picked up more ground balls (23-22) and had more free position opportunities.
The Irish (14-4) will play Northwestern (14-4), which won the Big Ten Championship, at 2 p.m. Sunday at Martin Stadium in Evanston, Ill. The game will be available on BTN2Go, a streaming service. The two teams last met April 20 at Arlotta Stadium, a 15-11 Wildcats victory.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak. The Irish have been to the quarterfinals just four times in program history, achieving this distinction last in 2016 with a 15-3 rout of Northwestern — which was also their last NCAA Tournament win prior to Friday.
- The NCAA named five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, given to the nation’s best player. The Irish had six people on the watchlist, and two among the final 25, but none in the remaining group. They are Boston College seniors Sam Apuzzo and Dempsey Arsenault; Maryland seniors Jen Giles and Megan Taylor; and Northwestern senior Selena Lasota. Apuzzo won the award last year.
- In the other half of Notre Dame’s bracket, fifth-seeded Syracuse will host Georgetown at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Carrier Dome. The Irish were the lone ACC team to play a first round game, with Boston College, North Carolina, Virginia and the Orange all receiving byes.
- The Irish improved to 10-7 all time against Stanford, which finishes its season at 13-6.
- Notre Dame’s 14 victories this season are the third-most in program history for a single season, matching the 2016 team.