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Women’s Lacrosse: No. 5 Notre Dame Outlasts No. 7 Virginia, 12-10

Irish host No. 1 UNC next week.

Defense Kelly Donnelly cradles the ball during Saturday’s 12-10 Irish win over Virginia.

Notre Dame withstood a five goal flurry late to defeat the Virginia Cavaliers, 12-10, in women’s lacrosse Saturday in Charlottesville.

Goaltender Bridget Deehan stopped 14 Virginia shots and Samantha Lynch, recently added to the Tewaarton watch list, added four goals in the victory for the No. 5 Irish (6-2, 3-2 ACC).

It was a game of runs, with the Irish drawing first blood with goals by senior attack Maddie Howe, senior midfielder Andie Aldave and sixth-year Lynch.

Deehan, who stoned the first four Cavaliers attempts, then allowed three of the next four Virginia shots to slip past her for a 3-3 tie.

Notre Dame continued its struggles in the draw control circle, with Virginia winning nine of the first half’s 10 attempts. The Irish were also sloppy with the ball, turning over possession 10 times in the first half to Virginia’s eight.

Despite that, the Irish led 5-4 at half due to graduate defensewoman Kelly Donnelly’s first goal of the season — a beautiful whole field dodge and weave that caught Virginia defenders flat-footed.

The Irish won the first three of five draw controls in the second half, leading to goals in each possession by sophomore attack Jackie Wolak, Lynch (her third), graduate defensewoman Kathleen Roe (off a free position attempt), Aldave and sophomore midfielder Kasey Choma.

Lynch’s fourth goal — and team-leading 26th of the season — made the game 11-5 with just under 18 minutes to play. The Irish seemed primed to humiliate No. 7 Virginia inside their own place.

The Cavaliers’ frantic run started with Donnelly’s second yellow card, during which senior attack Ashlyn McGovern capitalized on a one-woman advantage to bring the score to 11-6. Forty seconds later, it was junior Lillie Kloak converting a free position opportunity to cut the Irish lead to four. One minute after that, senior attack Taylor Regan beat Deehan to make it a three-goal affair.

The Cavaliers’ blitzkrieg hadn’t subsided. Fifty seconds later, McGovern scored again following an Irish foul — 28 were committed by Notre Dame in the second half alone. Deehan recorded her first save in nearly 10 minutes of game play before McGovern beat her a third time, making it an 11-10 game with just 6:31 to play.

Virginia won the subsequent draw control — one of 17 on the day to the Irish’s 7 — but Deehan stood tall, denying two Cavaliers shots.

Desperate and pressing, the Cavaliers pulled goaltender Charlie Campbell. Hoos sophomore midfielder Kiki Shaw drew an untimely yellow card to reset the shot clock and ensure an Irish victory. Freshman midfielder Keelin Schlageter deposited a goal into the empty net in the waning seconds to put a bow on the win.

Notre Dame has now won three straight games against ranked ACC opponents, but the slate hardly gets easier from here. The ladies host top ranked North Carolina at home next Saturday, then head to Chestnut Hill for a double header against No. 4 Boston College. The Irish-Tar Heels game will be on the ACC Network, as will at least the first game against the Eagles.

The Cavaliers (8-3, 3-3 ACC) will play No. 2 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome next Saturday, then head to No. 1 North Carolina for a Friday/Sunday doubleheader.