If the Irish prevail, a rematch with No. 1 UNC likely awaits
The Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse team will start its ACC Tournament run Wednesday with a rematch against the Duke Blue Devils.
The 2:30 p.m. game, which will be aired on the ACC Network, will be played at Dorrance Field, home of the top-ranked UNC Tar Heels.
The Irish traveled to Durham on March 28 and won a rain-soaked 13-9 game against the Blue Devils on March 28.
Notre Dame, a four seed in the conference tournament, finished the regular season at 8-5. They were 5-5 in conference, with wins against Louisville (twice), Virginia, Virginia Tech and Duke.
Duke, the ACC’s fifth seed, was 4-6 in conference play and 9-6 overall. They also beat Virginia, Louisville and Virginia Tech (twice).
The Blue Devils are led by Gabby Rosenzweig, who has 22 goals and 27 assists in the 15-game season so far. The graduate attack had a goal and two assists in the loss to the Irish.
Junior goalie Sophia LeRose is the main netminder for the Blue Devils. She’s saved 96 shots, but allowed 111 goals for a .464 save percentage and a 10.19 goals against average.
The Irish have a multi-faceted attack, led by sophomores Kasey Choma (33 goals, 3 assists), Jackie Wolak (22 goals and 13 assists) and Madison Ahern (21 goals and 13 assists). Senior Andie Aldave, who was injured in the season’s first game, leads the team in draw control (62) while graduate Savannah Buchanan has team highs in ground balls (22) and caused turnovers (25).
Bridget Deehan, a Tewaaraton Award finalist, has played all but 16 minutes in goal for the Irish this year. She has stopped 126 shots, while allows 142 goals for a .470 save percentage. She is yielding about 11 goals per game.
The Irish have struggled in the draw control circle this year, winning 172 of 351 (.490) faceoffs. They are also one of the most bruising. Their 27 fouls per game is sixth worst in Division I, although Syracuse is second-worst with 32 ½ fouls per game.
On the flip side, Notre Dame is the 10th most careful team in Division I, giving up just 167 turnovers in 13 games. If they beat Duke, the Irish will likely draw No. 1 North Carolina in the second round. The Tar Heels protect the ball better than anyone else. They’ve coughed it up 155 times in 15 games.
The Irish lost, 11-10, to the Tar Heels on April 10 at Arlotta Stadium.