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MX News Update 2024

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Five things to know about Notre Dame men’s, women’s lacrosse ahead of NCAA Tournament

SOUTH BEND — The Notre Dame men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are having tremendous seasons and were rewarded by hosting first- and- second- round NCAA Tournament action this weekend at Arlotta Stadium.

The women (15-3) earned the No. 7 overall seed and will play Coastal Carolina (14-5) Friday at 1 pm The winner of that game will face the winner of the Michigan (14-3) vs. Mercer (14-5) matchup, which takes place right after the Irish-Chanticleer game in South Bend. The women’s second round game will be noon Sunday.

On the men’s side, the No. 1-ranked Irish (12-1) await the winner of the Albany-Sacred Heart matchup, which is being played Wednesday night in Albany. Notre Dame will host whoever advances at 5 pm Sunday.

From the preseason: Notre Dame men’s lacrosse ready to defend its national title

With the men looking to repeat as national champions and the women seeking its first title, here are five things to know about each team as they begin NCAA Tournament action this weekend.

NOTRE DAME MEN’S LACROSSE

This might be the best regular season the Irish ever had

That’s saying a lot, given the history of the program. While this year’s group suffered one loss, nine of its 12 wins came against ranked foes, including ACC rivals Virginia and Duke twice. The only other team in program history with fewer regular season losses was 2009, which went 15-0 before losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That team only beat two ranked opponents, though, giving this year’s group a much stronger summary overall.

Pat Kavanagh is a history maker

Kavanagh became the program’s all-time points leader during an 11-9 regular season win over Virginia April 27. The graduate senior has 281 points so far in five seasons with Notre Dame, 60 of which have come this season (22 goals, 38 assists ). He was named the ACC offensive player of the year due to his success.

Jordan Faison has made an impact

After many surprises with a breakout football season in the fall, Faison has shown why he had a lacrosse scholarship to start with at Notre Dame. The freshman is fifth on the team with 26 points, including 18 goals. He’s helped the Irish average 16 goals scored per game, best in the country.

More: Staying ‘flaxable.’ Jordan Faison becomes a two-sport star for Notre Dame football and lacrosse

The defense is also pretty good for Notre Dame

While the Irish score a lot of goals, they also prevent their opponents from scoring as well anybody in the country. They’re fourth in the NCAA with a 9.31 goals allowed per game average, only trailing Towson, Denver and Georgetown. Notre Dame goalie Liam Entenmann was named both ACC defensive player and goalie of the year for his efforts.

It’s only loss was against its potential quarterfinal opponent

Notre Dame’s one blemish came Feb. 25 to Georgetown, losing 11-10 in overtime at home. The Hoyas (12-3) earned the No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and will host Penn State (11-4) Sunday. If the seeds hold, a rematch between the Irish and its former Big East nemesis would be one of the more intriguing quarterfinal contests.

More: NBA has its say on immediate future of a Notre Dame men’s basketball guard

NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S LACROSSE

The Irish have built an impressive résumé

After coming into the season unranked, Notre Dame quickly caught everyone’s attention with a win over No. 1 Northwestern on Feb. 16. It also picked up ranked wins against North Carolina, Brown, Boston College and Duke. Its only losses came to Syracuse, Virginia and Boston College in a rematch in the ACC Tournament. Those three are the No. 3, 5 and 2 seeds, respectively, in the NCAA Tournament.

Jackie Wolak is one of the nation’s best offensive players

The graduate senior was named ACC Attacker of the Year as her 92 points (54 goals, 38 assists) led all players in the conference and is fifth nationally. She is 13 points shy of the all-time program record, as her 323 points ranks second behind Jillian Byers’ 336.

More than just Wolak on offense

Six Irish players received all-ACC recognition this season: two attackers and four midfielders. Along with Wolak, graduate senior forward Madison Ahern was a first-team All-ACC selection with 53 goals and 19 assists. Another graduate senior, Kasey Choma, from the midfield spot earned first-team honors with 70 points (48 goals, 22 assists).

Two other midfielders — seniors Kelly Denes and MK Doherty — were named second-team All-ACC, while freshman Meghan O’Hare earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman team.

More: Notre Dame women’s basketball stays busy, picks up another top transfer

Notre Dame controls possession very well

The Irish rank fifth among NCAA teams in draw control percentage with a 62.7% rate. This gives Notre Dame more chances for its high-octane offense to go to work, which is indicative of its 16.61 goals-per-game average ranking fourth in the country.

Lily Callahan has been solid in the net

The senior Notre Dame goalie enters the NCAA Tournament allowing 9.12 goals per game, which is 14th-best in the country. Her counterpart in Friday’s first round game, Coastal Carolina junior Charlotte Sadler, allows nearly two more goals a contest.