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Notre Dame's Madison Ahern surveys the field during the game Saturday at North Carolina

Notre Dame Defeats North Carolina in Defensive Slugfest

March 2, 2024
Matt DaSilva
Peyton Williams

It’s time to start paying attention to Notre Dame’s defense.

After limiting Northwestern to just 10 goals in a win earlier this season, the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish were especially stingy Saturday in a 7-5 victory at North Carolina — their first-ever win in Chapel Hill.

Except for a second-half lapse last week against Syracuse, Notre Dame’s defense has been nearly impenetrable. That was certainly the case against the fourth-ranked Tar Heels, who managed just 17 shots and committed 19 turnovers.

Madison Ahern (four goals) and Jackie Wolak (two goals, one assist) provided just enough offense for the Fighting Irish to eke out their fifth win of the season.

Notre Dame (5-1) held North Carolina scoreless for the first 22 minutes and led 3-0 midway through the second quarter. The Tar Heels showed some life, scoring three unanswered goals to tie the game at 3 going into halftime.

The Fighting Irish went back up by two in the third quarter on Ahern’s 16th and 17th goals of the season, then scored twice in a span of 57 seconds in the fourth quarter to put just enough distance between them and North Carolina.

Maryland Gets Revenge in Denver

Denver’s win over Maryland in College Park last year served as a springboard for the Pioneers’ surprising undefeated run to championship weekend.

Denver is finding it slightly more difficult to replicate that magic this spring, while the Terps are proving ever more resilient after a down year by their standards.

Victoria Hensh scored three goals, while Shaylan Ahearn and Meghan Ball combined for 12 draw controls in Maryland’s 10-8 win over the Pioneers at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

The 11th-ranked Terps limited Denver to just three second-half goals. The ninth-ranked Pioneers’ defense was equally as good, but they could not muster enough to come back from a three-goal Maryland run early in the third quarter.

Loyola's Chase Boyle keeps the ball away from Penn State's Lauren Saltz
Loyola's Chase Boyle keeps the ball away from Penn State's Lauren Saltz.
John Strohsacker

Thrill of the Chase

Chase Boyle tied her career high with six goals and corralled a career-high 15 draw controls to lead unbeaten Loyola to a 14-10 victory over visiting Penn State.

Overall, the eighth-ranked Greyhounds had a 22-5 advantage in draw controls, creating a possession imbalance in their favor.

Kristin O’Neill and Gretchen Gimore scored four goals apiece for the Nittany Lions, who have lost three straight games.


  • Jenna Collignon scored five goals to go with five draw controls to lead Yale to an 11-9 win at 18th-ranked Princeton. The third quarter proved to be the difference. The Bulldogs blanked the Tigers 3-0 in the frame.
  • Navy remained unbeaten with an impressive 14-5 victory over visiting Richmond. Both teams came in undefeated. The 17th-ranked Midshipmen (5-0) scored five goals each in the first and third quarters and held the Spiders scoreless for the final 21 minutes, 55 seconds. Emily Messinese led Navy with four goals.
  • Virginia improved to 5-1 under new coach Sonia LaMonica, defeating upstart Clemson 18-12. The 15th-ranked Cavaliers scored three goals in the first five minutes and the 19th-ranked Tigers never got closer than within two goals. Kate Galica, Mackenzie Hoeg and Kate Miller each had hat tricks for Virginia, whose only loss so far was a one-goal defeat in a thriller against North Carolina.
  • Syracuse stayed hot after its win over Notre Dame, carrying that momentum into a 15-8 win over Duke at the Dome. The sixth-ranked Orange scored the first six goals of the game and Kate Mashewske propelled them to a 20-7 advantage in draw controls. Emma Tyrrell scored a season-high five goals.
  • A six-goal second quarter proved to be the difference as fifth-ranked Michigan defeated 20th-ranked Colorado 13-8. Kaylee Dyer scored five goals. The Wolverines improved to 6-0 overall and are now 3-0 against top-20 foes.