Colorado, Notre Dame, Northwestern Battle in Final Fall Ball Weekend


The Wildcats host Colorado and Notre Dame in a fall ball between 2017 NCAA tournament contenders.

Contenders from the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse tournament – Colorado (Pac-12), Northwestern (Big Ten) and Notre Dame (ACC) – will converge on Evanston, Ill., for one final fall ball competition on Sunday.

The last time Colorado and host Northwestern squared off was in the Buffs’ home- and season-opener, which was a stunning 11-10 overtime win for the fourth-year program. Colorado went on to have its best season yet, garnering its first national ranking in program history.

The last showdown between Northwestern and Notre Dame was also a nail biter, ending in a 14-13 win for the Wildcats. The Irish did not play the Buffs in 2017.

Miranda Stinson led the Buffs to victory over Northwestern with a team-best four points. Goalie Paige Soenksen also kept Colorado in the game with an impressive 19 saves. However, only Stinson returns for the 2018 season. While three goalies will be looking to lock up the starting position – senior Sophia Gambitsky, redshirt sophomore Annee O’Connor and sophomore Julie Lisella – the Buffs return point leader Darby Kiernan.

Northwestern will benefit in 2018 with one more year of eligibility from Danita Stroup. The senior attacker and Canada standout played the last two seasons with the Wildcats after transferring from LIU Brooklyn. In 2017, Stroup finished second on the team with a career-high 42 goals. However, point leader Christina Esposito graduated. Draw specialist Shelby Fredericks is now a senior and fellow Canadian star Selena Lasota is a junior.

This year, Notre Dame gains the nation’s top recruit in midfielder Andie Aldave and has the fifth-ranked overall recruiting class. After finishing third in the ACC, the Irish are looking to build and improve in 2018 despite graduating point leaders Cortney Fortunato and Casey Pearsall, the latter who also led in draw controls. Samantha Lynch and Nikki Ortega will likely take the reins on offense this spring, while junior keeper Samantha Giacolone continues to anchor the defense.

Other highlights to this fall ball weekend include:

  • Duke women’s lacrosse finishes its fall ball slate Sunday with its annual Fall Invitational, featuring Davidson, East Carolina, High Point, Jacksonville, Richmond and Virginia Tech. See game schedule below.

  • Georgetown and Loyola also host their final fall ball competitions. On Saturday, James Madison, Maryland and Stony Brook play the Hoyas (schedule below), while the Greyhounds will compete against Temple and Harvard on Sunday.

Friday, Oct. 27

East Carolina at North Carolina, 3:30 p.m.
Rutgers at La Salle, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 28

Georgetown Fall Ball

James Madison at Georgetown, 11 a.m.
Maryland at Georgetown, 1 p.m.
Stony Brook at Georgetown, 3 p.m.


Niagara at Penn State, 2 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 29

Duke Fall Invitational

ECU vs. High Point, 8 a.m.
Davidson vs. ECU, 9 a.m.
Jacksonville vs. High Point, 9 a.m.
Jacksonville vs. Davidson, 10 a.m.
Virginia Tech vs. High Point, 10 a.m.
Richmond at Duke, 10 a.m.
Richmond vs. ECU, 11 a.m.
Virginia Tech vs. Jacksonville, 11 a.m.
Davidson at Duke, 11 a.m.
Richmond vs. High Point, 12 p.m.
Virginia Tech vs. ECU, 12 p.m.
Jacksonville at Duke, 12 p.m.

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