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WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Win over California builds confidence

Eric Retter | Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Going into Tuesday’s game against California, Irish head coach Tracy Coyne wanted to turn things around.

“Our mindset was that we were 1-4, and we wanted to go out and have a good game today and play the way we knew we could play,” Coyne said.

Notre Dame certainly did that against California, topping the Golden Bears 18-8 at the Loftus Sports Complex.

Junior midfielder Crysti Foote led the Irish offensively, scoring four goals and two assists, including the first goal of the game at 3:49 into the contest.

Notre Dame never trailed, jumping out to a 6-1 lead at 18:47 behind two goals by both Foote and freshman midfielder Caitlin McKinney. California cut the lead to three with goals by senior attacker Molly Brady and sophomore midfielder Laura Cavallo.

However, two goals by junior midfielder Brittany Fox within two minutes and a goal by junior defense player Lena Zentgraf at 27:06 gave the Irish a 9-3 cushion going into halftime.

After halftime, California found itself in a rhythm, scoring four goals inside the first 10 minutes of the half while shutting out the Irish in that span, cutting the lead to 9-7 with goals from sophomore attacker Liz Reifsnyder, Brady, sophomore midfielder Jocelyn Paul and Cavallo. Reifsnyder, Cavallo and Brady each finished the game with two goals, tying for the team lead.

“They made a little bit of a run in the second half, but I think we were able to shut that down. The team responded to that,” Coyne said.

The Irish shut down the Golden Bears hot streak, holding California scoreless for the next 18:41 while going on an 8-0 run of their own in that period to put the game out of reach. Foote got the Irish going again, scoring her third goal 11:38 into the period to kick start the Irish offense.

“With Crysti stepping up and scoring, that answer gave everybody else confidence, and then they [California] only scored one after that,” Coyne said.

Ten seconds later, freshman midfielder Heather Ferguson, who finished with two goals, scored again for Notre Dame, getting the assist from senior attacker Jackie Bowers before beating sophomore California goalkeeper Hilary Lynch to give Notre Dame the 11-7 lead.

For the rest of the game, the Irish never gave Lynch a moment’s rest, peppering her with shots and scoring goals. The goalkeeper finished the game with 18 goals compared to only six saves.

The Irish put the game away in the last 11 minutes, scoring four goals in two minutes to make the score 16-7 with 9:14 to play.

After the game, Coyne was especially pleased with the offensive pressure.

“I think defensively the last couple games we’ve played well enough to win. The attack as a unit today, I was very happy with their play together,” she said. “We had some assisted goals, we had some good individual, 1-on-1 goals, and I just liked the creativity and the different choices and decisions that we made.”

Coyne is confident that her team can play like they did Tuesday consistently, and hopes the big victory will snap the Irish out of their early-season funk.

“It’s obviously a good feeling to finally put a total game together,” she said. “We put up a lot of goals.”