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ND WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Notre Dame heads into pivotal weekend

Eric Retter | Friday, April 8, 2005

The Irish have a perfect opportunity to turn around their season as they play host to two opponents this weekend. Notre Dame (3-6) is set to take on No. 2 Duke at 4 o’clock today before squaring off against Stanford Sunday afternoon.

Friday and Sunday’s games mark the second straight weekend of the Irish homestand, as last weekend the team split games, losing to Connecticut, 13-10, before topping Rutgers, 12-9.

Overall, Irish head coach Tracy Coyne was pleased with the way her team performed and said she is looking for them to improve in these upcoming games.

“Even though we lost the UConn game, last weekend was very good,” Coyne said. “One thing we’re focusing on is starting strong, and we started strong again [against Rutgers and Connecticut.”

But Coyne remains anxious to see more consistency from her players.

“We started strong, we finished strong, but we have to stay strong [throughout the game,” she said.

Despite the quality of her team’s opponents, Coyne is confident her team will be ready come game time.

“Duke is a very strong team, they’re solid in every single aspect,” she said. “Last year, we upset them, and we’re looking to give them an equally strong game.”

Notre Dame will be led by junior midfielder/attacker Chrysti Foote, who was recently named co-Big East player of the week for the week ending April 3. The nomination marks the second time Foote has received the award this season, as she was also named player of the week on Feb. 28. Foote currently leads the team in both goals and assists, with 20 goals and nine assists.

Her performance, as well as that of her teammates, should be strong this weekend, as Coyne has definitely noticed home field advantage at work with her team during their recent stretch.

“March was tough, we were on the road so much,” she said. “Being at home, we can focus on our gameplan rather than travel.”

As the games approach, Coyne is aware of the heightened sense of competition that comes with the weekend’s contests.

“As a team, we feel more of a rivalry towards Duke,” she said. “Our rivalry with Stanford is more institutional.”