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Women’s Lacrosse: Team vies for fifth straight to open year

Jay Fitzpatrick | Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Notre Dame hopes to continue its winning ways today against Lehigh (1-1) at 4:30 pm at the Loftus Sports Center.

The Irish are coming off a 17-15 win against No. 18 Cornell Sunday where three players – Crysti Foote, Mary Carpenter and Caitlin McKinney – scored hat tricks. Foote reached the 100-goal plateau in the process. She now has 108 in her four-year Irish career.

Moreover, the Irish were able to stave off numerous comeback attempts by the Big Red, who stayed close until the end, cutting into numerous Notre Dame leads.

Notre Dame coach Tracy Coyne was proud of her team’s win – the fourth in a row to start the season for a squad that went just 3-12 last year. She noted Cornell had exposed some of the teams’ weaknesses, something she hopes her squad can improve upon today against Lehigh.

“We respect Lehigh,” Coyne said. “We respect them enough to know this will be a good game. There are a lot of specific things we have tried to fix from the last game and we want to see if we have against Lehigh.”

Lehigh’s last contest was an 18-7 drubbing at the hands of Drexel on Friday. The Mountain Hawks have scored only four of their 21 goals in the second half this season, while the Irish have been consistent in both halves, scoring 32 in the first and 35 in the second. Notre Dame should also have an advantage in caused turnovers, averaging over six more caused turnovers per game so far this season.

Notre Dame is led by attack Foote, who was selected as the Big East player of the week for the second consecutive week Tuesday. Coyne called the honor a “well-deserved recognition.”

Foote has 21 goals and 10 assists in the first four games of this season, including five goals in Sunday’s game against Ohio.

Meaghan Fitzpatrick joined Foote on the Big East honor roll for last week because of her strong defensive play last week. The junior defender won seven ground balls and three draw controls while forcing five turnovers in two games.

Despite the accolades for Fitzpatrick and especially for Foote, Coyne still believes this season’s success is something the entire team has earned.

“Everyone has recommitted themselves to the team this season,” Coyne said. “Dedication has gotten us here.”

Coyne said she is especially proud of her team, which has come a long way from last season’s disappointing finish. Despite having relatively few major roster changes, the Irish have shown in their first four games that they are a completely different team, ready to compete at the national level, she said.

“This kind of turnaround doesn’t happen overnight,” Coyne said. “We have been working for this since last spring. We are never going back to being a 3-12 team again.”