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Women’s Lacrosse: Hot team gets ready to face No. 1 Wildcats in Evanston

Chris Allen | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Irish coach Tracy Coyne has the No. 11 Irish (5-2) on a roll as they travel to Northwestern on Tuesday to take on the No. 1 Wildcats (7-0) and try to beat the best. Coyne said the team is going to Evanston with only winning on its mind.

“The team is coming off a good and focused practice,” Coyne said. “We’re ready to pull off the upset.”

The Wildcats, who are five-time National Champions in women’s lacrosse, certainly pose a stiff test for an Irish team that is still establishing an identity. Still, Coyne believes her program is at a point where they should expect to win against top competition.

“Look, back when I started the program we took pride in keeping it close and playing 30 minutes of good lacrosse,” Coyne said. “We’re past that point now. We’re past moral victories. We need to compete to win and believe in who we are. I don’t know if we’ve 100 percent gelled yet but our mentality is to show up and be the team we can be.”

If the Irish are to pull off the upset, they will need to account for the many offensive weapons of the Northwestern attack. That attack begins with senior and reigning first-team Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association All-American Katrina Dowd. Dowd has 25 goals in seven games to lead her team this season.

Coyne said she believes her team can match up with the attack led by Dowd and fellow senior Shannon Spencer.

“We’re going to put our people in specific matchups,” Coyne said. “With all deserved respect to them, they are playing some younger players that I feel we can back off of a little bit to focus on some of their key personnel. We’ll need good goaltending, and [freshman goalkeeper Ellie Hilling] will have to rise to the occasion.”

On the whole, Coyne says her team is preparing for a fast game against the Wildcats, who are strong on both sides of the ball.

“They’re known as a team that shoots well,” Coyne said. “They play a relentless, swarming style and double the ball a lot. They just hustle all the time.”

While the game against Northwestern will certainly be a highlight of the upcoming road trip, the Irish are trying to stay fresh for upcoming games against Georgetown and Loyola Maryland.

“We’re just taking it one game at a time, even though I know that’s cliché,” Coyne said. “We’ve got to be able to turn around and be ready for Georgetown.”

The Irish will take the field against the top team in the land in Evanston at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.