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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Team upsets rival Syracuse

Luke Mansour | Monday, April 12, 2010

After splitting a pair of close contests on the road at Georgetown and Loyola, the Irish returned home to turn in two of their most complete performances of the year, taking out Villanova Friday and upsetting No. 7 Syracuse Sunday.
Sunday’s match was a rematch of last year’s Big East semifinals.
The Irish (8-4, 4-1) dominated from over Villanova from the outset of Friday’s match. They stormed to an 8-0 lead before the Wildcats could even muster a shot against freshman goalkeeper Ellie Hilling. From there, the rout was on as the Irish clamped down defensively en route to a 16-0 record-making victory. The win was the first shutout in Notre Dame women’s lacrosse history and the first-ever shutout in Big East conference play.
“The Villanova game was just an amazing performance,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said. “It was just a great defensive performance from everybody on our team.”
The Irish received balanced contributions on the offensive side of the ball as well, as 14 players got on the score sheet. Hilling continued her stellar play in the goal, recording eight saves and becoming the first ever Notre Dame goalie to record a shutout.
“Ellie kept coming up with big saves to preserve the shutout,” Coyne said. “We were extremely impressive on defense.”
Senior defensive captain Rachel Guerrera led the strong Irish defensive effort.
“We really knew what we needed to do against Villanova,” Guerrera said. “I think after winning at Loyola we went into Villanova knowing we were on the right track.”
Notre Dame was able to translate their dominating win at Villanova into a signature victory over No. 7 Syracuse.
Just like against Villanova, the Irish defense was on top of its game with Notre Dame claiming a 6-0 lead at halftime.
“Lacrosse is such a high scoring sport, and so the fact that we were able to keep teams scoreless for 90 minutes is truly impressive,” Coyne said.
“We went into Syracuse knowing we weren’t going to be intimidated by them,” Guerrera said. “They’re the kind of team where if you jump on them early they’ll get crushed mentally and that’s what we did.”
Although the Orange answered back with five goals of their own in the second half, their comeback fell short as Notre Dame was able to hold on for a 6-5 victory. The stout Irish defense of Jackie Doherty, Lauren Fenlon, Emily Conner and Kate Newall were especially impressive in holding star Orange midfielder Christina Dove to zero goals.
The Irish now turn their sights to Big East conference opponent Cincinnati. With only three more regular season games remaining, the Irish are confident they are playing their best at the right time.
Their attempt to repeat as conference champions resumes next Saturday when they take on Cincinnati at 3 p.m.