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Women’s Lacrosse: Newall uses experience from across the pond to excel

Cory Bernard | Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Unlike the rest of her classmates on the lacrosse team, junior Kate Newall took quite a while to decide to play for Notre Dame. Her decision hinged more on geography than anything else.

Once the midfielder from Middlesex, England, finally set foot on campus for an unofficial visit, her choice became clear. Echoing the sentiments of many an Irish athletic recruit, she says she found Notre Dame irresistible.

“I just fell in love with the place,” Newall said. “There was nothing to compare it to back home.”

According to Newall, the coaches understood her situation and remained patient throughout her difficult recruiting process.

“It took a lot of decision-making,” she said. “I had applied to a lot of schools in England so going to school overseas wasn’t really an option for me at the time. The coaches were really supportive of the fact that it was a tough decision for me. They really let me take my time and I’m very grateful for that.”

Newall faced the Irish in the spring of 2007 while on England’s Under-19 squad. Notre Dame’s defensive coaches liked her competitiveness and decided to offer her a scholarship. Eventually, Newall said, the coaches encouraged her to come for a visit, since the rest of her class had committed. Newall has no doubt she made the right choice.

“The coaches asked me to come on an unofficial visit, so I went with my dad in February,” she said. “I had plans to play lacrosse had I stayed in England for school. It’s different though, they don’t offer scholarships and the competition is nothing like it is here. The facilities, the players, the number of teams, it’s just on a different level.”

Newall says in addition to adjusting to the higher level of competition, she needed to adjust to the difference in games. Women’s lacrosse in America differs in style from English lacrosse. Newall says she enjoys the American game.

“The game is played really fast paced, and it’s a more skill-based game,” she said of lacrosse in the U.S. “There’s a lot more focus on stick work. It took some time to adjust, but I really enjoy the style of play.”

Luckily, Newall could rely on her wealth of experience playing a sport that enjoys much popularity in private schools in England.

“I’ve been playing lacrosse since I was 11 years old,” Newall said. “It’s really big in boarding schools, and I went to an all-girls boarding school.”

Newall has used her experience to work her way into the Irish regular rotation, starting all four games for Notre Dame (2-2) while scooping up two ground balls. The team will be back in action Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. in their season debut at Arlotta Stadium versus Ohio State.