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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish finish preseason, look to open season

Matthew DeFranks | Sunday, February 12, 2012

The No. 20 Irish finished their preseason with a pair of away exhibition games against Johns Hopkins and Virginia Tech over the weekend.

Senior attack Maggie Tamasitis orchestrated the Irish offense in both games, working from behind the net in most instances. Tamasitis — along with fellow seniors Megan Sullivan and Jordy Shoemaker — was named a captain for the Irish this season. Last season, Tamasitis notched 46 assists while also chipping in 21 goals for a team-high 67 points.

“I think that [the girls] have been really open to the new style we’re implementing,” Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said last Wednesday. “The transformation has been a daily transformation. It’s been really exciting to see them understand that our change won’t be an endpoint. It’s going to be a constant work in progress.”

While the Irish lost All-Americans Shaylyn Blaney and Jackie Doherty to graduation, they return a solid core of talent. Sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Brosco leads the midfield. As a freshman, Brosco scored 32 goals and tallied eight assists.

Junior midfielder Jenny Granger will also be back for the Irish after scoring 26 goals and dishing out 12 assists last season. Notre Dame returns three of its top four leading scorers from last year in Tamasitis, Brosco and Granger.

“We continue to move forward,” Halfpenny said. “Some days we’re like a locomotive moving at light speed. We had an intrasquad scrimmage the other day and I was pleasantly surprised with where we were at.”

On defense, the Irish will have huge holes to fill after the departure of Doherty and former defender Lauren Fenlon. Doherty and Blaney combined for 85 of Notre Dame’s 188 caused turnovers while Fenlon was crucial to the defense’s communication.

“We lost a lot to graduation,” Halfpenny said. “This year’s team is brand new. These kids are really talented. I have a number of talented players that have just continued to develop right now.”

Junior goalkeeper Ellie Hilling will assume the starting goalie position after starting in all 19 contests last year. She posted a 9.67 goals against average and a .423 save percentage.

The Irish will officially open their season Feb. 19 with a home date against Stanford.

Contact Matthew DeFranks at mdefrank@nd.edu