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Women’s Lacrosse: Healthy Powell leads prolific Irish attack

Jack Hefferon | Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coming into this season, Notre Dame was expected to have an explosive, record-breaking offense that could light up the scoreboard and carve through opposing defenses. What no one expected, however, was sophomore attack Lindsay Powell would be the one doing most of the scoring.

Powell currently leads all Irish players with 23 goals and has registered a hat trick or better in six of the team’s seven games. That consistent scoring has come as a result of her exceptional dodging and shooting abilities and has helped lead Notre Dame to an undefeated start and national top-10 ranking.

For Irish coach Christine Halfpenny, Powell’s athleticism has been a revelation this year.

“I think Lindsay brings an incredible ability, athletically, to attack dynamically in a one-on-one situation,” Halfpenny said. “Her zero-to-sixty is incredible. Her first step is awesome, her acceleration is awesome and she has the ability to change the momentum of a game with one shot, because it’s just so pretty to watch.”

Powell’s explosive first step and prolific offense are made even more impressive by the fact she missed her entire freshman season with a knee injury and her recent scoring tear has come in the first action of her college career. While her injury may have taken away the first year of her collegiate career, Powell said it also gave her the drive that has allowed her to finally excel.

“[Recovering from the injury] was really hard, obviously, and it took a lot of hard work, but it feels great to be back,” Powell said. “It taught me that hard work pays off, and that I have to work hard on every play, because you never know how many chances you’re going to get.”

Powell has taken that determination and applied it wherever Halfpenny and the Irish ask. After the team had struggled with winning draws early in the season, Halfpenny moved Powell up to the circle in Sunday’s 13-11 win over Louisville. In a game where she led all scorers with four goals, Powell won five of the team’s nine draw controls as well, including several late in the game to help seal the victory.

“They’ve just recently started putting me up there, but I like it,” Powell said. “Draws are definitely a big part of the game, so we just need someone in there who can get the ball.”

The best gifts are often surprises and part of what made Powell’s performance so special for her coach is she wasn’t prepared for it before she joined Notre Dame this summer. On a team with several marquee upperclassmen, Halfpenny didn’t realize just how much of a weapon Powell was until she was able to watch her in practice.

“Once she came in this fall, I saw how she could get down to the cage, and how coachable she was and how quickly she could make adjustments, and I knew she was going to be a big player for us,” Halfpenny said.

Powell will no longer be able to surprise teams as she slices through defenders and puts up huge numbers, but that doesn’t seem to bother her. With Notre Dame’s versatile offense, she’s said the team should be able to compete for the only two goals that matter: a Big East title and a national championship.

“I’m definitely a one-on-one driver, but I feel really comfortable playing in our offense,” Powell said. “We have a great attacking unit and we work really well together. We have a ton of threats.”

Contact Jack Hefferon at wheffero@nd.edu