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Women’s Lacrosse: Squad set to square off with competitive Georgetown team

Joseph Monardo | Friday, April 20, 2012

With the Big East tournament a mere two weeks away, No. 6 Notre Dame will head to the nation’s capital to face off with conference foe No. 14 Georgetown.

The matchup between the Irish (11-2, 4-2 Big East) and the Hoyas (8-5, 4-2) has been highly competitive in recent years, as four of the past six contests have been decided by two goals or less. In those six meetings, the teams have split the results, with three wins apiece.

“This has been a battle back and forth, depending on the year, between Georgetown and Notre Dame,” Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said.

This year’s contest is especially significant for both teams, as they are currently in a three-way tie with Rutgers for third place in the Big East. For the Irish, the chance to improve their seeding for the conference tournament is at the front of their minds, Halfpenny said.

“At this point, we are 4-2 in a three-way tie right now, and Georgetown in one of those teams,” she said. “To get that head-to-head, that just solidifies our future, and really we just want to be in charge of our own destiny.”

The Hoyas pose a significant challenge though, as they enter the game with a pair of wins over top-10 teams this season, including a 9-8 home win over then-No. 2 North Carolina on March 17.

“[This] is going to be a game that probably everybody circles on their calendar at the beginning of the season,” Halfpenny said. “They are the only team that has knocked off Carolina this year, they have some very athletic strategies, they run a great ride and they are going to be just as hungry [as we are].”

Heading into its matchup with Notre Dame, Georgetown has won four of its last five games, with the only loss coming in a 22-11 thrashing by No. 2 Syracuse. Even taking that loss into account, the Hoyas are averaging 18.0 goals per game over their past five contests.

“I think our defense is going to really have to hold down one-on-ones and mark our cutters,” Halfpenny said. “It is going to be important that our defense [gets] on our matchups.”

The Irish enter the game hot off three straight wins, the most recent, a 12-11 victory over nonconference opponent Vanderbilt on Wednesday. On Saturday, Notre Dame will aim to duplicate the defensive intensity it brought against the Commodores (7-7, 1-4 ALC).

“I think that the extra effort [our defense] gave [against Vanderbilt] was something we haven’t seen in a while,” Halfpenny said. “We knew against Vanderbilt that that was going to be important, so coming off of Vanderbilt and going into Georgetown, like I said, they have a similar style of one-versus-ones that also kind of dish right into the feeding game that they have … [We are] going to be really aggressive like we did with Vanderbilt.”

As the Irish try to get an important conference win on the road, the team finds some comfort in the familiar location, Halfpenny said.

“The beauty is … it will feel a little bit like home-cooking. We are going back to the East Coast, where a lot of our girls are from,” Halfpenny said. “So we are excited about that, because we should have a great fan base as well.”

With only games against Northwestern and Cincinnati remaining in the regular season, the Irish will attempt to jump into sole possession of third place in the Big East with a win against Georgetown. The game commences at 2:30 p.m. in Washington on Saturday.

 

Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu