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Women’s Lacrosse: ND faces streaking ‘Cuse

Alex Wilcox | Friday, April 19, 2013

 

Vince Lombardi once proclaimed, “It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up.” 

After suffering their first loss of the season on Apr. 12 against No. 13/16 Loyola, Notre Dame got back up with a close win over No. 8/8 Georgetown. 

Next up for the Irish is a Friday night showdown with a No. 5/5 Syracuse team on a five-game winning streak. The Orange are dynamic on both sides of the field, and Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said this game will be anything but easy.

“Syracuse has earned top billing in our sport right now,” Halfpenny said. “They have a number of threats on offense. They’re fast, very dynamic and recently they have been playing phenomenal defense. We need to execute a strong game-plan if we want to have a shot.”

After their tilt with Syracuse, the Irish will continue their road trip to Connecticut where they will face the No.19 Huskies, who have also won five straight, including three overtime games. An 11-1 record will earn you praise, and Halfpenny had plenty to dish on the Huskies.

“They’ve had a lot of success and are a confident group,” Halfpenny said. “We’re going against two very athletic teams that have a lot of belief in what they’re doing. It’s another huge Big East weekend for us that we are heavily relying on to pick up some wins and keep the momentum rolling.”

In order to get those wins, Halfpenny said her squad has to tighten up its game.

“You never want to learn from a loss, but we learned unforced errors may have cost us [against Loyola],” Halfpenny said. “Smart possessions are key. Draw controls are going to be huge, we need to get the draw and turn them into possessions on offense. We’re going to focus on slowing Syracuse down; they’re a team that creates momentum on fast paced goals, so we have to tighten up our game. Defensively we have to not give up too many eight meter fouls, and have to play fundamental, strong defense.”

Both of these games will be away from the comforts of Arlotta Stadium, but while the visiting team is usually at a disadvantage, the Irish have yet to lose a game on the road in five contests. However, Notre Dame has never won a game in the Carrier Dome in seven attempts, and Connecticut currently boasts an undefeated home record at 5-0. Despite these discouraging statistics, Halfpenny likes her odds when the team hits the road.

“We’re just really good travelers, and we have embraced this process of going on the road,” Halfpenny said. “Whether it’s breaking out in song on the bus ride to Chicago, something silly happening in the airport, or traveling together, we really get to know each other better, and I think that’s helped us play on the road. We get to put away all distractions and focus all our energy on us, put all our energy on lacrosse, and we’re looking forward to keeping that going. We’re all committed to our routines and to each other, and we’re just excited to hit the road again.”

Halfpenny attributed the teams’ success on the road to the team’s dynamic and the chemistry between the girls.

“We’ve had such a nice evolution of growing and finding chemistry which is so important coming into the end of the season,” Halfpenny said. “The flavor the sophomores are bringing and the energy of the freshmen combines with the leadership of our upperclassmen. We feel very strongly about our chances.”

With a win in either of this weekend’s games, the Irish will lock up their seventh consecutive spot in the Big East championship. They have qualified every year since the inception of the tournament in 2007, with their best performance coming in 2009, when they won the conference crown.

Notre Dame will face Syracuse at the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m. Friday night and will then travel to the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex to take on Connecticut on Sunday at noon.

Contact Alex Wilcox at awilcox1@nd.edu