Season Recap: ND enters ACC championship off first win of year
Josh Dulany | Friday, May 16, 2014
After its first victory of the season at the Dale England Cup, No. 10 Notre Dame heads to the ACC championships on May 16-17, in order to potentially qualify for the NCAA championships in Indianapolis, from May 30 – June 1. The Irish enter the season’s final stretch riding the momentum of the victory at the Cup, which was hosted by No. 13 Indiana.“The win really helped us gain some confidence,” Irish coach Martin Stone said. “We were coming off a tough couple of weeks where we had faced something like five top-ten teams and Indiana was No. 13, so getting the win just kind of told us, ‘Hey, we’re doing what we’re doing and we just got to keep doing it.’”
Notre Dame’s season has featured competition with six top-ten squads. At the Lake Natoma Invitational in Folsom, Calif., on April 12-13, the Irish finished fifth behind No. 2 California, No. 1 Brown, No. 4 Stanford and No. 8 USC. Following that showing, Notre Dame failed to win a race in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge in Belleville, Mich., against No. 3 Ohio State and No. 9 Michigan.
Despite these struggles, the Irish not only took the win in the Dale England Cup, but they head to the ACC championship with the conference’s fastest varsity eight lineup. The crew of senior coxswain Christina Dines, senior Teresa Rubinger, freshman Hilary Shinnick, junior Anna Kottkamp, junior Ailish Sheehan, junior Erin Boxberger, freshman Molly Bruggeman, senior Courtney Gaberino and sophomore Joanna Mulvey posted the time of 6:17.90 at the Dale England Cup in a race against the Hoosiers.
That varsity eight squad will be one of Notre Dame’s three varsity eight entries at the ACC championships, along with its one varsity four entry. Stone said the Irish will need a strong effort from the entire team to reach their full potential.
“It’s hard to pinpoint one or two team members that stand out because each person brings something different,” Stone said. “Everyone brings something unique on and off the water and we need everyone if we are going to reach the level we want to be at and get the wins we are capable of.”
The Irish are the second-highest ranked team in the ACC, behind No. 5 Virginia, who is also the defending conference champions. Stone said the team’s goals going into the tournament are very clear.
“We want to win,” Stone said. “Obviously that’s what the expectations are. We want to compete hard at the ACCs and qualify for NCAAs. I think we are more than capable. We’ve taken some time to recover, we’ve finalized the teams and now we’ve got to ramp things up and compete.”
The ACC championships get underway at Lake Hartwell in Clemson, S.C., on May 16-17 and will consist of 17 events.. If the Irish qualify for the 22-team NCAA field, they will compete in Indianapolis, Ind., from May 30 to June 1.