ND Women’s Lacrosse
Irish look to bounce back against rival Eagles
Alex Carson | Thursday, March 5, 2015
On the heels of a 17-3 loss to No. 5 Duke on Sunday, No. 16 Notre Dame will return to conference action with a trip to No. 3 Boston College in Newton, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
The Irish (3-2, 0-1 ACC) were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game Sunday — the Blue Devils (6-0, 1-0 ACC) outshot Notre Dame 31-14, held a 24-9 advantage in ground balls and controlled 16 of 22 draws en route to the big victory.
Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny said there was no excuse for the lackluster performance from her team.
“I’m not the first to say it — and I think the players would echo my statement — that it’s absolutely unacceptable to have an outing like that when you’re wearing the Notre Dame jersey,” Halfpenny said. “It’s one thing when you get smacked like that against an opponent that is an absolute class of their own but the reality is that we have enough athletic talent. We had plenty of preparation to the point where it never should’ve had that much disparity.
“Credit to an incredible Duke team though … they’re playing the best ball they have in years.”
All three of Notre Dame’s goals Sunday were scored by sophomore attack/midfielder Cortney Fortunato, who Halfpenny praised as the lone bright spot in the aftermath of the defeat.
“We only got three goals, but they were by one person that decided not to let everyone else’s performances effect her own; not to allow the attitudes that were not ideal on game day to effect her attitude,” Halfpenny said. “She showed us that she’s willing to put the team on her back and that’s exciting.”
While the performance Sunday was not the one the Irish wanted to have to start off a seven-game March slate, Halfpenny said the Irish still have a lot in front of them, but moving forward the upperclassmen leaders need to set a standard for their game performances.
“We’ve had some really positive and constructive conversations with our captains as well as our junior leaders and we’re gonna start there,” Halfpenny said. “It’s time they take a lot of ownership over their game-day efforts.”
As far as the team’s mental state, however, Halfpenny said she thinks the Irish are in a fine spot.
“Training has never been an effort for this team … they train well, they prepare great,” she said.
Saturday’s matchup with the Eagles (4-0, 1-0 ACC) provides Notre Dame a chance to get back on the field right away with another top opponent, and Halfpenny said her team is looking forward to the opportunity.
“We’re excited to get back at it,” Halfpenny said. “[Boston College is] a really solid team. They’ve been building to this point for the last nine years when they entered the ACC.”
She praised the intelligence of the Eagles attack and pointed out a pair of scoring options the Irish will have to contain in order to win.
“They’ve got a very patient and smart offense with multiple scoring threats all over the field,” Halfpenny said. “They’ve got a one-two scoring punch in [senior attack] Covie Stanwick and [senior midfielder] Mikaela Rix.
“We’re going to have to counter that with our smart and patient offense. … We have to get back to that because sometimes we’re doing an amazing job with it.”
After poor performances in the hustle categories Sunday, Halfpenny expressed a desire to improve her team’s ground-ball and draw play.
“The draw is going to be really important,” she said. “We’ve got to get back to [winning] ground balls and draw controls.”
After the trip to Boston College on Saturday at 1 p.m., Notre Dame will visit No. 18 Stony Brook on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before returning home to close out its spring break schedule with an ACC contest against Virginia Tech at noon on March 14.