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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Notre Dame looks to end slump with ACC road matchup against No. 8 Syracuse

| Friday, March 24, 2017

Looking to get back to winning ways after dropping their last three games, No. 16 Notre Dame faces a difficult task against No. 8 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

The Irish (8-4, 2-1 ACC) won eight consecutive games before spring break, but lost three road games against Princeton, Towson and Virginia in the space of a week, including a 15-5 defeat to the Cavaliers in the last of those contests, their first conference defeat of the season. The Irish will be hoping to avoid a four-game losing streak, something that has not happened to the program since a six-game run of losses to end the 2005 season. Head coach Christine Halfpenny said working on the smaller things should help solve the problems that led to the defeats.

“[We need to work on] the details,” Halfpenny said. “We’ve got to get back to the fundamentals of communication, we’ve got to get back to fundamentals of our movement. I think that we got very complacent in our movement patterns, and that’s everybody we want moving at top speed. I think that one thing always correlates to the next thing. If we’re not communicating and reminding each other of the standards that we expect to play at, everybody can kind of ease up a bit, and I think that’s something that we now know.

A road game against Syracuse (8-2, 2-0) does not look like an ideal situation for snapping a losing streak, as the only two Orange losses this season have been to No. 1 Maryland and No. 3 Florida. The Orange have also won six of the last seven against the Irish, but with the last two games being an overtime Notre Dame win in 2015 and a one-goal Syracuse victory last year, Halfpenny said her team is capable of matching up with the talented Orange.

“They’re a great team,” Halfpenny said. “Our last two regular season meetings have been decided by one goal, and we split those decisions one-and-one. It’s funny, you usually think of home-field advantage, but we got those wins on each other’s turf. So, looking at Syracuse right now, they’re just a quality opponent. We know that they’re looking for an ACC win just like we are.”

The Orange boast perhaps the top draw control specialist in the country in freshman Morgan Widner. Widner has recorded 89 draw controls in her opening 10 games, 12 more than the next highest. As a team, the Orange have won 149 out of 264 draw controls. Syracuse also has eight different players who have scored at least 10 goals this season, led by sophomore attack Nicole Levy with 19 goals as well as 12 assists. Halfpenny said the Orange have strength in a host of different areas.

“They’ve got great speed, they’ve got an aggressive offense and they’ve got great attackers,” Halfpenny said. “They’re very, very strong, they handle the ball very, very well. So, again, we’re going to have to obviously have a great week of practice, which we’re looking forward to, and be prepared for battle with an outstanding opponent. So we’re looking forward to that. I know that we’ll be ready.”

The Irish and the Orange will meet at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Sunday. Opening draw is at noon.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Contact Daniel