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Lacrosse team travels to California

Matt Puglisi | Friday, February 27, 2004

The No. 17 Irish look to start the season on the right foot when they head west to lock horns with a pair of California squads this weekend.After facing the University of California at Berkeley on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., the Irish head some 50 miles south to Stanford to take on the No. 14 Cardinal at noon on Sunday.Due to a number of factors, head coach Tracy Coyne isn’t exactly sure what to expect from the Golden Bears.”We’ve never played them before, and because it’s so early and all their games have been in conference, it’s difficult to get a scouting report,” Coyne said. “I’m expecting them to be pretty good, but in all honestly I’m expecting to win.”The Irish, on the other hand, are more than familiar with the Cardinal. After a number of squandered opportunities led to a 14-13 double overtime heart-breaker against Stanford’s last season, Notre Dame is eager for a little payback.”I definitely think this is one of the games on our schedule that we’re really looking forward to playing,” Coyne said. “We know they’re going to be a good team, and we’re looking forward to [the game]. It’s a revenge type of situation.”In addition to the level of competition, the Irish will be forced to battle the fatigue involved with both playing and traveling. Nevertheless, Coyne believes the team can successfully weather the storm.”We’re going to do the best we can to balance everything out,” Coyne said. “It will be a challenge, but I feel confident in our ability to face that challenge head on and perform well.”Following a 17-9 thrashing of Team Canada in exhibition play on Valentine’s Day, the Irish finished up a short preseason at the prestigious Princeton Invitational last Saturday.The team competed in a unique arrangement that allowed the Irish to compete against defending champion and No. 1 Princeton, No. 7 Dartmouth and No. 9 Ohio State – the Irish sandwiched half-games with the Buckeyes and Tigers around a full-length match with the Big Green.Notre Dame kicked off the Invitational by recording a 10-0 shutout of Ohio State. However, the Irish ran into trouble with the pair of Ivy League squads. Dartmouth held off Notre Dame for a 12-8 victory, and Princeton made short work of the Irish to the tune of a 7-0 shut out. Despite the setbacks, Coyne is content with the squad’s status heading into regular season play. “I’m really pleased with where we are right now,” Coyne said. “It’s early and there’s obviously a lot still to be done, but I’m happy with the progress and the attitudes. It gets monotonous when you’re [training] inside for six weeks, but we got through it, and we’re looking forward to getting started.”