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A capital opportunity

Matt Puglisi | Friday, April 16, 2004

A pair of lacrosse giants locks horns Saturday when the red hot No. 2 Irish travel to Washington to challenge rival No. 5 Georgetown (8-2, 4-0 in Big East) at 1 p.m. in a showdown with Big East Championship implications.”[Georgetown’s] obviously very good,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said. “It’s a huge rivalry game. They’re a strong team in every position on the field, and we’re just going to have to go out and play the way we have been.”Several other factors are on the line Saturday, including Notre Dame’s current undefeated 10-0 mark, school record 14-game winning streak stretching back to last season and a prime opportunity for revenge after the Hoyas handed the Irish a 16-15 overtime heartbreaking loss at Moose Krause Stadium last year. Notre Dame was unable to protect a 13-10 lead with 2:22 left, allowing three goals in regulation before ultimately falling in overtime.”We all think we should have won that game last year, and I think that overtime loss last year is definitely motivation,” Coyne said. “All we had to do was get one possession off the draw [to win]. When you break it down to something as simple as one possession, I think people realize that we can [beat Georgetown].”While a glance at the most recent poll might suggest the surging Irish are the favorite come Saturday, the opposite appears to be the case.”If you went down to D.C. and asked who the underdog is, they wouldn’t be saying it’s Georgetown,” Coyne said. “Outside of our team, everyone is looking at it as Georgetown is going to win. We haven’t beaten them yet, so it would be premature to say we’re going in there expecting to be the favorite.”Saturday, Notre Dame put 10 points on the board before host Ohio State (4-7) could find the back of the net as the Irish crushed the Buckeyes 14-6 to improve to a perfect 10-0 on the year.”We’re obviously in a groove right now with how we’re playing, and when we come out and we’re on our game, we’re tough to stop,” Coyne said. “We could just find our spots against their defense with no problem, and I think it gives us confidence going into [the Georgetown game].”Midfield Meredith Simon turned in yet another stellar effort, registering six points on the afternoon (three goals, three assists) in heading an Irish attack that featured four additional multi-goal scorers, including midfield/attack Crysti Foote (three goals, one assist), attack Lauren Fischer (three goals, one assist), defender Kassen Delano (two goals) and midfield Abby Owen (two goals).The Buckeyes finally broke the 10-goal unanswered scoring streak with eight seconds remaining in the first half, yet were unable to mount a comeback effort as the Irish netted three of the next four goals to start the second half, bumping their lead to 13-2 and effectively icing the game.While the showdown in the nation’s capital is easily the biggest of the year for the Irish, Coyne and the Irish aren’t fazed by the significance of the contest and plan to stick with the game plan that has facilitated Notre Dame in jumping 15 spots in the polls this spring.”It’s a Big East game; it’s a huge rivalry; it has all the ingredients you’re looking for in a big game atmosphere,” Coyne said. “But I don’t feel any extra pressure, and we’re approaching this game like we have every other game. “We’ve stayed very focused, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to go out and play a really good opponent.”