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Irish visit No. 11 Wildcats

Matt Puglisi | Tuesday, April 20, 2004

They say that the true test of a good team is its ability to respond to adversity.For the first time all season, the No. 2 Irish head into a game on the heels of a loss when Notre Dame (10-1, 3-1 in Big East) travels to Evanston, Ill., to challenge No. 11 Northwestern this afternoon, three days after dropping its first game of the year to No. 5 Georgetown, 9-7.Northwestern enters the contest with an identical 10-1 record and a school record nine-game winning streak.The Irish have beaten the Wildcats in their only two meetings, including a 13-9 decision at Moose Krause Stadium last season.”[Northwestern’s] fast, athletic and they have some people that can score,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said. “We’re playing very well defensively, a lot of good things are happening, and it should be a good game. I just think with the way that the game ended on Saturday, we’re just going to come out completely fired up.”Saturday, the Irish failed to protect a 7-5 second half advantage as Georgetown netted four of the contest’s last five goals to snap Notre Dame’s school record 14-game winning streak and stain its previously perfect 10-0 mark.As has been the case all season, midfielder Meredith Simon captained the Irish attack, registering a pair of goals and an assist.”Every game, she’s just on,” Coyne said. “She’s a total team player, and she recognizes that she’s going to draw one of the opponent’s top defenders, and you have to give the ball up in those situations. But when you’re willing to do that, they can’t just mark her because they know she’s going to pass.”It just shows how well she’s accepting her role on this team and elevating her own play plus those around her.”Attack Mary McGrath picked up a couple of goals and attack Jackie Bowers, midfield Meghan Murphy and midfield/attack Crysti Foote each tallied a goal.After falling behind 3-0 in the game’s first 12 minutes, Coyne called a timeout, and it didn’t take long for the Irish to respond, recording the next four goals to take a 4-3 lead.”After the way the team responded to the timeout, I felt confident about our chances to win,” Coyne said. “Whenever you’re in a game like that, and you’re playing a really competitive team, that’s the kind of game you’re going to have – very intense and back and forth.”While the Hoyas managed to tie the score before the half and grab a quick 5-4 advantage, the Irish scored the next three goals to jump back on top, 7-5, with 20:16 left.But it just wasn’t meant to be for Notre Dame, as Georgetown poured in four of the next five goals, including the clincher with nine seconds remaining.Adding insult to injury, during the course of the game a pair of would-be goals by Meredith Simon were called back due to crease violations, and a controversial intentional out-of-bounds call on the Irish with a minute left erased an opportunity to tie up the contest.”All we wanted to do was get an opportunity to get a shot off and see [what happens],” Coyne said. “It’s disappointing when at the end of the game the official makes a call like that, because the official determines the outcome instead of giving us the chance to run a play and see what we can do.”In any event, the Irish are looking forward to getting back on the field after the heartbreaking loss.”I’m glad that we’re playing right away,” Coyne said. “If we had to sit around and dwell on the loss, I don’t think it would be good for us. It’s one of those losses where there are little things that bug you. We’re happy that we have to get right back into it and play. We’re using it as motivation.”After taking on Northwestern, the Irish come back home to face off against No. 9 Johns Hopkins Friday.