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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Coyne hopes for a rebound

Matt Puglisi | Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Notre Dame is looking to rebound from a brutal spring break road trip. The Irish (1-4) dropped three consecutive games to Cornell, No. 16 Vanderbilt and James Madison and fell out of the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA) national rankings for the first time since late April of 2001. The team returns to action this afternoon when they host California for a 4:30 p.m. matchup.

After playing four of their first five contests on the road, coach Tracy Coyne and the Irish expect the friendly confines of Moose Krause Field – the team was 6-1 at home last year – to assist them in rebounding from an unexpectedly slow start to the 2005 season.

“[Including California], seven of our next ten games are at home,” Coyne said. “I’m hoping that being at home is going to help us build some momentum moving forward.”

Although the visiting Golden Bears (4-3) don’t have the same program history as some of the Eastern squads Notre Dame will lock horns with later this season, Coyne expects California to give the Irish a challenge.

“[The Bears are] very athletic and really fast,” Coyne said. “They’re definitely a newer program, but they’re starting to develop some momentum from a recruiting standpoint so they’re getting better players.”

California enters today’s contest on the heels of an 18-6 throttling to No. 2 Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. Sunday. The Wildcats knocked off the Irish 18-11 at Loftus when the two met March 3. Beginning with an 11-8 loss to Columbia in Ithica, N.Y. March 6, the Notre Dame spring break road started off on a sour note and only got worse in the following week.

Three days later, the Irish lost the second of their three spring break games in a 10-9 overtime heartbreaker to Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

The overall Irish losing streak reached four March 13 when host James Madison jumped out to an 8-2 lead – in all three spring break contests the Irish found themselves trailing early – and never looked back in a 10-5 thumping of Notre Dame in Harrisonburg, Va.

While Coyne was surprised with the results of the annual trip, she still believes that the Irish will eventually be able to right the ship.

“I didn’t expect what happened over spring break, but I still have confidence” Coyne said. “There’s always positives – things the team is doing well that we can build on.”

“We just need to get both [offense and defense] on the field working well together. We need to play our game – how we want to control the tempo or how we want to run our attack or what we want to dictate on defense. Once those different things come together, I think we’re going to be fine.”

Although the 1-4 start is disappointing, the Irish realize the season is far from over. With all five Big East conference games yet to be played, Notre Dame still has a chance to make some noise, both in the Big East and nationally, come season’s end.

“That’s another thing – we haven’t played any games in the Big East yet,” Coyne said. “If we win the Big East, that would be a huge accomplishment because that’s never been done before [by a Notre Dame team].”

After battling California this afternoon, the Irish travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. Saturday for their first conference tilt against Boston College before returning home for three consecutive games to begin April.