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Women’s Lacrosse: Laxers enter home stretch

Jay Fitzpatrick | Friday, March 24, 2006

With the season half over, No. 10 Notre Dame (7-1) hopes to stay successful against Canisius (5-3) at home Saturday.

The team played the biggest game of the season over spring break, a 21-12 loss to unanimous No. 1 Northwestern (6-0). Although the Irish lost the game by a wide margin, they still showed promise against a strong team, holding a 9-8 lead going into halftime. But poor performances in the second half – in which the Wildcats outscored Notre Dame 13-3 – cost the game for the Irish.

Irish coach Tracy Coyne said that after watching game film, the poor performances that hurt Notre Dame the most were squandered second-half scoring opportunities.

“The game film showed the players what they could have done in the second half,” Coyne said. “They saw that there are a lot of opportunities they didn’t take because they didn’t know they were there.”

So far this week, the Irish have been focused on fixing these mistakes in vision on the field – not on Canisius, their upcoming opponent.

Starting defenseman Meaghan Fitzpatrick said Coyne has kept practices related to mistakes from previous games and has tried to fix as many mental and physical errors as possible.

“Northwestern left us a lot of things to work on,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach Coyne has worked on tackling all of those things all over the field – defense, midfield, different kinds of attack – to help us improve from last game.”

This theory of practice has worked well so far this season, leading the Irish to a top ranking in the Big East and a No. 17 ranking in the NCAA. Coyne’s focus on her team has also helped them gain confidence.

“Focusing on ourselves has been a very important aspect of our success this season,” Fitzpatrick said. “We would mess things up that we might not have messed up otherwise if we focus too much on what the other team is going to do and not enough on what we need to do.”

But as much as Coyne and the Irish would like to stay focused on their own team, the Canisius game looms Saturday as the first test for Notre Dame after its only loss this season.

“It’s very important to play really well in this game after a disappointing loss [to Northwestern],” Fitzpatrick said. “Hopefully, we can rebound in the best possible way with a win.”

And Coyne has even bigger plans for this season, including a trip deep into the postseason.

“We are halfway through the season at this point and have fifteen good halves in eight games,” she said. “We are moving forward – hopefully to the NCAA tournament.”