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Women’s Lacrosse: Rutgers next for Irish

Jay Fitzpatrick | Friday, April 21, 2006

Notre Dame hopes to rebound from two tough losses to ranked opponents Saturday against Rutgers.

The one-goal losses to No. 1 Duke and No. 3 Georgetown leave the Irish (10-3, 2-1 Big East) still ranked No. 7 – proof of the tough road the Irish have faced this season. The loss against Georgetown moved the Irish to second in the Big East.

Notre Dame wants to turn around this weekend and keep winning in the Big East, where it will face Rutgers (6-6, 1-3) to finish up a five-game road trip that started March 31. The Irish have faced the Scarlet Knights only six times, with Notre Dame holding the overall edge at 4-2. Rutgers won the two teams’ last meeting April 25, 2004 in Piscataway, 7-6.

As always, Irish coach Tracy Coyne has tried to keep the focus for the Irish on themselves, something that has clearly worked thus far this season. The major focal points for Notre Dame in the days leading up to the match up with the Scarlet Knights have been their ability to re-defend once they have lost possession.

Also key in the Irish game plan will be their ability to run a successful fast break, avoiding going into their set attack plans until absolutely necessary.

Sophomore attack Heather Ferguson said the Irish need to focus not only on their tactics and play on the field, but also their mindset off it,

“Coach Coyne has told up to keep our heads up, because there is still the season ahead of us, and we need to get ready to make an impact on the tournament,” Ferguson said. “We need to buckle down and concentrate on the next three games.”

The Irish will also look for senior attack Crysti Foote to be heavily involved in the attack as she has all season – she is second in the nation in points-per-game. Foote’s performance this season has also led to her Tewaaraton Trophy nomination.

The award is given to the nation’s best male and female college lacrosse players, making her only the second Irish player to be nominated.

Freshman attack Jill Byers has played well all season and Notre Dame will look for that to continue this weekend. Byers has already broken Irish freshman records for assists (16) and points (54) and is only one goal away from breaking Courtney Calabrese’s record of 38 goals in a freshman season.

Overall, the Irish feel confident about their contest with the Scarlet Knights, and believe that it will be a good win for the Irish after two of their toughest losses in recent memory.

“We should be very successful if we play our game,” Ferguson said. “We just need to continue playing the way we have and we should come out with a win.”