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Women’s Lacrosse: ND comes home to face OSU

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, March 21, 2007

After four straight road games full of adversity, No. 6 Notre Dame will finally return home to the Loftus Center to face Ohio State.

The Irish (5-2) will face the rival Buckeyes (3-1) after playing four matches away from home, with three coming in the snowy northeast.

“We’re so glad to be coming back home after all the problems we had on the road,” Notre Dame coach Tracy Coyne said.

On more than one occasion the Irish had games rescheduled due to inclement weather and had travel issues that forced the team to arrive just before game time. Before the team’s last game at Syracuse, goalie Erin Goodman’s equipment was misplaced, and the sophomore was forced to play the game with borrowed gear.

Over the break the Irish went 2-1, taking crucial games over Canisius and Yale before dropping their Big East opener Sundayto Syracuse.

After falling behind early 4-0 to the Orange, the Irish rallied to cut the halftime deficit to 7-6. Notre Dame tied the game at 13 with just over 10 minutes remaining, but failed to score while yielding three goals in the last stretch of the match.

Irish junior attack Caitlin McKinney tallied four goals and two assists in the loss, and sophomore attack Jillian Byers contributed three goals. Senior attack Megan Murphy also had her strongest offensive performance of the season with three goals.

Syracuse received huge offensive contributions from senior Ashley Pike (five goals) and junior Bridget Looney (four goals.) The Orange outshot the Irish 37-24 for the game.

“After that loss, we’re really trying to control the tempo and get out to a faster start against Ohio State” Coyne said.

The Buckeyes enter the game after a strong defensive performance Sunday against Davidson. Ohio State defeated the Wildcats 8-4 and was in control the entire game.

The Irish will look to slow down Buckeye junior Kristin Slahor, a midfielder who leads the team in assists. Junior attack Jessica Patane leads Ohio State in points and will likely draw the focus of the Notre Dame defense most of the game.

“It’s a rivalry that goes back a long way, and it’s always an important game to us,” Coyne said. “They started their program a year before us, and we’ve played them every year. And I can’t remember a game that hasn’t been competitive.”

The Irish will face off against the Buckeyes in the Loftus Center at 7:45 p.m. today.