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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Notre Dame to play Blue Hens

Joe Meixell | Thursday, March 13, 2008

Notre Dame returns home from a spring break road trip in California where Irish coach Tracy Coyne said the Irish approached the games as though they were on vacation, and was disappointed in their mental preparation.

The No. 12 Irish went 1-2 on the trip, beating California and losing to Stanford and Oregon.

“We didn’t give Stanford the respect that they deserved, which resulted in a lackluster performance,” Coyne said.

Coyne said she hopes to see the team improve mentally, an important aspect she said her team was lacking in California.

“We had costly mistakes that were pretty much self-imposed,” she said. “It was more of our own mental errors that led to the loss.”

Given last week’s performance, it is easy to forget how talented this team can be. Jillian Byers leads the Irish with 30 goals this season. In addition to Byers’ top performance, six other Notre Dame players have earned 10 or more points on the season – senior midfielder/attack Caitlin McKinney and freshman midfielder/attack Shaylyn Blaney, have each scored over 10 goals this season. The Irish also recorded a school record 22 goals in their season opening win over Canisius. Coyne said her team’s performance is a matter of everything coming together at once.

“I think we are a very good team. When we are on our game, I think we are very difficult to beat,” Coyne said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and implementing the gameplan.”

So far, the team’s greatest strength has been its offense. The Irish are currently averaging 15.33 goals per game, second in the Big East.

“I think that we have multiple people that can score,” Coyne said. “We have good team speed and I think we can move the ball well.”

The Irish kick off their three-game stand on Thursday against the Delaware Blue Hens. Delaware comes in with a 3-1 record, riding a two-game win streak. Coyne expects a very scrappy, physical game from the Blue Hens. But when asked what would make her happy with the homestand, Coyne was frank.

“I’d like to go undefeated on the homestand,” she said.

The Irish face the Blue Hens at 3 p.m. today.