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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Irish look to protect win streak

Eric Prister | Friday, March 27, 2009

No. 9 Notre Dame looks to continue its seven-game win streak and improve on its 8-1 record as the Irish host two Big East opponents, No. 6 Georgetown Friday and No. 13 Loyola Sunday.

The Irish come into the weekend with a 1-0 conference record after an 18-9 win over Rutgers on March 17. The team currently leads the Big East along with Syracuse.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the Big East, so we’re taking both the games really seriously,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said. “We’re very excited and motivated to have the opportunity to play two of the best teams in the conference this weekend.”

The Hoyas, who knocked Notre Dame out of the Big East tournament last year, come into their first Big East game of the season with a 5-3 overall record. The Hoyas are battle-tested, though, having played the top three teams in the country so far this season, including a victory over No. 3 Duke last week.

Loyola will also be playing its first two Big East games this weekend, with its first against Rutgers Friday before taking on the Irish Sunday. The Greyhounds are going into the weekend with a 7-1 overall record. Notre Dame and Loyola have played three times since Loyola joined the Big East in 2006, with the Irish winning all three meetings.

Despite the difficulty in preparing for two opponents in one weekend, Coyne does not see it as a problem.

“Earlier in the season we played Northwestern and Ohio State on the same weekend so it was a good opportunity for us to have the quick turnaround and have to refocus on your second opponent,” she said. “I think we’re in a good place with preparation.”

Leading the Irish offensively is junior attack Gina Scioscia, who was named Big East offensive player of the week Monday for her performance in the Rutgers game. She recorded four goals and 10 assists in the victory. Scioscia leads the team in assists with 20 and in points with 44.

“I’m psyched for Gina that she got [Big East player of the week],” Coyne said. “It’s great recognition, and I think Gina’s having a fabulous season.”

Defensively, the Irish are led by senior captain Shannon Burke. Burke was named to the preseason All-Big East team, and was put on last week’s Big East honor roll.

“I think [Burke] should have gotten Big East defender of the week,” Coyne said.

Friday’s matchup with Georgetown will begin at 8 p.m. in the Loftus Sports Center, and the Loyola game has a 1 p.m. start time on Sunday, also at Loftus.