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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Team preps for NCAA tune-up vs. Cornell

Eric Prister | Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notre Dame will look to keep their momentum and a three-game win streak alive when they take on Cornell Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y.

“It’s going to be very tough,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said. “They’re a very good opponent. They’re going to come out on fire and we need to make sure that we don’t come out in … still celebrating the conference championship instead of coming out and being ready to play.”

The No. 11/6 Irish (14-4, 5-2 Big East) are coming off of a 12-10 victory over Georgetown, which won the Big East Championship and earned the team an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which start May 10. The 16-team tournament will pit eight teams, including the Irish, who earned bids from winning their conference tournaments along with eight other at-large bids.

“Instead of sitting around for two weeks waiting for our first playoff game, we’re playing a game to stay fresh and sharp for the NCAA tournament,” Coyne said.

No. 20/19 Cornell (9-6, 3-4 Ivy League) fell in its last game against conference opponent Harvard, dropping to fourth place in the Ivy League.

Coyne said that the defensive play for the Irish was a key throughout the Big East tournament, and throughout the season, and added that she hoped it could continue against Cornell and throughout the NCAA tournament.

“Defensively, we played great in the conference tournament.” Coyne said. “We had our best defensive performance of the year in back to back games. So if we could have the defense come out and play with similar intensity and focus, that would be awesome.”

Leading the Irish defense was senior goalie Erin Goodman, who was named the most outstanding player of the championships, and was also named the Inside Lacrosse player of the week for her performance.

“It’s well deserved recognition for [Goodman],” Coyne said. “She’s very relaxed and confident right now. I don’t think she has to change a thing about the way she’s playing.”

Offensively, the Irish had six different players score at least one goal in the Big East championship game against Georgetown, something that Coyne said she’d like to continue.

“Continuing to have the scoring spread out is going to be one of the keys to victory,” Coyne said.

A win would put Notre Dame at 15-4 overall and give them a chance at a very high seed in the NCAA Championships, which would allow them to play at home throughout the tournament.

The Irish will meet Cornell on Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y. Saturday at noon.