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Women’s Lacrosse: Hilling performing nicely after being thrust into starting role

Chris Allen | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When freshman goalkeeper Ellie Hilling committed to play for the Irish, she expected she’d have to fight for early playing time. But Hilling was thrust into the spotlight early in the season when a pair of goalkeepers left the team, leaving Hilling as the only netminder on the roster.

The shakeup didn’t faze the confident freshman.

“I’m really competitive and I started all four years in high school because I was the only goalie on the team,” Hilling said. “So I wasn’t really sure how it would work out because there was a senior and another freshman who I was really close with. I was just planning on competing and working hard. Then the other two goalies quit, and I was the only goalie, so it kind of worked out.”

Hilling has shown flashes of brilliance early in the season, but she said there have been some challenges as she attempts to learn the college game on the fly.

“I’m comfortable with the team and the coaches but playing-wise it was really tough coming out because it’s so different than high school,” Hilling said. “The game is way faster, the girls are faster, the shots are faster. It’s like an entire different sport.”

Although the No. 15 Irish are off to a 4-1 start, Hilling said the Irish need to improve significantly to reach their goals this season. And even though she’s only a freshman, Hilling said that includes her own individual play as well.

“We can do a lot better, and I can do a lot better than I’ve been doing,” Hilling said. “I’ve been really inconsistent early on, so I’m hoping that I can get back into things and start being consistent. I definitely think I haven’t played the best that I can. I’m hoping that as the season goes along I can really keep improving.”

Hilling’s development will continue in Arlotta Stadium, Notre Dame’s brand new home. Hilling said the facilties were the main draw in getting her to play at Notre Dame.

“The athletic facilities here are amazing,” Hilling said. “Just the fact that the first season for this stadium is my freshman season is so cool, and it’s a huge reason I’m here.”

Hilling and the Irish will return to Arlotta Stadium Wednesday for a 2:30 p.m. game against Vanderbilt.