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Women’s Lacrosse: ND opens conference schedule

Chris Allen | Friday, March 26, 2010

The No. 11 Irish will look to rebound from a disappointing 10-9 loss to Vanderbilt as they open up the Big East portion of their schedule against Louisville.

Irish coach Tracy Coyne said the loss against Vanderbilt was particularly upsetting because of the unforced errors in the last 10 minutes, something the Irish (4-2) will look to correct.

“There were just a lot of unforced errors,” Coyne said. “People are turning the ball over unnecessarily. It’s just really frustrating.”

The Irish will begin the Big East schedule with Louisville and need to play with even more urgency in conference play. The conference is filled with ranked teams, including Georgetown, Syracuse, Loyola (MD) and Rutgers, in addition to the Irish. Coyne stressed the importance of getting off to a good start in the Big East.

“This is a huge game for us,” Coyne said. “We need to ensure that we bounce back from Vanderbilt and have a good game here.”

Louisville, which began conference play in lacrosse in 2009, received votes in the latest coaches poll and, like the Irish, carry a 4-2 record into the contest. The Cardinals also lost to Vanderbilt, 20-13, in their last game.

“They’re still up and coming because they’re a relatively new program,” Coyne said. “They continue to evolve from year to year, and they’ll be a much different team from the one we saw last year. I think we match up really well with them. We can definitely attack their defense.”

The Cardinals are led by junior attack and preseason all-Big East selection Bergan Foley, who has notched 27 goals on the year in just six games. The Cardinals defense is centered around freshman goalie Danielle Pawliw who boasts a .439 save percentage coming into the game. Notre Dame’s own freshman goalie, Ellie Hilling, has been steadily developing into a star, earning the Big East Defensive Player of the Week award for the week ending on March 22. Coyne said she is pleased with her defense, and believes that the team can keep winning if they sustain a strong effort for a full 60 minutes.

“If we come out and play like we did against Vanderbilt in the opening minutes we’ll be fine,” Coyne said. “We’re still proving who we are as a team, and I haven’t lost my confidence in our ability to win. We just have to put together a complete effort.”

Notre Dame will face off against Louisville Saturday at 3 p.m. as the Irish look to get their first win at the new Arlotta Stadium.