The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Women’s Lacrosse: Irish fall to powerful Wildcats

Cory Bernard | Monday, February 21, 2011

Notre Dame fell to 1-2 on the season with its second straight loss to a nationally ranked opponent on Saturday. No. 2 Northwestern defeated the No. 10 Irish 14-11 in the Loftus Center behind three goals from sophomore Erin Fitzgerald and nine saves from junior goalkeeper Brianne LoManto, as the Wildcats continued to torment the Irish after knocking them out of the NCAA tournament last season.

Junior attack Maggie Tamasitis paced the Irish offense with five points and four assists, matching career highs. Her day was not enough to overcome Northwestern’s 22-5 advantage on draws, which allowed the Wildcats to dominate possession the entire game. Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne was frustrated with the loss but could not fault her team’s effort.

“We’re not playing for moral victories,” she said. “I’m proud of the way they played and competed. There were plenty of key plays that we wished we had made. We had chances.”

Although the Irish did have chances, the long stretches spent defending the Northwestern attack may have contributed to Notre Dame squandering some of its early opportunities for goals.

“A couple of the early possessions we rushed,” Coyne said. “Once we settled down and started finding the open player that gave us confidence.”

Another source of confidence for the Irish was the home crowd, a group that numbered over 700 and whose cheers were enhanced by the indoor setting.

“I thought [the game] had a good atmosphere, the noise was great,” Coyne said. “We had a good turnout for an early game.”

The Wildcats now lead the all-time series between the two schools 11-2, including 11 straight dating back to 2004. However, Coyne said the game was competitive and could have gone either way, and that her players were not thinking of the streak on Saturday.

“This is the best we’ve played them since 2004,” she said. “They called a timeout late, you could tell they were still worried we could come back and win the game. Truthfully, we don’t care about anything other than stepping on the field and competing with them.”

Despite boasting a losing record, Coyne said she doesn’t worry about her squad’s direction.

“The girls are ready to put the losing streak behind them,” she said. “They left the locker room (after the game) on Saturday motivated. They have the mentality, heart and attitude of a champion. Those are intangibles. I told them if they didn’t have the right attitude this would be a much tougher hill to climb, but they want to win.”

Notre Dame takes this confidence on the road for its next game, a matchup against Duquesne in Pittsburgh on Saturday.