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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish suffer close defeat

Cory Bernard | Monday, March 28, 2011

No. 17 Notre Dame returns to South Bend on the heels of another agonizing loss. The latest setback came Sunday at the hands of Hofstra in come-from-behind fashion,

Tied at six early in the second frame, a trio of Irish goals — including two just 17 seconds apart from senior captain Shaylyn Blaney — pushed the score to 9-6 in favor of Notre Dame (3-5). The score remained the same for the next 16 minutes of play until the Pride (4-5) began a streak of four unanswered goals to slip by Notre Dame 10-9.

Irish coach Tracy Coyne said the defeat frustrated her team, especially since Notre Dame has become familiar with the pain of a close loss. The Irish have also dropped one-goal decisions to Cornell and Stanford this season.

“This one hurts because we were winning with seven minutes left in the game and we let it slip away,” Coyne said. “That’s disappointing. Going in to halftime with a lead, just like against Cornell last week, and losing is just very disappointing.”

Though different circumstances have toppled the Irish in each of their losses, Coyne said all close games require a certain confidence that her team hasn’t found yet.

“When push comes to shove at the end of the game, you have to want it,” she said. “You have to want the ball. I guess we’re just struggling to find that inner-confidence.”

Offensive inconsistency again plagued the Irish, as they dominated the Pride on draw controls 15-6 and outshot them 27-17, but went the last 20 minutes without a goal. Coyne said she would have liked to see her team be more calculating with their possessions.

“I wanted us to possess,” she said. “We don’t have to always be shooting. It’s just like in football — if the offense goes three and out every time, the defense is going to constantly be on the field. You have to give your defenders a break, and I think we could have handled our possessions better in order to do that.”

With a sub-par start to the season, Coyne said the team has to rely on the example set by senior captains Blaney and Jackie Doherty.

“Shaylyn and Jackie have been outstanding,” Coyne said. “I don’t feel like everyone is matching their intensity. It’s not like the kids don’t want it. I think it just comes down to an execution of the fundamentals. In general we did a lot of things well. On paper we’re better in a lot of areas, we just aren’t getting it done.”

With Big East play beginning on Friday, Coyne said her team hopes to turn its season around during a new season of sorts.

“We had a ton of alumni and parents here for the game and they all said the same things about conference play,” she said. “It’s a whole new ballgame. I feel like we can get a fresh start and a fresh perspective and turn this thing around.”

The Irish return to action on Friday as they host Rutgers at Arlotta Stadium. The game begins at 7 p.m.