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Women’s Lacrosse: Inconsistency troubles ND team over weekend

Cory Bernard | Sunday, April 10, 2011

Notre Dame returned from its east coast swing this weekend having again shown maddening inconsistency. The Irish (5-7, 2-2) defeated Villanova 15-4 Friday before falling to Syracuse 12-7 Sunday.

Notre Dame began the weekend with a convincing win over a team it was heavily favored to beat. The Irish blanked the Wildcats (4-5, 0-2) 16-0 last season and again dominated the ‘Cats behind sophomore attacker Betsy Mastropieri’s four-goal, five-point game.

On Sunday, the Irish and Orange (5-6, 3-0) started the game on fire, as Notre Dame jumped to an early 3-2 lead. Heading into the second half trailing 8-5, the Irish finished the game committing 11 of their 14 turnovers and scored only twice. Senior attacker Ansley Stewart led Notre Dame with three first-half goals.

According to Irish coach Tracy Coyne, her team’s loss came down to a lack of poise.

“We lacked composure,” she said. “We were trying to execute our offensive sets and just couldn’t get it done. I wanted us to run the fast break out of transition, and then when it was over, hold the ball to get different people in. We weren’t able to get those better shooters in effectively, though.”

The offensive frustration is not a new problem for the Irish this season. Coyne said, as she has in the past, that the rest of the roster needs to meet the intensity level of the team’s leaders.

“It’s unacceptable,” Coyne said of the lack of offensive execution. “We just don’t have enough people stepping up. Our key personnel continue to show up but we don’t have enough people stepping to their level.”

Coyne said that at Notre Dame, teams are expected to achieve a level of excellence. She said her coaching record mirrors those expectations.

“At Notre Dame, there’s an expectation,” she said. “It demands excellence. It’s as hard on [the players] as it is on anyone else. We’re just not in that frame of mind. I, myself, am used to winning. I win, the kids I coach win, my teams win. It’s just what we do.”

Although the Irish have not lived up to pre-season expectations, Coyne said their talent level and desire has never been an issue.

“These kids are talented enough,” Coyne said. “They have great attitudes and they work really hard, it just doesn’t happen for us on game day. I’m not saying it’s not going to be hard, but I still think we can turn this around.”

Coyne said she told her team after the loss to Syracuse she believed they had the ability to right the ship. Coyne also said she expected to be watching plenty of film upon returning to South Bend.

“I told the team after the game, ‘Maybe we can be one of those surprise, get-it-together teams,'” she said. “When we get back I’m going to go back and look at film again with an open mind and try to figure out what’s wrong. I still think the kids have it in them.”