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Women’s Lacrosse: Halfpenny has new season philosophy

Matthew DeFranks | Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Everyone is on the bus — the energy bus, that is.

New Irish coach Christine Halfpenny has not only changed the philosophy of the program already this season, but also has altered the team’s reading list, requiring every player to read The Energy Bus. The book, written by Jon Gordon, was assigned over winter break and preaches positive energy in a team environment.

“You bring the attitude you’re going to bring and you stay focused on what you can control,” Halfpenny said.  “Positive thoughts bring positive outcomes sometimes. We’re just controlling what we can control right now. We’re showing up, trying to be as consistent as we can be, individually and collectively.”

After break finished, Halfpenny said the culture around the team really changed as more and more players bought into the new coach’s teachings.

The Irish displayed the result Sunday when No. 15 Notre Dame opened its season with a convincing 17-14 victory over then-No. 6 Stanford. In the game, senior attacker Maggie Tamasitis notched six assists while sophomore attacker Lindsay Powell scored a career-high five goals.

The Irish (1-0) started out quick, netting 12 goals in the first half alone.

“[A 12-goal first half is] like a coach’s dream,” Halfpenny said. “I think that when our girls stay in the system, we get a lot of openings. I think over half of our goals were assisted. That’s the style game we’re playing and the looks we’re getting are very much team-oriented.”

Notre Dame’s team-oriented approach appeared to be in full effect Sunday, as six different players found the back of the net.

“That just shows that we’re really a dynamic offense that can score in a number of different ways,” Halfpenny said. “[You would] see quick ball movement with an upbeat style. [You would see] a good high-paced tempo with a team-oriented offense. The ball goes through a lot of people’s hands.”

Before leaving William & Mary to come to Notre Dame, Halfpenny’s teams set single-season records for points, goals and draw controls while running her offensive system.

“We are working toward the ultimate goal of flying around a little bit more, overall athleticism, playing on instincts, some of that stuff we certainly saw,” Halfpenny said. “I think there was a little lack of discipline within this high-octane type of style, high tempo we want to see.”

On defense, the Irish have become more aggressive, resulting in 42 fouls in the season-opening win. Halfpenny said the fouls will happen when the defense puts on so much pressure.

“[You would] see a high pressure defense and be like ‘Whoa, I thought this was no contact,'” Halfpenny said.

Halfpenny and the Irish look to continue to grow in the new system when they face Duquesne on Saturday at noon at Arlotta Stadium.

Contact Matthew DeFranks at [email protected]