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Women’s Lacrosse: Halfpenny, Irish off to Horseshoe

Matthew DeFranks | Thursday, March 1, 2012

The last time a Notre Dame team played in Ohio Stadium, it was the men’s lacrosse team in 2009. This Sunday, the No. 14 Irish will become the next team to face off with Ohio State in the famed stadium.

Ohio Stadium, the 102,329-seat home of the Buckeye football team, will host its fourth women’s lacrosse game of the year


“Whenever you get an opportunity to play in a venue that could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in, it’s neat,” Irish coach Christine Halfpenny said. “It’s something else that just adds to the experience of this rivalry.”

The Irish (2-0) are 9-7 all-time against the No. 10 Buckeyes despite dropping a 13-8 decision last season.

Last week, Notre Dame dropped Duquesne 17-7 by ripping off nine unanswered goals after trailing early.

“It was an interesting feeling out there [in the first half],” Halfpenny said. “A little sense of frustration was setting in on offense but in reality, we were getting all the looks we wanted. Once we stepped in and got a little bit of a better angle, we were able to get back to feeling good about ourselves.”

Sophomore attack Lindsay Powell, sophomore midfielder Margaret Smith and junior attack Betsy Mastropieri all tallied three goals in the victory.

“Being down in the first 10 minutes is completely different than being down in the final 10 [minutes],” Halfpenny said. “Our girls stayed very poised and they made the adjustments they had to so our shots would fall.”

The Buckeyes (5-0) are very similar to the Irish from several statistical standpoints. Both teams average at least 17 goals per game and both squads shoot over 50 percent.

“They’re a very athletic team, aggressive,” Halfpenny said. “On paper, we match up really nicely. They have a number of different scoring threats. You almost look at it and go ‘Wow, that sounds like us.'”

Halfpenny also likened Ohio State senior attack Alayna Markwordt to Irish senior attack Maggie Tamasitis, the catalyst for Notre Dame. Markwordt, the nation’s leading scorer, has scored 13 goals and assisted on 15 more this year. Last season, she notched 52 goals and 27 assists.

“She’s been a huge contributor for them over the course of her career,” Halfpenny said. “Is it how you stop her or is it how you limit her? The beauty is that we have to play against Maggie every day and she gives us that look as a righty.”

Halfpenny said she is not concerned the Buckeyes have played three more games than the Irish and foresees a close contest in Columbus, Ohio.

“We’re looking forward to a really evenly matched game,” Halfpenny said. “Their style is similar to what we do. We’re expecting a fast, aggressive, confident team. We’re excited for the challenge.”

The top-15 clash between the Irish and Ohio State starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.