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ND Women’s Lacrosse

Women’s Lacrosse looks to begin season with matchup of Marquette

| Friday, February 7, 2020

The women’s lacrosse team will kick off their season this Sunday at home against the Marquette Golden Eagles. The Irish come into the season ranked No. 7 in the country, and there is a lot of anticipation for the season ahead.

Head coach Christine Halfpenny said she is pleased with her team’s performance in the preseason.

“We feel really prepared,” Halfpenny said. “We are coming off of a strong preseason where we were able to progress everyday, and our main focus was to get better at one thing at a time.”

Halfpenny also said she was impressed with the effort shown by her team in their exhibition game against Michigan two weeks ago.

“I liked our team’s hustle and how gritty we were,” she said. “I liked the pressure that we were applying all over the field … not just on defense but also on our transition game.”

The team also showed promise from the draw and on offense.

“I think the competitiveness that we bring to the draw circle and then the aggressive play that we were showing on offense was really great,” Halfpenny said.

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish senior midfielder Savannah Buchanan looks to evade a defender during Notre Dame’s 9-7 win over North Carolina on Mar. 31, 2019.

Halfpenny also said lots of young players got valuable playing time in the exhibition game.

“We were able to show off our depth of players and utilize quite a few players,” she said. “We are feeling pretty good about continuing that look and identity for Notre Dame where we have a deep bench that we can go to.”

Despite some positive signs from the exhibition game, there is plenty the Irish have had to work on over the last two weeks. Communication was one aspect that Halfpenny said she felt her team could improve going forward.

“We recognized that we weren’t quite where we wanted to be two weeks ago in terms of our very specific communication both offensively, defensively and all over the field,” she said. “It was great to be able to get back to the drawing board with that.”

In the exhibition, Halfpenny said the Irish were a bit sloppy with the ball at times, as well — something they have kept in mind during recent practices.

“We tightened up our ball handling the last two weeks, and we tightened up our finishing and our shooting,” she said. “We wanted to up our scoring percentage from what we are doing, and we are looking to improve that everyday.”

Halfpenny said she expects Marquette to be an interesting opponent.

“We don’t really know much about Marquette,” Halfpenny said. “We don’t know much except that they did graduate two of their leading scorers from last year. One of their leading scorers was also a key contributor on the draw, so we know that they are going to have some new faces.”

Even so, she expects Marquette to be very competitive against her team.

“We know they’re competitive. We know they’re gritty and that they’re hard workers,” Halfpenny said. “We also know that they are a little bit younger than they have been in the last couple of years. Other than that, we are excited about the blank slate.”

Aside from securing the first win of the season Sunday, Halfpenny said she hopes her team will have the upper hand in certain categories such as the possession battle.

“Our goal will be to win the ground balls and the draw control,” Halfpenny said. “Getting extra possessions on shots that don’t make it to the back of the net and being able to continue and contest for a second chance opportunity will be really important.”

Halfpenny also said she is hopeful her team’s communication can continue to grow from the exhibition game against Michigan.

“We want to take the next step forward and see our communication build and allow our team to take the next step forward in bringing that aggressive style that we want to be known for,” she said.

Ultimately, the success of Halfpenny’s team will likely depend on their ability to out-hustle the other team.

“We are excited to get out there and win those hustle stats and drive our play forward,” she said.

The game will take place Sunday at noon in the Loftus Sports Center. The game can also be viewed on ACC Network Extra.

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About Nate Moller

Nate is a junior majoring in chemical engineering. He is originally from a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently living in Siegfried Hall. Some of his passions include running, cross country skiing, and getting too worked up about Notre Dame and Minnesota sports teams.

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