Feb. 7, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - In 1887, Notre Dame played its first-ever football game, facing Michigan, and in 1892 the Notre Dame baseball team made its competitive debut with a game against Michigan. The shoe will be on the other foot Saturday evening when Michigan's fledgling women's lacrosse team competes for the first time ever in a scrimmage against No. 11 Notre Dame in the Loftus Sports Center at 7:45 p.m. Admission is free.
The Fighting Irish will be playing its lone exhibition contest of the spring before its opener on Feb. 12 against Cincinnati and then its inaugural ACC contest on Feb. 15 against No. 20 Boston College. Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny has liked what she has seen of her team thus far during preseason camp with Notre Dame's young talent and veteran experience fusing nicely. The third-year coach of the Irish is looking forward to putting her team on the field against another school.
"The top-to-bottom depth that we have found is something that we are excited as a staff to work with," said Halfpenny who is 25-10 thus far coaching at Notre Dame. "The combinations we can put out on the field have grown. We are playing that fast, passionate, and aggressive style that we are looking for. The feeling in the locker room and in practice is high. You can feel that energy.
"As a coach, you want to get your players excited and full of belief in what they are doing. That's what's going on. Credit for that is going to go to the players. They are grinding day-in and day-out. Whatever we have for them, they are taking it, attacking it and dominating it and that's exactly what you want to do in preseason. We are playing fearless."
As for facing the Wolverines, the historical significance is not lost upon Halfpenny.
"We are excited to welcome Michigan to Division I," she said. "While it might be a scrimmage, we are hoping it will be a beginning of a great rivalry moving forward.
"As for the game, we want to know what we look like when we put it all together and we are not intrasquad blue vs. green. We are actually able to put all of our game together with our low defense through the transition into the offense. It's unrealistic to think we are going to look like we will in May, but we should look game-ready for conference play coming out of Michigan. We are looking forward to see who is going to step-up and show us that they are ready. I think it's going to be a great learning experience."
The Irish return 17 monogram winners from the 2013 team that went 12-5, qualified for the NCAAs and was ranked as high as No. 5 during the season. The team added one of the nation's top recruiting classes to this mix and is eager to take the next step towards returning to the final four.
For season ticket information, logon to UND.com or call (574) 631-7356.