March 1, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Off to a 2-0 start for the second straight year and for the 13th time in school history, the No. 7/9 University of Notre Dame women's lacrosse team returns to action at 12 p.m. Saturday as it heads to Pittsburgh, Pa., for a showdown with the Duquesne Dukes.
The Irish (2-0) are coming off an impressive 13-8 win over No. 13/18 Ohio State Wednesday night. Junior All-American Margaret Smith carried the Irish in many ways, scoring a team-high four goals, tying for a team high with four ground balls and causing a team-high five turnovers.
Duquesne (2-1) is coming off a 16-9 loss to No. 10 Penn State Wednesday night but opened its campaign with a pair of wins over Saint Francis (PA), 20-6, and Marquette, 11-7. Leading the Dukes in goals is Caitlin Prince with 10, followed closely behind by Amanda Kidder with eight.
Fans can follow the game through live stats. A link is provided on UND.com.
THE OPENING DRAW
Jack Of All Trades
Junior All-American Margaret Smith has shown she can do anything on the field so far this season as she has scored five goals on only seven shots, collected six ground balls and five draw controls and caused six turnovers ... in a 13-8 home win over Ohio State, the Westminster, Md., native had a monster game, scoring four goals on five shots, collecting four ground balls and three draw controls and causing five turnovers.
Home Openers Friendly For The Irish
With a 13-8 win over No. 13/18 Ohio State Feb. 27, Notre Dame improved to 11-6 all-time in home openers ... Notre Dame has now won both home openers under second-year head coach Christine Halfpenny ... last year the Irish defeated No. 6 Stanford, 17-14.
Tewaaraton Award Watch List
Junior Barbara Sullivan and sophomore Barbara Sullivan were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List Feb. 23 ... the duo are on the list with 50 fellow student-athletes, including 45 from Division I schools ... the pair was only two of seven from BIG EAST schools ... the award goes to the best player in women's lacrosse ... last year Maggie Tamasitis was named a Tewaaraton Award Nominee.
Another Season-Opening Win
Notre Dame improved to 15-2 all-time in season openers with its 12-10 win over Stanford Feb. 16.
For her efforts on the defensive end in Notre Dame's win over Stanford, freshman Stephanie Peragallo earned BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors ... she is the first Irish player to earn defensive player of the week accolades since goalie Ellie Hilling in 2012 after a monster 13-save, six-ground ball and two-caused turnover performance at Ohio State.
Senior Leader In The Cage
Senior goalie Ellie Hilling brings a wealth of experience to the Notre Dame defense as she is in her fourth year as starter ... two games into the 2013 season, Hilling is second in school history in wins (35) and minutes played (3,325:23), tied for second in games played (56) and fourth in saves (417) ... Hilling in on pace to break all four of those records by midseason ... last year the Rochester, N.Y., native had seven games with 10-plus saves, including a career-high 16 in wins over Ohio State and Georgetown.
Senior Jenny Granger has 59 career goals ... to break into the top 10 she needs 24 ... junior Kaitlyn Brosco has 56 career goals ... to break into the top 10 she needs 27 ... senior Jaimie Morrison (49 career goals) and junior Lindsay Powell (47 career goals) aren't far behind ... Granger is also knocking on the door for career assists ... she currently has 29, just 14 behind 10th place ... senior Ellie Hilling (121) is now in 10th place in ground balls for a career ... if she reaches her career single-season average, she would move into the top four ... Margaret Smith has 73 draw controls in her career and would break into the top 10 with 18 more this season ... Smith is also on pace to break into the top 10 in caused turnovers ... she has 52 and needs just nine to tie assistant coach Jill Byers for 10th all-time ... sophomore Barbara Sullivan (36) would also move into the top 10 in caused turnovers if she has 25 or more this season after causing 32 as a freshman and four so far this season.
Head coach Christine Halfpenny named senior Jenny Granger and junior Margaret Smith as co-captains of this year's squad ... Granger, a three-time monogram winner, scored 20 goals, dished out 12 assists, scooped up 14 ground balls and 10 draw controls and caused eight turnovers last season ... Smith, a preseason all-BIG EAST selection, is coming off a sophomore campaign where she was named third team IWLCA All-American and first team all-BIG EAST and IWLCA West/Midwest all-region after collecting 37 ground balls and 47 draw controls and causing 31 turnovers.
Trio Honored By BIG EAST
Juniors Lindsay Powell and Margaret Smith and sophomore Barbara Sullivan were named to the preseason all-BIG EAST team ... Smith and Sullivan were unanimous selections ... Powell was a second team all-BIG EAST and IWLCA West/Midwest all-region performer last year ... Smith was an IWLCA third team All-American and a first team all-BIG EAST and IWLCA West/Midwest all-region honoree ... Sullivan was a first team IWLCA West/Midwest all-region and second team all-BIG EAST performer.
The matchup at Stanford and the home contest against No. 13/18 Ohio State were just two of many tough challenges for ND during the regular season ... the Irish are playing five teams that ended 2012 ranked (Ohio State, Loyola, Georgetown, Northwestern and Syracuse) and three NCAA Championship teams (Loyola, Syracuse, Northwestern) ... Northwestern won the title, Syracuse was runner up and Loyola made the quarterfinals ... fortunately all but the Syracuse game will be in the friendly confines of Arlotta Stadium or the Loftus Sports Center.
Among the 10 freshmen that will see their first action for Notre Dame in the spring, are a pair of standouts that were named to Lacrosse Magazine's "Freshman 15" ... the two Stephanies, Stephanie Toy and Stephanie Peragallo, were each honored by the magazine back in September.
Junior Margaret Smith, sophomore Barbara Sullivan and assistant coach Jill Byers all reached the final round of qualifying for the US National Team this summer ... Byers played for four years on Team USA, while Sullivan was on the 2011 U.S. women's national under-19 team that won a gold medal at the U-19 Women's Lacrosse World Championship in Hanover, Germany.
Second Year For Halfpenny
The transition year from William & Mary to Notre Dame is over for second-year head coach Christine Halfpenny ... Halfpenny didn't seem to have too much trouble transitioning in her first season, as the Irish jumped out to an 8-0 start on their way to a 13-5 season in which they qualified for the BIG EAST and NCAA Championships ... the 13 regular-season wins tied for first in school history, while the 13 wins overall tied for third in school history.
Replacing An Impressive Senior Class
When eight student-athletes concluded their eligibility last season, the Irish lost some talented performers ... among the most notable losses were IWLCA second team All-American Maggie Tamasitis and IWLCA second team West/Midwest all-region performer Megan Sullivan ... Tamasitis ended her career as the school's all-time leader in assists in a half, game, season and career and finished fourth in points ... last year Tamasitis had 82 of Notre Dame's 348 points or almost 24% ... Sullivan had a breakout senior year by doing a little bit of everything in the middle of the field ... she scored 24 goals, collected 23 ground balls and 27 draw controls and caused 15 turnovers ... Sullivan earned second team all-BIG EAST in addition to all-region accolades, while Tamasitis was named first team in both categories.
Homecoming For A Pair Of ND Lacrosse Alums
With the addition of new assistants Jill Byers and Jake Marmul, head coach Christine Halfpenny brought in two new coaches with deep Notre Dame roots. Byers, a four-time All-American, is a 2009 graduate that still holds a plethora of school records including goals and points in a career ... Marmul, a 2011 graduate, played for the men's team and specialized in the opening draw.
Follow The Irish
Fans can follow the Irish in a multitude of ways through social media ... ND WLAX is on Facebook at facebook.com/NDWLAX ... on Twitter (@NDWomensLax) ... coach Halfpenny is also on Twitter (@NDcoachPenny) ... on the web at UND.com/sports/w-lacros/nd-wlacros-body.html ... on the blogs at ndlacrosse.wordpress.com ... speaking of the blogs, senior Emily Conner will piggy back her summer series "Lax In The City" with a season-long blog entitled "No Time To ReLAX."