March 21, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The No. 7/7 University of Notre Dame women's lacrosse team returns home this weekend and welcomes in No. 19/RV Rutgers (7 p.m. Friday) and Villanova (1 p.m. Sunday).
The Irish (6-0) are coming off a 12-11 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville last Wednesday. Sophomore Shauna Pugliese scored three goals and dished out two assists to lead Notre Dame. Fellow sophomore Barbara Sullivan tied a school record with nine draw controls, with all coming in the second half, to help swing the momentum in favor of the Irish.
In goal senior Ellie Hilling has earned all six decisions while sporting an 8.41 goals against average and a .422 save percentage.
The decision to play at Arlotta Stadium or Loftus Sports Center hasn't been decided yet for either game with the recent winter weather in the South Bend area. Fans can stay tuned to UND.com, @NDWomensLax (Twitter) and Facebook.com/NDWLAX for the latest news. If the games are outdoors, a free live broadcast will be online at UND.com. Live stats will be available if the games are inside or outside.
Rutgers - 7 p.m. - Friday
Rutgers (7-1) is off to its best start in school history and defeated Princeton, 12-10, Tuesday night. Katrina Martinelli leads the Scarlett Knights on offense having totaled 22 goals and six assists. Goalie Lily Kalata is 7-1, has a .500 save percentage and sports a stingy 6.27 goals against average.
The Scarlet Knights are first in the country in scoring defense as they have limited opponents to just 6.12 goals per game on 17.5 shots per game by using a stall offense. They average just 9.50 goals on 22.5 shots per game. In comparison the Irish are averaging 14.17 goals on 29.5 shots a game while giving up 8.17 goals a game on 20.7 shots per game.
Last year Rutgers came just seconds from upsetting the Irish and knocking them from the ranks of the unbeaten in Piscataway, N.J. Trailing 12-11 with one minute remaining in overtime, Granger found the back of the net to knot the score at 12. Just 37 seconds later junior Margaret Smith gave the Irish the improbable win as she scored the winning goal.
Assisting on both goals was former Notre Dame standout Maggie Tamasitis, who makes her return to campus this Friday as a first-year assistant coach with - coincidently - Rutgers.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series 9-4 against the Scarlet Knights.
Villanova - 1 p.m. - Sunday
Villanova (4-3) plays at Marquette Friday night before meeting the Irish Sunday. The Wildcats defeated Davidson, 11-7, last weekend. Sophomore Jessica Mucci leads Villanova with 31 points on seven goals and 24 assists. Senior Maria Bowman has 12 goals and seven assists. Goalie Amanda Hirschfeld has a 4-2 record, a 8.39 goals against average and a .495 save percentage.
Last year the Irish blitzed the Wildcats 18-5 behind five goals from junior Lindsay Powell. Sophomore Allie Murray earned her first career start and win in goal, replacing a sick Ellie Hilling. The Exton, Pa., native tallied nine saves on the day, including six in the second frame.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series 4-0, including the only shutout in BIG EAST history, 16-0 in 2010. The series got underway in 1999, with the Irish coming away with a 15-9 win.
THE OPENING DRAW
Starting The Season Undefeated
Notre Dame is off to a 6-0 start for only the fourth time in school history ... they join the 2004 (10-0), 2006 (7-0) and 2012 (8-0) teams in that exclusive club ... Notre Dame's next four opponents include Rutgers (March 22), Villanova (March 24), Louisville (April 5) and Cincinnati (April 7).
So far this season the Irish have made a habit of staging second half comebacks ... in three of its six wins Notre Dame has trailed by two or more goals at half ... these include 7-2 at Stanford (Feb. 16), 5-3 at Duquesne (March 2) and 8-4 versus Boston University (March 9) ... in all three contests the Irish came out blazing, out-scoring the competition by a wide margin in the second frame ... Notre Dame outscored the Cardinal, 10-3, the Dukes, 7-3, and the Terriers, 12-3, to earn victories in each game ... the Irish also trailed 6-5 early in the second half of the game against Vanderbilt before coming back to win 12-11 over the Commodores.
Second Half Team
As referenced in the previous note, the Irish have been a second half team all season ... the numbers back it up too as the Irish hold a slim 34-30 edge in goals scored in the first half but have dominated in the second half, 51-19 ... the total goes from +4 in the first half to +32 in the second half ... the Irish have scored more goals in the second half because they are taking more shots ... in the first half Notre Dame and its opponents have each taken 72 shots ... in the second half the Irish have taken 105, while limiting their opponents to just 52, a difference of 53.
Jack Of All Trades
Junior All-American and Tewaaraton Award Watch List member Margaret Smith has shown she can do just about everything on the field so far this season as she has scored eight goals on only 15 shots, collected 12 ground balls and 13 draw controls and caused 12 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 ... for efforts for the week of Feb. 25 - March 3, Smith earned BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Seniors Leading On Offense
Seniors Jaimie Morrison and Jenny Granger have shown so far this season that they are adept at leading the Irish offensive attack ... they sit one and two on the team in points, goals and assists as Morrison has 21 points (13G, 8A), while Granger has 19 points (12G, 7A) ... Morrison has been placed on the BIG EAST's Weekly Honor Roll twice after impressive performances ... the first was for the week of Feb. 25 - March 3 where she scored four goals and dished out four assists as ND went 2-0 ... the second was for the week of March 4-March 10 where she recorded six goals, two assists, three ground balls and a caused turnover in two Irish wins.
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 ... six games into the 2013 season, Hilling is first in school goalie history in minutes played (3,547:38) and first in games played (60), tied for first in wins (39) and third in saves (442) ... Hilling in on pace to break the remaining two 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 ... this year she stopped 12 shots in a 10-8 win at Duquesne.
Senior Jenny Granger has 70 career goals ... to break into the top 10 she needs 13 more ... senior Jaimie Morrison (59 career goals) and junior Kaitlyn Brosco (56 career goals) need 24 and 27 more goals, respectively, to break into the top 10 ... junior Lindsay Powell (48 career goals) isn't far behind ... Granger is also knocking on the door for career assists ... she has 34, just nine behind 10th place ... senior Ellie Hilling (128) is tied for sixth 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 81 draw controls in her career and would break into the top 10 with 10 more this season ... Smith is also on pace to break into the top 10 in caused turnovers ... she has 58 and needs just three to tie assistant coach Jill Byers for 10th all-time ... sophomore Barbara Sullivan (45) would also move into the top 10 in caused turnovers if she has 16 or more this season after causing 32 as a freshman and 13 so far this season.
Sophomore Barbara Sullivan played a key roll in Notre Dame's 12-11 come-from-behind win over Vanderbilt as she dominated the draw control in the second half ... the Garden City, N.Y., native collected nine to tie a school record for draw controls in a game ... she also had a team-high five ground balls ... for her efforts she was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second consecutive week ... Sullivan is ranked first in the country in ground balls per game (4.17).
A Game For The Ages
Sullivan turned in arguably one of the best games by a defender in Notre Dame history against Boston University (March 9) as she tallied a career-high eight ground balls and a career-high five turnovers ... she also added two draw controls and dished out her first career assist ... one memorable play to start the second half saw Sullivan cause a turnover, claim the ensuing ground ball, dart several yards up the field and pass the pall to teammate Jaimie Morrison, who put the ball in the back of the net just 45 seconds into the half to begin the Irish comeback ... for her efforts she earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
In Notre Dame's 22-1 win over Detroit March 5 a pair of school records were reached as the Irish handled the Titans ... the 22 goals tied the school record for goals in a home game ... the 21 goal margin of victory was the most in program history, topping last year's Senior Day win over Cincinnati (22-2) ... the one goal allowed tied for the second fewest in school history ... the Irish defeated Loyola, 11-1, in 2007 and shut out Villanova, 16-0, in 2010.
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 Margaret Smith 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 was the first Irish player to earn defensive player of the week accolades since Ellie Hilling in 2012 after a monster 13-save, six-ground ball and two-caused turnover performance at Ohio State ... Peragallo is ninth in the country in caused turnovers per game (2.33).
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 are seeing 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 face off.
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."