Jaimie Morrison and the Irish open the BIG EAST season Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. tilt against Louisville.

Irish Begin BIG EAST Slate Against Louisville Saturday

March 23, 2012

ND Game Notes vs. LouisvilleGet Acrobat Reader

#7/6 Notre Dame (6-0) vs. University of Louisville (2-5)

Notre Dame Leads 3-0

Saturday, March 24 – 1:00 p.m. (ET) Arlotta Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind. Live Stats: Gametracker on UND.com

The No. 6 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to the friendly confines of Arlotta Stadium Saturday as it opens BIG EAST play against the Louisville Cardinals at 1:00 p.m. (ET).

The Irish (6-0) are off to their best start since 2006, and are one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the country along with No. 1 Northwestern (7-0). The squad is making its first appearance at home since a 17-7 win over Duquesne on Feb. 25. Since then the Irish have been road warriors, winning four games by a combined score of 62-40.

The Cardinals (2-5) are coming off a 20-10 setback to Jacksonville last Saturday. The only common opponent between the two this year is the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Louisville fell to OSU, 21-7, in Columbus, Ohio, while the Irish dropped the Buckeyes, 16-7, at the Horseshoe. The game also will be a homecoming for Louisville assistant coach and Irish great Crysti Foote, who sits second in Notre Dame history in career points (237), third in goals (161) and fourth in assists (76) and was an Irish assistant coach in 2011.

The game will be a part of Kid’s Day, which will feature a post-game autograph session and lacrosse clinic for children 12 and under. All children 12 and under will be admitted free with a parent or guardian. Children are encouraged to bring their own sticks, but some will be provided for general use.


-Notre Dame is among elite company to this point in the season, representing one of just two teams currently undefeated at the Division I level. Alongside the Irish (6-0) in the ranks of the unbeaten is top-ranked Northwestern (7-0).


-Through March 11, the Notre Dame offense is among some of the tops in the land, wreaking havoc on opposing goalies and defenders. Entering the week, the Irish rank in a tie for third in the nation with a 16.00 goals-per-game average, while their +5.83 scoring margin is 10th best. The attack is spearheaded by senior Maggie Tamasitis, whose 3.83 assists per game rank as the best mark in the land. She also ranks fourth in the land in points per game, averaging 5.17.


-Notre Dame and Yale met for the seventh career time this season when they take part in the “Spring Fling,” in Delray Beach, Fla. The event brings women’s lacrosse teams from throughout the country to Florida from March 3-18. Since its start in ’97, the tournament has hosted more than 160 NCAA teams, 25 prep school teams and a dozen high school squads. Originally set in Panama City Beach, Spring Fling moved to Palm Beach County in ’04 and the Notre Dame-Yale matchup will mark the first at Delray Beach’s Hilltopper Stadium.


-In just three weeks of regular season action, the University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse players have been recognized several times by the BIG EAST Conference for their stellar play on the field. Two players – Maggie Tamasitis and Ellie Hilling – have been named BIG EAST Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, while Tamasitis (once), Margaret Smith (twice) and Jaimie Morrison(once) have found themselves on the weekly honor roll.

-In addition to conference recognition, Tamasitis also was billed as the WomensLax.com National Player of the Week after her one-goal, six-assist performance in the season opener against Stanford.


-The 2012 season marks a new era in Notre Dame women’s lacrosse, as Christine Halfpennytakes the reigns as just the second head coach in program history since the team earned varsity status back in 1997. The former standout for the Virginia Tech Hokies lacrosse team comes to the Irish after a five-year stint as head coach at William & Mary where she compiled 43 victories, including reaching double-digit wins in each of her final four seasons. Additionally, her teams garnered the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season league title in both ’08 and ’09, while she copped CAA Coach-of-the-Year honors in ’08.

-While team success has been noticed under Halfpenny’s watch, her players’ individual successes have also been abundant. During her stay with the Tribe, she saw two players tabbed IWLCA All-Americans, while helping 26 to all-conference citations and 10 to all-region honors. Her 2011 campaign also saw history made, as William & Mary captured player of the year, defensive player of the year and rookie of the year, marking the first time in CAA history that one school claimed all three top honors in the same season.


-Junior goalkeeper Ellie Hillingtook home the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week award (March 5) after her career-high 16 save and career-high tying six ground ball performance in an upset of then-No. 10 Ohio State. The award was Hilling’s third such honor being handed down from the BIG EAST.

-Hilling found herself between the pipes last year in over 96% of the possible game minutes she could have played. While in net, Hilling led the Irish to a 10-9 record, allowing 9.67 goals per game.

-Hilling burst on to the scene in her freshman campaign (2010) where she led the team to an 11-7 record while stopping 131 shots in over 1,110 minutes of action including registering the only shutout of her career and the first in BIG EAST conference history in a win over Villanova (4/9/2010).


-Sophomore midfield Margaret Smithhas wasted little time showing her versatility in the Irish lineup. The Westminster, Md., product has registered seven goals on the current season, while leading the team in ground balls (16), draw controls (21) and caused turnovers (14).

-Smith has twice been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor roll this season for stanout performances against Duquesne in the second game of the season (3 G, 3 GB, 5 DC, 2 CT) and most recently against Boston University (1 G, 1 A, 4 GB, 5 DC, 6 CT).


-In the most recent edition of their 2012 `Power Rankings,’ InsideLacrosse.com gave the Irish a top-10 ranking, coming in at fifth. InsideLacrosse.com justifies the ranking because of the stellar start the Irish have had on the season (6-0 for first time since `06), the health of offensive threat Lindsay Powell and the performance of Maggie Tamasitis.


-Leading the Irish attack is senior tri-captain, Maggie Tamasitis. With her stellar performance so far this season (8 goals, 23 assists, 31 points) combined with her play in her first three seasons on campus, Tamasitis is climbing the Irish record books in many statistical categories including goals (62), points (177, 8th) and games played (64). Additionally, Tamasitis moved into first all-time in assists with her 107th career helper during the Boston University victory (14-11). She currently has 115 career assists.

-Tamasitis’ opening-game performance in 2012 against the Cardinal also placed her in the single-game annals, setting a new single-game record for assists in a half with five helpers in the first half against Stanford, while tying the single-game record for assists in a game with six.


-Senior attacker Maggie Tamasitis continues to garner recognition heading into her final campaign with the Irish. The Boyertown, Pa., native was named to the 2012 Tewaaraton Award Watch List, as announced Feb. 15. Tamasitis joins a group of 53 fellow women’s lacrosse players, including 48 from Division I schools and eight from other BIG EAST institutions. This list, along with additional names added throughout the season, will be trimmed down to 25 who have been chosen as Tewaaraton Trophy Nominees before a final five is selected as finalists come seasons end. Six Irish players have been named nominees over the programs history, with Jillian Byersrepresenting the only two-time recipient. Here is a listing of all the past Irish nominees:

Year   Name2009    Shaylyn Blaney2009    Jillian Byers**2008    Jillian Byers2008    Caitlin McKinney2006    Crysti Foote**2004    Meredith Simon** - named Tewaaraton Trophy Finalist


-The triumvirate of midfielders Jordy Shoemaker and Megan Sullivan and attacker Maggie Tamasitishave been selected as the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse captains for the 2012 campaign. The three captains have played in a combined 143 games, helped their team to 38 wins, scored 89 goals and have added 107 assists.


-Despite coming off of a 10-9 season that saw the Irish fail to reach the NCAA Tournament and graduate several key senior contributors from the 2011 campaign, Insidelacrosse.com warns, “don’t sleep on the Irish.” According to the online story on ilwomen.com, the Irish have been declared the sleeper team in the BIG EAST Conference to claim the league title with the return of offensive weapons, senior Maggie Tamasitis and sophomore Kaitlyn Brosco as well as junior Ellie Hillingmanning the net for the third straight season.


-Joining the fold for the Irish this season are a pair of touted freshmen: goalkeeper Allie Murray (Exton, Pa.) and defender Barbara Sullivan(Garden City, N.Y.), who gained invaluable experience during the summer of 2011 as members of the U.S. U-19 squad at the Women’s Lacrosse World Championship. In addition to helping the U.S. win the crown for the fourth consecutive year, Sullivan anchored a stingy American defense that allowed a championship-best 5.38 goals per game and Murray appeared in six of eight contests, recording one win along with 20 saves.


-Since Arlotta Stadium opened its doors on March 7, 2010, the Irish women’s lacrosse team has found a growing comfort in their new confines. After starting with a pair of losses to open the new building, Notre Dame has proceeded to capture wins in nine of their next ten home jaunts. Here is a year-by-year breakdown of the Irish at Arlotta Stadium:

Year   Record  Percentage2010    4-2 .6672011    4-1 .8002012    1-0 1.00Career  9-3 .750


-The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program has a long history of sisters playing for the blue and gold. This season is no different as Notre Dame senior midfielder Megan Sullivan (Winchester, Mass.) and her younger sister, Lauren Sullivan, a sophomore on this year’s roster, are the ninth set of siblings to play for the Irish `Laxers’. The Sullivan’s join eight other sister duos to play at Notre Dame – Maggie `10 and Lena Zentgraf `07, twin sisters Heather and Lindsey Ferguson `08; Julie `08 and Crysti Foote `06; Lauren `09 and Meghan deMello `06; Kelly and Kristen Gaudreau `04; Carol `06 and Angela Dixon `03 and Annemarie `09 and Mary McGrath`06. The sisters who started the tradition are Amy `98 and Mara Grace `98. They played in 1997 and 1998, the first two years of the program.


-Notre Dame’s 10-win season in 2011 gives the Irish six consecutive seasons with double-digit wins for the first time in the program’s 16-year history. Over the last six seasons, the Irish are 75-38 (.664).


-Despite losing over 415 goals and 140 assists to graduation, the Irish were picked to finish fourth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll due in large part to their two preseason All-BIG EAST team selections, midfielder Kaitlyn Brosco and attacker Maggie Tamasitis.

-The Irish also are one of four BIG EAST teams ranked in one of the two national polls. Notre Dame is ranked 7th in the IWLCA poll along with conference foes Syracuse (2), Georgetown (13) and Loyola (Md.) (16). The Irish have climbed to sixth in the deBeer/Inside Lacrosse preseason poll, with Syracuse (2) and Georgetown (12) representing the other two in the poll.


-The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team will have two games broadcast nationally on the CBS College Sports Network this upcoming season. The first televised game will take place at home on April 5 against Syracuse at Arlotta Stadium, while the second game takes place on April 21 as the Irish travel to the nation’s capital to take on Georgetown.

-Check your local listings to find out if your local provider offers the CBS College Sports Network.

-For all other video of the Irish women’s lacrosse team visit UND.com for all live match streaming and game recaps.