Feb. 9, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Indiana – The day before the start of the 2018 season, the 15th-ranked Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team held its final tune-up practice and is eager to get the season started. The Irish will have a tough task to open the year, as they host the national runner-up and sixth-ranked Boston College Eagles tomorrow at noon ET.
Head coach Christine Halfpenny will begin her seventh year at the helm with a young team that is looking to start the year off with a big win.
“We are really excited to get started tomorrow,” said Halfpenny. “We had a great fall and look forward to start the season. This team is filled with enthusiasm and gets so excited for each other when good things happen.”
The Irish return 13 Monogram winners from last year’s squad that went 11-8 and 4-3 in ACC play. They tied for the most wins in conference since they joined the ACC in 2014. Notre Dame clinched its sixth-straight berth to the NCAA Tournament following the regular season.
Senior captains Sydney Cardozo and Molly Cobb lead the Irish into the new season. Abi Cullinan and Caroline Doyle round out the senior class and have been vital to incorporating the large number of newcomers to the team.
“Our seniors have been fantastic,” said Halfpenny. “They bring grit everyday and have the whole team bought in on that mentality. It has been remarkable and I can’t speak enough about them. They may be a group of four but they are a powerful bunch. They are a big reason why the group has meshed so well.”
“The freshmen have been super responsive to what we want to do this year,” said Cobb. “Even though they are young, they have a high IQ and are ready to begin the season tomorrow and make an impact.”
The Irish welcome a freshman class of nine that were highly ranked nationally. The class was ranked No. 5 by the IWLCA and Halfpenny is excited to see them out on the field.
“We just recruited one of the top freshmen classes in the country,” said Halfpenny. “They bring in multisport backgrounds, outstanding IQ’s and incredible athleticism. That combined with our returners, we feel that we have meshed a nice group of chemistry together.”
Scouting the Eagles
Boston College enters the season following a deep run in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Eagles made it all the way to the championship game and fell to Maryland 16-13 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The Eagles were selected to finish third in the ACC and had four players selected to the preseason All-ACC Team.
Boston College won the last meeting between the two teams in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, 17-14. Cortney Fortunato led the Irish with three goals and two assists and Samantha Giacolone made 13 saves on the afternoon.
Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse and cross country/track & field programs. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.