Nov. 30, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With its sixth straight NCAA appearance in 2017 and a strong fall campaign in the rear-view mirror, the University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program is looking ahead to a challenging spring schedule as head coach Christine Halfpenny announced the 2018 slate Thursday.
The Irish will face one of the toughest lineups of opponents in the country, with 10 of their 16 opponents having made the NCAA Championship field in 2017. Of those 10, seven appeared in the second round or later.
“Our schedule is tough as always,” Halfpenny said. “We are playing in the strongest conference in the country in the ACC, and our strength of schedule is improved by the number of non-conference opponents that played in last year’s NCAA tournament. We look forward to the challenges and successes that lie ahead starting in February.”
The Irish, who went 11-8 during the 2017 campaign, will open the season Feb. 10, 2018, against national runner-up Boston College at the Loftus Sports Center. They will then hit the road to face Jacksonville (Feb. 17) and Stetson (Feb. 18) in Florida before returning home for three straight games against USC (Feb. 23), Elon (Feb. 25) and Marquette (Feb. 28).
March will bring a three-game road stint, during which Notre Dame will travel to Louisville (March 4), Virginia Tech (March 11) and High Point (March 14). The Irish will host Virginia (March 17) and Syracuse (March 24) outdoors at Arlotta Stadium before closing out the month at North Carolina (March 31).
The Irish play three of their final four matches at home, welcoming Michigan (April 3), Duke (April 15) and San Diego State (April 21) and traveling to Northwestern (April 8). The end of April holds the ACC Championship in Durham, North Carolina, before the NCAA Championship begins the second weekend in May. This season’s NCAA Final Four will be held May 25 and 27 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University.
Halfpenny is looking forward to the promise of the new season, having seen positive team chemistry throughout the fall.
“It’s been a great fall season welcoming nine new faces to the program and watching our returners develop into veterans of the program,” Halfpenny said. “There is great potential with this group of student-athletes and I look forward to an exciting spring season. The enthusiasm and energy that the group brings each day provides both a great learning environment and a fiercely competitive one as well. I am so impressed with their maturity to balance both of those qualities.”
New in 2018 will be the NCAA’s approval of free movement, allowing players to continue moving after blowing the whistle. Previously, players had to stop when a whistle was blown.
“We really enjoyed playing with the new rules of free movement this fall and believe our depth will help us tremendously this season,” Halfpenny said. “Specifically, we were able to play fast and smart throughout every game by using our substitutions in the midfield. We are deep at that position and look to add to it as players return to full strength from last year’s injuries. Our aggressive defense has plenty of new faces in it, but the athleticism is no different than in years past. We’re excited to see the defense add to its resume this year by becoming a fast break force for us out of each change of possession. The icing on the cake is the offense. There are plenty of new faces, but there is no lack of talent or experience as many returners have played two or three years in an Irish uniform. Our staff and team are thrilled with the way we have been sharing the ball. As we look to the spring, that will be an importance piece of our success.”
For a closer, behind-the-scenes look at the Irish women’s lacrosse program, follow @NDWomensLax on Twitter and ndwlax on Snapchat.
2018 Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse Schedule
All Times ET
Feb. 10 – vs. Boston College (noon)
Feb. 17 – at Jacksonville (1 p.m.)
Feb. 18 – at Stetson (11 a.m.)
Feb. 23 – vs. USC (6 p.m.)
Feb. 25 – vs. Elon (1 p.m.)
Feb. 28 – vs. Marquette (5 p.m.)
March 4 – at Louisville (1 p.m.)
March 11 – at Virginia Tech (1 p.m.)
March 14 – at High Point (4 p.m.)
March 17 – vs. Virginia (TBD)
March 24 – vs. Syracuse (1 p.m.)
March 31 – at North Carolina (noon)
April 3 – vs. Michigan (7 p.m.)
April 8 – at Northwestern (1 p.m.)
April 15 – vs. Duke (1 p.m.)
April 21 – vs. San Diego State (1 p.m.)
April 26-27 – ACC Championship (Durham, N.C.)
May 11 – NCAA Championship First Round
May 13 – NCAA Championship Second Round
May 19-20 – NCAA Championship Quarterfinals
May 25 & 27 – NCAA Championship (Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook University)
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs, in addition to overseeing production of the football Gameday Magazine. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.