Emily Conner and the Irish look to get back to their winning ways with a couple of home tilts against No. 2 Syracuse and Villanova this week.

Irish Set For Two Conference Home Contests To End Week

April 4, 2012

#9/6 Notre Dame (8-1, 2-1)


#2/3 Syracuse (6-2, 1-0)

Thursday, April 5 – 7:06 p.m. (ET)

Arlotta Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.

Broadcast: CBS Sports Network


#9/6 Notre Dame (8-1, 2-1)


Villanova (2-7, 0-1)

Saturday, April 7 – 11:00 a.m. (ET)

Arlotta Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.

Broadcast: UND.com

CBS Sports Network Channel Finder

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 6 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to Arlotta Stadium this weekend for a pair of BIG EAST clashes with No. 2 Syracuse and Villanova. On Thursday night, the Irish welcome the Orange for a game that has BIG EAST and national implications and can be seen on CBS Sports Network with the opening draw slated for 7:06 p.m. (ET). On Saturday, the Wildcats come to town for an 11:00 a.m. contest.

The Irish (8-1, 2-1 BIG EAST) are coming off their first setback of the season at the hands of Loyola (Md.) in Baltimore on Sunday. Notre Dame traveled to the east coast for its first multi-game weekend, rallying in overtime to knock off Rutgers, 13-12, before falling to the Greyhounds, 17-11.

Syracuse (6-2, 1-0 BIG EAST) has played a formidable schedule, opening the season against six ranked foes and posting a 4-2 record in those games. Among the wins were a 12-11 (2OT) win at No. 4 Florida and a 10-9 win at No. 3 Maryland. The Orange’s lone losses came at the hands of No. 10 Virginia (9-7) and No. 1 Northwestern (11-9, OT).

The Orange are led by sophomore Alyssa Murray and junior Michelle Tumolo, who have tallied 25 and 17 goals and 11 and 15 assists, respectively. In goal, they feature a pair of goalies that have sub-9.00 goals against averages. Sophomore Alyssa Constantino is 6-1 with a 8.84 GAA., while freshman Kelsey Richardson is 0-1 with a 8.96 GAA. Both have a .500 save percentage or better.

Villanova (2-7) has dropped a pair of non-conference games to Lehigh and California and meets conference opponent Rutgers in a 4:00 p.m. game on Friday before heading to Notre Dame. The Wildcats are led by senior Justine Donodeo, who has found the back of the net 23 times so far this year.

Fans that cannot come to the Syracuse game or catch it on TV can follow it via live stats via UND.com or follow the Irish on Twitter @NDWomensLax on Twitter. Saturday’s contest with Villanova will be streamed live on UND.com along with live stats.


– The Irish have found the back of the net in great numbers this season. Averaging 14.78 goals a game, Notre Dame is racing past offensive numbers from previous seasons. The only teams since 2004 that averaged more goals through nine games were the ’08 (14.89) and ’09 squads (16.11).

– The Irish have become especially adept at scoring a high number of goals on a limited number of shots as evidenced by a shooting percentage of .494, which, through nine games this season, is 0.11 higher than any of the previous eight seasons.


-With Notre Dame’s 8-0 start to the season, head coach Christine Halfpenny became the first coach in BIG EAST history to lead their team to an 8-0 start in their first year with a program. The record not only includes head coaches from BIG EAST teams since the league was formed in 2001, but the entire program history for every team that currently resides in the conference.

-Notre Dame’s impressive 8-0 start also put the Irish in elite company among the all-time great BIG EAST teams. Only 2011 Loyola (13-0) and 2004 Notre Dame (10-0) have started out with better records to open the year since the league was formed. Loyola went on to win the BIG EAST Tournament title last year, while the 2004 Notre Dame squad lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Northwestern. The BIG EAST did not have a conference tournament in 2004.


– Having already secured her place in school history after leading the team in assists as a sophomore and junior, senior co-captain Maggie Tamasitis has gone above and beyond so far this season in helping her teammates score goals. The Boyertown, Pa., has notched 35 helpers through nine games this season. To put that in prospective, Tamasitis had 16 assists in ’10 and 19 in ’11 through the same point in the season. With seven regular season games to play, Tamasitis is just 11 assists shy of tying her own single-season school record of 46 that she set last season. She is also in the top three in the nation in both assists (3rd, 35) and assists per game (3rd, 3.89).


-After improving to 8-0 this season with a 13-12 overtime win over Rutgers, the Irish were one of only two undefeated teams remaining on the Division I level. Only the Northwestern Wildcats joined Notre Dame as an unbeaten heading into the month of April.


-Through March 26, 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 eighth in the nation with a 14.78 goals-per-game average, while their +3.56 scoring margin is 17th best. The attack is spearheaded by senior Maggie Tamasitis, whose 3.89 assists per game rank as the third-best mark in the land. She also ranks fifth in the land in points per game, averaging 5.33.


-Notre Dame and Yale met for the seventh career time this season when they took 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.


-Now fully entrenched in BIG EAST season, 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 (twice), Jaimie Morrison (once) and Margaret Smith (three times) 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 Halfpenny takes 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 Hilling took 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.

-This season the backstop has already seen her climb up the Irish record books get underway, now placing fourth all-time in saves (334), fourth in wins (29) and fourth in total minutes played (2,748:46) while playing in an astounding 96.0% of the possible minutes played.

-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 Smith has wasted little time showing her versatility in the Irish lineup. The Westminster, Md., product has registered 10 goals on the current season, while leading the team in ground balls (21), draw controls (31) and caused turnovers (18).

-Smith has three times been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor roll this season for standout 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). Her third such honor came on the heels of a 1-1 BIG EAST weekend in which she scored three goals along with bringing down 10 draw controls and causing four turnovers.


-In the most recent edition of their 2012 ‘Power Rankings,’ InsideLacrosse.com gave the Irish a top-10 ranking, coming in at seventh. InsideLacrosse.com justifies the ranking because of the stellar start the Irish have had on the season, 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 (13 goals, 35 assists, 48 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 (67), points (194, 6th) and games played (66, t10th). Additionally, Tamasitis moved into first all-time in assists with her 107th career helper during the Boston University victory (14-11). She currently has 127 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 Byers representing the only two-time recipient. Here is a listing of all the past Irish nominees:

Year Name

2009 Shaylyn Blaney

2009 Jillian Byers**

2008 Jillian Byers

2008 Caitlin McKinney

2006 Crysti Foote**

2004 Meredith Simon

** – named Tewaaraton Trophy Finalist


-The triumvirate of midfielders Jordy Shoemaker and Megan Sullivan and attacker Maggie Tamasitis have 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 Hilling manning 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 10 of their next 11 home jaunts. Here is a year-by-year breakdown of the Irish at Arlotta Stadium:

Year Record Percentage

2010 4-2 .667

2011 4-1 .800

2012 2-0 1.000

Career 10-3 .769


-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 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.