Feb. 22, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Indiana – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team (2-1) is back on campus this week and is set to open a three-game home stand. The first game will be a tough task as the Irish will face No. 7/6 USC Friday night at the Loftus Sports Center.
Coach Halfpenny’s Thoughts
On the mood of the team heading into tomorrow’s game:
“We had a great week of practice and had a great opportunity to grow from our last two games. We certainly felt there was a lot that we could come back and continue to develop in our game after the outing Saturday and Sunday. The team was very receptive on the effort that was needed to grow our game. I am really, really happy with where we are right now. We are very prepared mentally and physically and our on-field leadership has done a great job keeping us focused and organized.”
On how the team chemistry is growing game by game:
“I really like how we don’t talk about how old we are or anything like that. It is more that we have kids that are ready to step up when their numbers are called. We have utilized all of our depth and I am very pleased with the execution we are getting. That shows their comfort level playing with each other. The chemistry also started in September and it is nice to see it mature as the time has gone on.”
On the keys points heading into tomorrow’s matchup:
“We are looking to get another career-best effort at this point in the season. We are looking to bring our communication to a high level to allow us to play our aggressive all-around game. We are excited for the ground ball battles tomorrow. Both teams are very strong defensively so I think it will be a great battle for those opportunities. Those extra possessions will be crucial for our confidence so we are really focused on that.”
Last Time Out
The Irish hit the road for the first time in 2018 last weekend and came back with two wins after defeating Jacksonville 17-6 and Stetson 21-7.
The Irish had a well-rounded effort against the Dolphins as 10 different players scored a goal while limiting Jacksonville to six goals on the afternoon. Nikki Ortega and Andie Aldave led the way with three goals and three assists apiece. Aldave owned the draw circle as she recorded a team-high eight on the afternoon.
Samantha Giacolone and the defense had a superb game against the Dolphins, limiting them to only three goals over the final 42 minutes of the game. Giacolone set a career high in save percentage after making 11 saves on 17 shots (.647%).
Aldave one-upped herself on Sunday against Stetson when she tied the school record for most draw controls in a game. She tallied 10 on the afternoon to tie Casey Pearsall‘s record, which was set last April. Aldave also added three goals and two assists.
Ortega tied a career-high with four goals against the Hatters, all coming in the first half.
The Irish had 10 different players score for the second-straight game with Savannah Buchanan and Katherine Enrietto adding hat tricks of their own to match Aldave and Ortega.
Scouting the Trojans
No. 7/6 USC enters Friday’s game with a 1-1 record coming off a 14-10 loss to No. 2 Stony Brook last Friday. Kelsey Huff and Maeve McMahon led the Trojans with three goals apiece on the afternoon. The Trojans owned a 17-6 advantage on the draw after a career-high 11 from Jackie Gilbert.
This will be the second meeting all-time between the Trojans and Fighting Irish. The first meeting came back in 2016 when the Trojans knocked off the Irish 5-4 at Arlotta Stadium. It was the lowest scoring game in program history.
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.