Feb. 24, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Fresh off a 17-14 win over then-No. 6 Stanford last Sunday, the No. 15 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to action this Saturday when it welcomes the Duquesne Dukes to Loftus Sports Center for a noon (ET) showdown.
The Irish (1-0) are coming off the first win of the Christine Halfpenny era last Sunday as they knocked off No. 6 Stanford, 17-14, after leading at halftime, 12-7. Senior tri-captain Maggie Tamasitis led the way for the Irish as she scored a goal and dished out six assists on her way to earning BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week and Womenslax.com Player of the Week accolades. The Boyertown, Pa., product set a new school mark with five assists in the first half, and tied her own school record with six assists for the game.
The Dukes (1-1) earned a convincing win over Bucknell, 18-4, in their season opener before getting beaten soundly in their first round match by Penn State, 16-5, in State College. Veteran head coach Michael Scerbo led the Dukes to an 11-7 record last year in his sixth year with the program.
Atop the scoring list for Duquesne is sophomore Caitlin Prince, who leads the Dukes with five goals, and junior Meredith Dunn, who has chipped in four. Goalie Liz Walker has allowed 17 goals in just over 100 minutes of action, while stopping 14 shots. This is the eighth career matchup between Notre Dame and Duquesne, with the Irish holding a 7-0 advantage.
For fans attending the game, tickets can be purchased in the lobby right outside of Loftus. Lacrosse tank tops will be given out to the first 100 students that enter the game. Fans that can’t make the game can watch it online at UND.com or follow the game via live stats.
A (HALF)PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
-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.
WE’VE GOT THE POWER
-In the first edition of their 2012 `Power Rankings,’ InsideLacrosse.com gives the Irish a top-10 ranking, coming in at seventh, the highest of all BIG EAST teams. InsideLacrosse.com justifies the ranking because of the stellar start the Irish got to the season with the 17-14 victory over #17 Stanford, the health of offensive threat Lindsay Powell and the performance of Maggie Tamasitis.
ASSAULT ON THE RECORD BOOK
-Leading the Irish attack is senior tri-captain, Maggie Tamasitis. With her stellar performance so far this season (1 goal, 6 assists, 7 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 (55), assists (98, 2nd), points (153, 9th) and games played (59).
-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.
TAMASITIS ON TEWAARATON RADAR
-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 Name2009 Shaylyn Blaney2009 Jillian Byers**2008 Jillian Byers2008 Caitlin McKinney2006 Crysti Foote**2004 Meredith Simon** - named Tewaaraton Trophy Finalist
RELIABILITY IN THE CAGE
-Junior goalkeeper Ellie 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).
DON’T SLEEP ON THE IRISH
-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 (54g-92a-146 pts.) and sophomore Kaitlyn Brosco (32g-8a-40 pts.) as well as junior Ellie Hilling (21-16, 9.68 GAA, 262 saves) manning the net for the third straight season.
TRI-CAPTAINS TO LEAD IRISH
-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.
NOTRE DAME’S GOLDEN GIRLS
-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.
PROTECT THIS HOUSE
-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).
SHOES TO FILL
-While 2012 ushers in a new era in Notre Dame women’s lacrosse on the coaching staff, the Irish also see a changing-of-the-guard on the field with the graduation of a pair of IWLCA All-Americans: Shaylyn Blaney and Jackie Doherty. Blaney, a three-time, second-team selection, finished her career as the all-time Irish leader in games played (77), while finishing second in goals (162) and seventh in total points (188). Doherty, meanwhile, was a defensive stalwart for the Notre Dame back line, earning first-team All-America billing in both ’10 and ’11 and finishing her career tied for second in groundballs (177) and leading the way in caused turnovers (117).
BIG EAST ANNOUNCES PRESEASON RANKINGS, AWARDS
-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 20th in the IWLCA poll along with conference foes Loyola (Md.) (7), Syracuse (12) and Georgetown (15). The Irish were left off the deBeer/Inside Lacrosse preseason poll, while Loyola (Md.) (7), Syracuse (12) and Georgetown (13) again represented the BIG EAST in the national rankings.
RELAX AT HOME AND WATCH THE LAXERS
-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.