April 17, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Coming off a 16-9 win at Connecticut to lock up the 10th, 10-win season in school history, the No. 6 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to the friendly confines of Arlotta Stadium for a 2 p.m. Wednesday showdown with No. 18 Vanderbilt.
After six consecutive BIG EAST contests, Notre Dame steps out of conference play for the second-to-last time during the regular season as the team squares off against the Commodores. The Irish are 6-0 so far this season in non-conference games, having last beaten then-No. 17 Cornell, 17-13, on March 17.
In their last outing, the Irish rolled past conference foe Connecticut behind a school and BIG EAST record six assists from senior Tewaaraton Trophy candidate Maggie Tamasitis. For her efforts, the Boyertown, Pa., product earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
Vanderbilt (7-6, 1-4 ALC) is coming off a 17-5 setback at No. 5 Florida. Common opponents include Stanford (W, 15-9), Louisville (W, 14-12) and Ohio State (L, 13-11). The Commodores have seven players that have scored 12 or more goals, with Ally Carey (24G, 9A) leading the way. In the cage, Natalie Wills has played in all 13 games, recording 70 saves and sporting an 11.88 GAA.
The Irish (10-2, 4-2 BE) are looking for their first win over Vanderbilt since the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament when they beat the Commodores, 19-13, at the old Alumni Field. All-time, the Commodores lead 11-5, winning five of the last six. The Irish have earned four of their five victories against Vanderbilt at home.
Fans can follow the contest via live stats or live streaming video through UND.com.
FAMILIAR FACE FOR MASTROPIERI
– The contest will be a family affair for one Notre Dame player as Irish junior attacker Betsy Mastropieri will see her younger sister, Katie, on the opposing sidelines. The sophomore wears No. 1 for the Commodores and is second on the team in goals (19) and points (26).
CHAMPIONSHIP ADDITION TO THE TEAM
– Notre Dame received a welcome addition to the team in the week leading up to the Connecticut game as Irish women’s basketball standout Brittany Mallory joined the women’s lacrosse team. Mallory, who started all 39 games for the Irish women’s basketball squad this past season and ranked eighth in the BIG EAST in steals per game (2.1), was a two-time U.S. Lacrosse honorable mention All-American in high school and will wear No. 32 for the Irish women’s lacrosse team.
On the basketball court, Mallory was known as a talented leader who displayed a strong will to win along with an impressive three-point shot.
Mallory grew up in the lacrosse hotbed of Baltimore, Md., and played the sport for her first three years of high school, where she racked up all sorts of accolades. The midfielder led McDonogh School to the IAAM A Conference championship game in 2006 and was a two-time IAAM A Conference All-Star and all-metro/all-county selection in addition to the pair of All-America scrolls. In 2006 she was named to the high school All-Tewaaraton Team, which recognizes some of the nation’s top talent.
In her first game in over five years, Mallory scooped up a draw control in Notre Dame’s 16-9 victory over the Huskies.
THAT’S JUST OFFENSIVE:
– The Irish have found the back of the net in great numbers this season. Averaging 14.75 goals a game, Notre Dame is racing past offensive numbers from previous seasons. The only teams since 2004 that averaged more goals through 11 games were the ’06 (15.08), ’08 (14.83) and ’09 (15.75) squads.
– 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 .486, which, through 12 games this season, is 0.19 higher than any of the previous eight seasons. Below is a breakdown of offensive numbers since the ’04 season:
-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.
HOW CAN I SERVE YOU?:
– 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 46 helpers through 12 games this season. To put that in prospective, Tamasitis had 13 assists in ’09, 20 in ’10 and 25 in ’11 through the same point in the season. With four regular season games to play, Tamasitis has tied her own single-season school record of 46 that she set last season. She is also in the top two in the nation in both assists (T-2nd, 46) and assists per game (2nd, 3.83). Against Connecticut she set a new school and BIG EAST record with eight assists. The eight helpers also put her into a tie for sixth all-time in NCAA Division I history for assists in a game.
-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 April 12, 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 10th in the nation with a 14.75 goals-per-game average, while their +3.83 scoring margin is 14th best. The attack is spearheaded by senior Maggie Tamasitis, whose 3.83 assists per game rank as the second-best mark in the land. She also ranks sixth in the land in points per game, averaging 5.25.
IRISH PLAYERS RECOGNIZED BY CONFERENCE
-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 (three times), Jaimie Morrison (once), Margaret Smith (three times) and Barbara Sullivan (once) 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.
-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 (355), tied for third in wins (30) and third in total minutes played (2,908:46).
-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).
SMITH ALL OVER THE FIELD
-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 draw controls (38) and ground balls (27) and is tied for the lead in caused turnovers (20).
-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.
WE’VE GOT THE POWER
-In the most recent edition of their 2012 ‘Power Rankings,’ InsideLacrosse.com gave the Irish a No. 10 ranking. 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.
ASSAULT ON THE RECORD BOOK
-Leading the Irish attack is senior tri-captain, Maggie Tamasitis. With her stellar performance so far this season (17 goals, 46 assists, 63 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 (71), points (209, 5th) and games played (70, t-7th). Additionally, Tamasitis moved into first all-time in assists with her 107th career helper during the Boston University victory (14-11). She currently has 138 career assists.
IRISH AND YALE TAKE PART IN SPRING FLING
-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.
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:
2009 Shaylyn Blaney
2009 Jillian Byers**
2008 Jillian Byers
2008 Caitlin McKinney
2006 Crysti Foote**
2004 Meredith Simon
** – named Tewaaraton Trophy Finalist
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.
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. Updated through the Connecticut contest, the three captains have played in a combined 202 games, helped their team to 48 wins, scored 123 goals and added 155 assists in their careers.
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 11 of its next 13 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 3-1 .750
Career 11-4 .733
-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 16-9 win over Connecticut on April 14 gave the Irish their 10th win of the season, marking the seventh consecutive 10-win season for the program and 10th in school history. Over the last seven seasons, the Irish are 85-40 (.680).
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.
RELAX AT HOME AND WATCH THE LAXERS
-The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team has two games broadcast nationally on the CBS College Sports Network this season. The first was the Syracuse game at Arlotta Stadium on April 5, 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 home game streaming and game recaps.