Junior midfielder Kaitlin Keena and the Irish will make their third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.  The Irish will face defending national champion Northwestern in their opening round game on May 15.

Women's Lacrosse To Face No. 2 Ranked Northwestern In First Round Of NCAA Tournament

May 9, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team will make its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament when they face the No. 2 ranked Northwestern Wildcats in opening round action on Saturday, May 15. The game will be played at 1:00 p.m. (CDT) at Northwestern’s Lakeside Field.

For ticket information, contact the Notre Dame ticket office at 574-631-7356.

The Irish enter the tournament ranked 14th in IWLCA coaches’ poll and 13th in the Inside Lacrosse poll after turning in an 11-6 record in the regular season. Notre Dame is coming off a heart breaking, 12-11, loss in four overtimes, to Syracuse in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament on May 6th in Piscataway, N.J.

Northwestern brings a 17-1 overall record into Saturday’s first round game after capturing its sixth consecutive American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) title with a 23-14 win over Vanderbilt on May 8th at Columbus, Ohio. The Wildcats have won five consecutive NCAA championships. This will be the 12th all-time meeting between Notre Dame and Northwestern and the third time the two teams have met in the NCAA Tournament (2004, 2008).

The two teams met this season on March 30th in Evanston, Ill., with Northwestern taking a 15-5 decision at Lakeside Field. The victory gives the Wildcats nine consecutive wins against the Irish and a 9-2 all-time record against Notre Dame. The last Irish win in the series came on April 26, 2003.

In the two NCAA appearances, both opening round games, the Wildcats handed Notre Dame a 10-8 loss on May 13, 2004 at Lakeside Field and then took a 15-7 win on May 11, 2008 at Northwestern.

“We are very excited to be in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season, a first for our program,” said Irish head coach Tracy Coyne after watching the selection show with her team.

“It shows that our program is headed in the right direction and gives us the chance to have a special season. Playing Northwestern is a great challenge, but for anyone looking to win the tournament, the road goes through Evanston.”

This is Notre Dame’s sixth NCAA appearance and the third straight since the 2008 contest versus Northwestern. In 2002, the Irish were the eighth seed and played host to Ohio State in the opening game. They downed Ohio State at Moose Krause Stadium, 11-7, before falling to the top seed, Princeton, 11-5, in the quarterfinals. In 2004, Notre Dame traveled to Northwestern for an opening round game and dropped a 10-8 decision to the Wildcats. In 2006, Notre Dame played its first two tournament games at home, defeating Cornell (16-8) and Georgetown (12-9) to advance to the Final Four in Boston. There, the Irish lost in the semifinals to Dartmouth, 14-8. After missing a trip in 2007, the Irish lost at Northwestern, 15-7, in 2008. A year ago, the Irish advanced to the quarterfinals after winning at home against Vanderbilt (19-13) before losing at North Carolina (16-10).

Notre Dame’s 11 wins this season marks the fifth consecutive year that the Irish have won 11 or more games in a season. Since the 2006 season, the Irish are 65-28 (.699).