Dec. 16, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Another challenging schedule, one which includes 10 of last year’s NCAA tournament participants among its 16 dates, awaits Notre Dame head women’s lacrosse coach Christine Halfpenny’s squad in 2015.
A year after earning the No. 8-seed for the NCAAs based in part on a ferocious schedule, this year’s edition of the Irish will again be tested weekly during their second year of play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Three of the four teams that appeared in last year’s NCAA semifinals (Northwestern, Syracuse and Virginia) will oppose Notre Dame this spring as will three other quarterfinalists from a year ago (Boston College, Duke and North Carolina).
The Irish will also face 2014 NCAA tournament participants Louisville, Ohio State, Stanford and Stony Brook in 2015.
Adding to the challenge, Notre Dame’s six home games will be its fewest since 2001 when the Irish played five home games.
“The team is excited for year two in the ACC, the best lacrosse conference in the country,” Halfpenny said. “Being a part of this conference is helping us to take the season one game at a time. There isn’t one easy game in this conference and we are embracing that fact.
“Our conference schedule, coupled with an incredibly strong slate of non-conference opponents, gives us opportunities to prove ourselves each week both within our region as well as on both coasts.”
The season opens on Feb. 13 when the Irish will head to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats. After facing Detroit on Feb. 15 in their home opener, the Irish will take to the road for five straight games. This stretch begins with a pair of contests in the San Francisco area as Notre Dame takes on Stanford (Feb. 20) and California (Feb. 22). A week after facing the Golden Bears in Berkeley, Notre Dame heads 3,000 miles east to Durham, North Carolina for its ACC opener at Duke on March 1. The five-game road trip concludes in the northeast with games at Boston College (March 7) and Stony Brook (March 10), an early-spring Homecoming weekend for the team’s numerous New England and Long Island natives.
Two games back on campus await as the Irish will play host to Virginia Tech (March 14) and Ohio State (March 21). Notre Dame will hop on a bus to face Marquette on March 25 in Milwaukee before playing a third home game out of four outings on March 29 against North Carolina.
An arduous Easter-weekend road trip awaits Notre Dame. The team heads first to Virginia to face the 2014 national semifinalist Cavaliers on April 4 before going north to Syracuse for an April 7 date with the national runner-up Orange at the Carrier Dome. The Irish play their 10th and final road game of the 2015 regular season on April 12 when they face off against Michigan at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines began women’s lacrosse last year and it will be the first regular-season game between the schools, rivals in many sports.
The 2015 regular season concludes with home games on April 16 against regional rival Northwestern and April 19 against the newest ACC member, Louisville. The ACC Tournament will be held from April 23-26 in Charlottesville, Virginia with all eight teams making the field. The NCAA Tournament begins May 8 at campus sites to be determined based on seeding. The NCAAs will culminate on May 22 and 24 with the national semifinals and championship game at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union. Advancing to that stage would be a good historical omen for the Irish as the Notre Dame men’s soccer team won the 2013 national championship at PPL Park.
The 2014 season saw Notre Dame rise to a peak of No. 6 in the national polls, eventually earning the eight-seed for the NCAA Championship. The Irish were selected to host the first and second rounds of NCAA competition at Arlotta Stadium. The Irish led the ACC in both ground balls and caused turnovers last spring and return a pair of collegiate All-Americans in sophomore attacker Cortney Fortunato (third team, 2014) and senior defender Barbara Sullivan (first team, 2013).