February 7, 2011

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NCAA Preview: No. 10 Notre Dame (Women)

by Joel Censer | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

The February issue of Lacrosse Magazine features an extensive NCAA lacrosse preview, from Division I through Division III, plus in-depth features on the top-ranked Syracuse men and the snake-bitten Cal women. Lacrosse Magazine Online (laxmagazine.com) examines the key players, strengths, weaknesses, best- and worst-case scenarios, sleepers, what's new, what's not and rival coaches' takes on each of the top 10-ranked teams in Division I men's and women's lacrosse.

MEN: 10 COR | 9 HOF | 8 DUKE | 7 UND | 6 PTON | 5 MD | 4 SB | 3 UNC | 2 UVA | 1 CUSE
WOMEN: 10 UND | 9 JMU | 8 PENN | 7 UVA | 6 GTOWN | 5 CUSE | 4 DUKE | 3 UNC | 2 NW | 1 MD

NO. 10 NOTRE DAME

"I like to go 100 miles an hour," said Jackie Doherty, Notre Dame's All-American defender. "I like to be annoying."

© TD Paulius/Midwest Lacrosse Photography

Head Coach: Tracy Coyne
Conference: Big East
2010 Records: 11-7, 6-2
2011 Opener: Friday, Feb. 11 at Cal | Schedule

KEY PLAYERS

M Shaylyn Blaney (Sr.)
The senior workhorse and captain can do it all: score goals, play defense, win a tough ground ball. "She's a true middie on both sides of the ball," Coyne said. "She's just a really gifted natural athlete."

D Jackie Doherty (Sr.)
A tenacious, aggressive, play-making defender, Doherty (40 CTs) garnered first-team All-America laurels last year. "I like to go 100 miles an hour. I like to be annoying," said Doherty.

D Lauren Fenlon (Sr.)
Level-headed intelligent defender who started all 18 games last year and complements Doherty's freelancing skills on the backline. "Fenlon's rock solid," said Coyne.

STRENGTHS

• Experienced, deep and versatile midfield
• Athletic defense that can create transition opportunities

WEAKNESSES

• Need to improve shooting accuracy (39 percent last year)
• Will have to replace graduated All Big-East attacker and leading point scorer Gina Scioscia

BEST CASE

The Irish play fast and cause enough havoc to win the competitive Big East and make their first final four since 2006.

WORST CASE

Notre Dame has trouble generating offense and finishing in the half-field. The Irish fail to win the Big East championship, receive a low NCAA tournament seed, and are knocked out in the first round.

SLEEPER

M Jenny Granger (So.)
Another Ward Melville (N.Y.) product, Granger, came to South Bend with lots of expectations. She had a nice freshman campaign, chipping in 15 points, but is looking to take the next step after an impressive fall.

RIVAL COACH'S TAKE

"With Scioscia, the glue of the attack, graduated, all the focus will be on Blaney and Kailene Abt to fuel the offense."

WHAT'S NEW?

Former Notre Dame star Crysti Foote and Towson midfielder Nick Williams have joined the coaching staff.

WHAT'S NOT?

Sophomore Ellie Hilling, a quick and mobile goalie who was thrown into the fire as a freshman, returns in cage. "I love our goalie," said Coyne.

77

Notre Dame returns 77 percent of last year's points.


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