Notre Dame: Year Two Under Halfpenny Kicks off at Stanford

A plethora of other key contributors return, including seniors Jaimie Morrison (34G, 14GB), Jenny Granger (20G, 12A, 14GB), Betsy Mastropieri (12G), McKenzie Brown (22DC) and Emily Conner (14GB, 14CT), juniors Kaitlyn Brosco (22G), Lauren Sullivan (13G) and Grace Dooley (4G, 10GB, 14DC) and sophomore Caitlin Gargan (11G, 10DC). Also returning is Hilling, who is on pace to break virtually ever goalie record at Notre Dame as she enters her fourth year as a starter.

"We are excited to see the season that Jaimie (Morrison) and Jenny (Granger) will have as they are playing with that senior sense of urgency," says Halfpenny. "They are meshing well with the new players and that should make for a dynamic offense. We want to continue spreading the field and incorporate our high-octane offense.

"On defense we are fortunate to have Ellie (Hilling) back there in goal for us. Ellie has unfinished business and the career minutes played rival any goalie in the country. Her game experience is really stepping our defense up another level. She is going to look more dynamic this year, as she has worked hard during the offseason to develop her game even more. She wants to lead the team. She is our quarterback and will start our fast break as she uses her clearing ability and her vision to get our offense going."

Looking to help the returnees are 10 freshmen, highlighted by Lacrosse Magazine's "Freshman 15" members Stephanie Peragallo and Stephanie Toy.

"Our entire freshman class has been unbelievable so far," says Halfpenny. "They are fast and talented, have proven that they have a high lacrosse IQ and have shown that they are used to playing in big moments. We are very interested to see how they fit in with our team this season."

The Irish must forge through a tough schedule that sees them play three 2012 NCAA Championship teams and five preseason top 20 teams. Four of the five games against ranked foes will be played at the friendly confines of Arlotta Stadium.

A trip to Stanford opens the season Feb. 16, before the Irish open the home schedule Feb. 27 against No. 20 Ohio State.

If Notre Dame can come together using veterans and rookies alike to navigate a tough schedule successfully, look for the Irish to be back in the Big East and NCAA Championships as a team capable of making a run in year two of Halfpenny's tenure.

Captains Named
Head coach Christine Halfpenny named senior Jenny Granger and junior Margaret

Smith as co-captains of this year's squad ... Granger, a three-time monogram winner, scored 20 goals, dished out 12 assists, scooped up 14 ground balls and 10 draw controls and caused eight turnovers last season ... Smith, a preseason all-Big East selection, is coming off a sophomore campaign where she was named third team IWLCA All-American and first team all-Big East and IWLCA West/Midwest all-region after collecting 37 ground balls and 47 draw controls and causing 31 turnovers.

Trio Honored by Big East
Juniors Lindsay Powell and Margaret Smith and sophomore Barbara Sullivan were named to the preseason all-Big East team ... Smith and Sullivan were unanimous selections ... Powell was a second team all-Big East and IWLCA West/Midwest all-region performer last year ... Smith was an IWLCA third team All-American and a first team all-Big East and IWLCA West/Midwest all-region honoree ... Sullivan was a first team IWLCA West/Midwest all-region and second team all-Big East performer.

Tough Schedule
When the Irish kick off the 2013 campaign on Feb. 16 at Stanford, it will mark the first of many tough challenges for ND during the regular season ... the Irish are playing five teams that ended 2012 ranked (Ohio State, Loyola, Georgetown, Northwestern and Syracuse) and three NCAA Championship teams (Loyola, Syracuse, Northwestern) ... Northwestern won the title, Syracuse was runner up and Loyola made the quarterfinals ... fortunately all but the Syracuse game will be in the friendly confines of Arlotta Stadium.

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