Notre Dame expects more competition in new conference

Gators have won 66 straight since 1996 in Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference

Women's notebook

College lacrosse

April 26, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN REPORTER

When you think about women's lacrosse teams that dominate their conferences, the College of Notre Dame probably isn't the first team to come to mind.

But maybe it should be.

With Tuesday's 15-3 win over Hood College, the Gators won their 66th straight game against Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference opponents - a streak dating to 1996.

The conference once had six teams but now has only four and will dissolve after this season. The Gators will move to the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.

Melissa Falen, who has coached the Gators for 18 years, said the move is a good one because it will give her team more competition and because the PAC winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

"For me and for our team, we're really excited about that, because I think we will be very competitive in that conference," Falen said. "It will give us the opportunity, if we do have a good year and manage to compete for the conference title in the PAC, to make it to the NCAA tournament. It's difficult [to make the tournament] as an independent."

The Gators improved to 12-1 with the win over Hood. They play York College today and will be the top seed for the AWCC tournament next weekend.

Two of the Gators' top players rank among the Division III leaders in several categories.

Anne Shippen (Glenelg Country), a regional All-American last season, is third in draw controls, averaging 4.92 per game, and Tina Money is fifth with 4.75. Shippen also ranks second in caused turnovers with 4.33 per game, and Money, last week's AWCC Player of the Week, is fifth with 3.92.

Shippen and Money also lead the Gators in scoring, combining for 91 goals and 37 assists.

In support

Local teams showed their support last weekend for their Virginia Tech counterparts, who were returning to the field for the first time since the April 16 campus shootings that killed 33 people.

Maryland wore T-shirts bearing the Virginia Tech logo on the front and "Strength" on the back during warm-ups before Sunday's game in Blacksburg. They presented the Hokies with matching T-shirts, which they also wore during pre-game.

Parents of the Terrapins players contributed $3,000 to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which helps the victims' families.

The Johns Hopkins players also paid tribute, wearing armbands in the Virginia Tech colors of maroon and orange at Friday night's home game vs. Northwestern.

View from the top

With its 21-17 win at Virginia Tech on Sunday, Maryland earned the top seed for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament this week in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Terrapins, ranked No. 2 nationally, lost only one ACC game - to fourth-seeded Virginia, 15-4. They beat defending champ and second seed Duke, 19-18, on March 3.

The last time the Terps were seeded first, in 2003, they won the title. Since the tournament began in 1997, Maryland has won five times. Last year, it fell to Duke in the semifinals, 19-9, at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Terps (14-2) begin action tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. when they meet the winner of today's first-round game between Boston College and Virginia. Duke faces the North Carolina-Virginia Tech winner tomorrow. The title game is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Helping hand

Duke's Kristen Waagbo might have been known more as a scorer back at Mount Hebron, but she had a keen eye for her teammates back then, too.

Although she scored 221 goals during her high school career, The Sun's two-time Female Athlete of the Year set a state tournament record with six assists in the 2002 title victory.

Now in her senior year at Duke, Waagbo is the Blue Devils' all-time leader in career assists with 106. She finished the regular season with 34, breaking her own Duke single-season record.

This week's ACC Player of the Week, Waagbo ranks second on the Blue Devils' points list with 251, behind the 287 amassed by 2006 graduate Katie Chrest (Maryvale).

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