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Northwestern-Notre Dame moved to Lake Barrington

Northwestern students will have to wait a little longer to see their seven-time NCAA champion lacrosse team in action on campus.

Northwestern lacrosse will play its second straight home game indoors at Lake Barrington Field House Wednesday against No. 12 Notre Dame because of low forecast temperatures.

While the Wildcats have practiced at Barrington in the past, Tuesday’s 20-5 drubbing of Marquette marked Northwestern’s first-ever regular season action at the indoor facility.

“Lakeside Field is our home and we want to be there for our fans but Lake Barrington is a great alternative for us,” coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “It's exciting because I feel like it's a window into our future and what it will be like to play in this kind of facility down at the Lake. We’ve practiced here a couple of times and the girls feel like this is their second home.”

Since 2001, Amonte Hiller’s first season as coach, Northwestern has not hosted a single home game at Lakeside Field in February. Most of NU’s home openers have been in early March over the years. This season, for whatever reason, NU had two home games scheduled for February.

What impact if any will Northwestern’s return to Barrington have on Wednesday’s matchup with Notre Dame?

How it will help Northwestern:

Northwestern figures to benefit from a return trip to Barrington. The Wildcats had 60 minutes against Marquette to adjust to the facility’s turf. And after Tuesday’s victory Amonte Hiller and senior Alyssa Leonard both acknowledged that their past experience at Barrington would only help them in Wednesday’s game.

How it will hurt Northwestern:

The major downside of playing at Barrington is the lack of fan support NU will receive. Barrington is about an hour drive away from campus. Any crowd noise advantage the ‘Cats would have at Lakeside will surely be lessened.

Prediction:

The change of venue won’t matter—Northwestern has Notre Dame’s number. The last time Northwestern lost to the Fighting Irish was in 2003. The Wildcats are seeking their 15th consecutive victory over their regional rival. I say they get it, 16-11.

Opening draw is at 8:30 p.m Wednesday.

One last thing to note: Northwestern’s first true home game will be March 30 against defending national champion North Carolina, the team that knocked NU out of the NCAA tournament last season.