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#13 Irish Look To Snap Four-Game Losing Streak Versus 14th-Ranked Syracuse In BIG EAST Finale

April 28, 2004

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IRISH CLOSE OUT BIG EAST SCHEDULE WITH VISIT FROM SYRACUSE: The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to action on Saturday, May 1, when the Irish play host to the 14th-ranked Syracuse Orangewomen. Game time at Moose Krause Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m. The game is the final BIG EAST match up for both teams with second place on the line in the final conference standings. The game could also have NCAA tournament at-large bid implications as both squads are battling for one of the final postseason spots. Notre Dame will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak that has seen them fall from 10-0 overall to 10-4 on the season and from second in the national polls to 13th. The Irish enter the game with a 3-2 mark in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame dropped three games last week in a busy week of action. The Irish fell 9-5 at #11 Northwestern on April 20. They returned home for a Friday night tilt on April 23 and lost a 13-12 decision to #9 Johns Hopkins. On Sunday, April 25, Notre Dame traveled to Rutgers where the Irish lost another one-goal decision, this time falling to the Scarlet Knights by a 7-6 score. Syracuse comes into the week tied for 14th in the country with Yale. The Orange are coming off a heartbreaking 13-12 four-overtime loss at Cornell on April 27. Syracuse is 9-4 on the year and 4-1 in BIG EAST play. The Orange had won two games in a row prior to the Cornell loss, downing Boston College, 14-11, on April 18 and then Denver, 16-11, in their final home game of the season on April 23. Following this weekend’s action, the Irish close out the regular season with a home game versus 11th-ranked Vanderbilt on Saturday, May 8. Game time is 1:00 p.m.

IRISH VERSUS ORANGEWOMEN: The two teams have met six times in the all-time series with Syracuse holding a 5-1 edge in the first six games. At South Bend, the series is tied, 1-1. At Syracuse, the Orange have won all three games. Last year, the two teams met in Syracuse with the Orange taking a 9-6 decision. Notre Dame’s only win in the series came on April 3, 2002 as the Irish took a 12-7 win in a game played at the Loftus Center. A Syracuse win on Saturday gives the Orange a second-place finish in the BIG EAST. An Irish win would give both teams a 4-2 mark in the BIG EAST with the Irish taking second place. In the first three seasons of BIG EAST play, Syracuse has finished second twice with the Irish taking second once (2002).

HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne: Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne is in her eighth season with the Irish and is the only coach the program has ever known. Coyne owns a 67-47 (.588) record at Notre Dame and is 181-73 (.712) in her 17-year coaching career. She is 1-5 versus Syracuse since taking at Notre Dame. In 2003, she led the Irish to an 8-7 record and a 4-2 mark in the BIG EAST, good for third in the league standings. In 2002, Coyne led the Irish to their first-ever NCAA tournament bid as Notre Dame advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion, Princeton, 11-5. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native led Denison (1988) and Roanoke (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996) to the NCAA Division III tournament during stops at those schools. A 1983 graduate of Ohio University, Coyne has coached on the international level as the head coach for the Canadian women’s lacrosse national team. She led the team to the medal round at the 2001 World Cup and will serve as head coach of Team Canada again for the 2005 World Cup.

STREAKY IRISH: After starting the year with 10 straight wins and 14 straight dating back to last season, the Irish have now lost four straight games. The losses have come at the hands of fifth-ranked Georgetown (9-7), 11th-ranked Northwestern (9-5), ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins (13-12) and at Rutgers (7-6). The four-game losing streak is the longest for the Irish since a six-game run from March 16 to April 8, 2000. Prior to the losing streak, the Irish were averaging 14.40 goals per game. Over the last four games, the Irish have scored just 30 goals (7.50 per game).

100 AND CLIMBING: Despite the losing streak, senior midfielder Meredith Simon (Flemington, N.J.) continues her strong season as one of the nation’s premier point producers. In three games last week, Simon had five goals and five assists for 10 points. She recorded the 100th goal of her Notre Dame career in the 13-12 loss to Johns Hopkins, a game she had three goals and three assists in. A first team all-BIG EAST selection in 2003, Simon joins Danielle Shearer (130) and Lael O’Shaughnessy (122) as the only Notre Dame players with 100 or more goals. For the year, Simon now has 40 goals and 20 assists for 60 points. Her 40-goal season makes her just the second player in program history to score 40 or more goals in a season (the other is Lael O’Shaughnessy who had 50 goals in 1999). The 60 points make her just the third player to score 60 or more points in a season (O’Shaughnessy with 69 in 1999 and Shearer with 61 in 2003 are the others). For her career, Simon is third in goals (103), fourth in assists (41) and fourth in points (144). She ranks 12th in the nation with 4.29 points per game and is tied for 20th in assists with 1.43 per contest.

SIMON NAMED TEWAARATON CANDIDATE: Notre Dame senior midfielder, Meredith Simon (Flemington, N.J.), has been named one of 20 finalists for the fourth annual Tewaaraton Trophy that will be awarded in June. Simon leads the Irish in scoring with career highs in goals (40), assists (20) and points (60). She is the first Notre Dame player ever to make the list of nominees. Last year, Danielle Shearer ’03 was selected to the preseason watch list. The Tewaaraton Trophy is awarded each year to the top male and female lacrosse players in the country. In early May, the list of 20 will be cut to five finalists. Simon is one of three BIG EAST players nominated for the honor as she is joined by Georgetown’s Michi Ellers and Syracuse’s Leigh-Ann Zimmer.

NOTRE DAME-RUTGERS RECAP: Rutgers’ Maggie Bopp scored twice in the final 1:09 of the game to give the Scarlet Knights a come-from-behind, 7-6 win, versus Notre Dame on April 25 at Piscataway, N.J. The loss was the second one-goal defeat for the Irish in a span of three days. Rutgers scored the final three goals of the game to wipe out a 6-4 Irish lead on the way to the win. Abby Owen (Sr., Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) paced the Irish attack with two goals and an assist. Lauren Fischer (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) added a pair of goals and Meredith Simon (Sr., Flemington, N.J.) had a goal and an assist for Notre Dame. The loss extended Notre Dame’s losing streak to four in a row and dropped the Irish to 10-4 overall and 3-2 in BIG EAST play. Two first-half goals by Owen and Fischer and a single goal by Kassen Delano (Sr., Alexandria, Va.) gave the Irish a 5-3 lead at halftime. Katie Batiuk opened the second half with a Rutgers goal, but Simon’s free-position goal with 14:35 left made it 6-4. Jamie Farewell scored with 11:36 left to make it 6-5. Neither team would score until the final 1:09 when Bopp scored a pair with the winner coming with 20 seconds left on the clock. Carol Dixon (Jr., Pennsauken, N.J.) made seven saves for the Irish and Lyndsey Feldman had eight for Rutgers on the afternoon.

BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD DEFENSE: In three of their four losses during the current losing streak, the Irish have scored seven goals or less. Georgetown started it by holding Notre Dame to seven goals in a 9-7 loss. Northwestern held the Irish to five in a 9-5 loss and Rutgers gave up just six goals (one in the second half) in last Sunday’s 7-6 loss in New Jersey.

VERSUS THE BEST: Three of Notre Dame’s four losses this season have come to nationally ranked teams. Prior to the loss to Georgetown (4/17), the Irish had won six in a row versus the nation’s best. The three-game losing streak versus ranked teams has dropped the Irish to 4-3 this season versus ranked teams. All-time, Notre Dame is 13-31 versus teams that were ranked in the top 20. Among Notre Dame’s wins this season versus ranked teams are victories over #2 Duke and #6 James Madison. Those two wins came against the highest-ranked teams the Irish have ever beaten. The previous highest-ranked team Notre Dame beat was Yale (7th-ranked) in 2001 and in 2002, they downed 7th-ranked Syracuse. In 2003, the Irish were 3-7 versus teams ranked in the top 20.

RECORD-SETTING STREAK: Notre Dame’s 14-game winning streak from 4/22/03 to 4/17/04 was the longest in the program’s history and included four games in the 2003 season along with 10 this season. The previous longest winning streak for the Irish was six games from 3/13/01 to 3/31/01.

GAMES PLAYED LIST: Meredith Simon and Kassen Delano have moved into the top 10 on Notre Dame’s all-time games played list this season with two more regular season games remaining. For her career, Simon has now played in 61 career games to rank ninth all-time (the school record is 63 games played held by six players). Delano has played in 59 career games to rank 10th on the all-time list.

DEFENSIVE STANDOUT: Senior Andrea Kinnik (West Chester, Pa.) continues her outstanding play for the Irish defense. This season, Kinnik has already set career highs for ground balls (46) and caused turnovers (26) as she leads the team in both categories. As a junior, she had 44 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers. Her 46 ground balls overall are tops in the BIG EAST and in five league games, she has 18 to be tied for fifth, three behind the league leaders. Last season, her defensive skills were recognized as she was named first-team Brine/IWLCA all-Mid-Atlantic Region and third-team All-America by

SCORING STREAKS: Meredith Simon has ran her scoring streak to 25 games with four goals and four assists versus Johns Hopkins and Rutgers. Here are the current active Irish points streaks.

Meredith Simon – 25 games (62g, 27a, 89 pts)
Abby Owen – 3 games (4g, 2a, 6 pts)
Lauren Fischer – 3 games (3g, 1a, 4 pts)
Kassen Delano – 2 games (2g, 0a, 2 pts)

CAREER YEAR: You thought that midfielder Abby Owen had a breakout season in 2003 when she had 15 goals and 10 assists for 25 points??? Well, in 2004, through the first 14 games of the year, Owen has already scored 29 goals with nine assists for 38 points (a new career high). She has four games this season with four points and four games with three points on the year. She had a career-high four-goal game versus Stanford on Feb. 29. She was named Inside Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 29 and BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending March 14.

SCORIN’ LAUREN: Senior attacker Lauren Fischer has points in 13 of Notre Dame’s 14 games this season. For the year, Fischer has career highs in goals (23), assists (9) and points (32). Fischer’s three-assist game on March 28 versus Boston College is a career high. Her four-point versus Ohio State was her second of the season (March 7 vs. Cornell) and the third of her career and is a career high. The three-goal game versus Ohio State was the third of the season and fifth of her career. Fischer’s previous career highs in goals (18), assists (6) and points (24) were established last season. ON THE RIGHT FOOTE: Crysti Foote (Sr., Suffern, N.Y.) has found her scoring touch with points in eight of her last nine games (15 goals and five assists for 20 points). On the season, Foote is fourth in scoring with 19 goals and eight assists for 27 points on the year. As a freshman, she finished third in scoring with 27 goals and 11 assists for 38 points. Foote played in all 15 games, starting the final six of the season. In those six games, she racked up 18 goals and eight assists for 26 points. She ended the year with an eight-game scoring streak with 22 goals and nine assists for 31 points. Following the season, Foote became the first Notre Dame women’s lacrosse freshman to be named to the Brine/IWLCA all-Mid-Atlantic region team.

IRISH ON THE NATIONAL SCENE: Notre Dame figures prominently in the national statistics this week (through games of April 26):

Points per game: Meredith Simon, 12th, 4.29 ppg
Assists/game: Meredith Simon, 20th, 1.43 gpg
GAVG: Carol Dixon, 12th, 8.33 GAVG
Save Pct: Carol Dixon, 20th, .534 save pct.

Goals per game: 14th, 12.43gpg
Team Defense: 13th, 8.36 opponent gpg
Margin of Victory: 11th, +4.07 gpg
Ground Balls: 10th, 26.29
Caused Turnovers: 8th, 10.93

HIGH-SCORING IRISH: Notre Dame saw its goals per game average fall to just 12.43 goals per game since the start of the four-game losing streak. The Irish have scored 174 goals through 14 games this season. The school record for goals is 200, set during the 1999 season.

IRISH HONORS: The following Notre Dame players have been honored during 2004.

Carol Dixon – BIG EAST co-defensive player of the week (April 12).
BIG EAST co-defensive player of the week (Feb. 29)
Andrea Kinnik – BIG EAST co-defensive player of the week (March 29)
Abby Owen – BIG EAST offensive player of the week (March 14)
Inside Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week (Feb. 29)
Meredith Simon – BIG EAST offensive player of the week (April 12)
BIG EAST offensive player of the week (March 29)
BIG EAST co-offensive player of the week (March 8)

FIVE FOR BOWERS: Just when you thought that the Irish didn’t have enough goal scorers in the lineup, Jackie Bowers (Jr., Springfield, Pa.) joined the attack versus Virginia Tech (March 26). All the junior attack player did was rack up a career-best five goals in the win. For the weekend versus Virginia Tech and Boston College, Bowers had six goals and one assist for seven points. On the year, Bowers has 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points. All are career highs. Bowers had three goals and one assist for four points in limited action last season.

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN: Junior goalkeeper Carol Dixon took over the reins in goal for the Irish in 2004 from All-American Jen White (’03) and has turned in a strong first season in goal for Notre Dame. She started with a 10-game winning streak and has been in the top 20 in the nation in goals-against average and save percentage all season. For the year, Dixon is 10-4 with an 8.33 goals against and a .534 save percentage. Nationally, she ranks 12th in goals-against average and 20th in save percentage. Twice this season, Dixon has been named the BIG EAST co-defensive player of the week (Feb. 29 and April 12). When the Irish opened the 2004 season at Cal-Berkeley, Dixon became the first goalkeeper to start a game for the Irish other than White since the final game of the 2000 season. White started 48 consecutive games for Notre Dame, between 2001-2003. Dixon served as White’s backup the previous two seasons and saw action in five games last year, playing 121 minutes with a 8.93 goals-against average and a .571 save percentage. She was 0-0 on the year.

SLAMMING THE DOOR: Through 14 games this season, Notre Dame’s defense has given up just 117 goals for an 8.36 goals-against average. The best goals against in the program’s previous seven seasons was 7.49 and that came during the 2002 campaign. Only three teams – Duke and Virginia Tech with 11 goals and Johns Hopkins with 13 – have scored in double figures versus the Irish this season. GOING ON THE OFFENSIVE: Notre Dame’s defense has even joined in on the goal scoring this season. The Irish defense had a goal and an assist in the 13-8 win over Ohio University on April 6. Andrea Kinnik set up one goal and sophomore Kerry Van Shura (Bel Air, Md.) scored her first collegiate goal in the contest. In nine games this season, Irish defenders have 12 goals and three assists on the year. Kristen Gaudreau (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) leads the defense with six goals and an assist for seven points. Andrea Kinnik has four goals and two assists while Van Shura and Jess Mikula (Jr., Chester, Md.) have one goal each.

THE CAPTAINS: Serving as captains for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team in 2004 will be seniors Andrea Kinnik and Meredith Simon. For both players are first-year captains for the Irish.

NEW KIDS: Freshman goalkeeper Katie Linhares (Greenwich, Conn.) saw her first action in goal for the Irish in the 9-5 loss to Northwestern. She played 3:28 while Carol Dixon was serving a yellow card. Linhares made one save on the only shot she faced. Midfielder Meghan Murphy (Fr., Centennial, Colo.) has stepped right into the Notre Dame lineup and has played like a veteran through the first 12 games of the season. Murphy had a career-high three goals and four points in the win over Cornell (Mar. 7), just her third game in an Irish uniform. For the season she has 10 goals and two assists for 12 points and is seventh on the team in scoring. Fellow freshman defender Meaghan Fitzpatrick (Farmingdale, N.Y.) made her first career start versus Connecticut and has seen action in all 12 games on defense. Sophomore Brittany Fox (So., Annapolis, Md.) scored her first career goal in the win over Cornell in her second career game. Junior midfielder Maura Costello (Manhasset, N.Y.) and sophomore defender Katie Killeen (Manhasset, N.Y.) both saw their first action for the Irish women’s lacrosse team versus Cornell. Kristin Hopson (Fr., Rosemont, Pa.) saw her first action versus Virginia Tech while Megan O’Shaughnessy (Fr., Englewood, Colo.) and Kaki Orr (Fr., Darien, Conn.) saw their first career action versus Boston College.

THE LONGEST GAME: Notre Dame’s overtime win versus California was the seventh overtime game in the program’s history. The Irish are now 3-4 in games that go beyond regulation. On April 13, 2003, Notre Dame played the longest game in its history, a double-overtime loss to Stanford (14-13) as the two team’s battled for 72 minutes (60 regulation minutes and four three-minute overtime stanzas). The previous long game came in 2003 versus Duke as the Irish played 71:45 before losing a 10-9 decision. That game ended in sudden-death as the winning goal was scored with just 15 seconds left in the fourth three-minute overtime.

CLOSE ONES: The Irish have suffered back-to-back one-goal losses in their last two games versus Johns Hopkins and Rutgers. For the year, Notre Dame is 1-2 in one-goal decisions with the win coming in the season opener at California, 12-11, in overtime. In the program’s eight-year history, the Irish are 7-10 all-time in one-goal games. During the 2003 season, Notre Dame was 1-3 in one-goal games with two of the losses coming in back-to-back overtime contests.

GREAT GOALS: Notre Dame ended the 2003 season by setting a school record for goals in an away game when the Irish scored 22 at #15 Vanderbilt (22-11) in the season finale. The 22-goal outburst broke the previous road mark of 20 set at Gannon (20-10) and equaled the school record of 22 set in a 2000 home win over Ohio University (22-3). The 22 goals were the most scored versus a ranked team, surpassing the mark of 15 set earlier in the season versus Connecticut and Georgetown (ot).

FUTURE IRISH: Head coach Tracy Coyne has announced that six players will join the Irish women’s lacrosse squad for the 2004-05 school year.

PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATIONS: The Irish were picked in BIG EAST coaches voting to finish third in the BIG EAST this coming season behind Georgetown and Syracuse. The coaches also named Meredith Simon and Andrea Kinnik to their preseason all-BIG EAST team. Inside Lacrosse Magazine ranks the Irish 16th in the nation in their preseason poll.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Two members of the Notre Dame lacrosse team have family ties to the program and two others have ties to the men’s lacrosse program. Junior goalkeeper Carol Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.) got to play two seasons with her sister, Angela, who graduated in May of 2003. The duo gave Notre Dame its second set of sisters to play on the women’s lacrosse team, joining Amy and Mara Grace who played in the first year of the program. Freshman midfield/attack player, Megan O’Shaughnessy (Englewood, Colo.) is the cousin of Irish scoring great Lael O’Shaughnessy, a 2001 graduate. Senior Meredith Simon follows in her brother Eric’s footsteps. A 2003 graduate, Eric served as one of the captains of the 2003 men’s lacrosse team while Meredith is a co-captain of the women’s team in 2003. Senior defender Bridget Higgins (Wilton, Conn.) older brother, Kevin, played lacrosse at Notre Dame and served as team captain for the 2000 season. Sophomore defender Lena Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) is the niece of men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan and the granddaughter of former Notre Dame athletic director Gene Corrigan.