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#14 Irish Take To The Road For Two Key BIG EAST Games

March 28, 2003

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  • Notre Dame visits Virginia Tech and Syracuse looking to snap two-game losing streak.
  • Irish fall to 16th-ranked Ohio State, 12-9, in home opener.

THE VIRGINIA TECH GAME: The Irish travel to Blacksburg, Va., on Saturday, March 29 for a 1:00 p.m. BIG EAST tilt with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Notre Dame comes into the game with a 2-3 overall record and a 1-0 mark in the BIG EAST. The lone league win for the Irish came on March 15 at Boston College by a 13-12 margin. Virginia Tech comes into the game with a 1-7 overall record and an 0-2 mark in the conference. The Hokies lost at Georgetown, 17-5, and then dropped a one-goal decision (8-7) at home to Syracuse for their two league losses. The 14th-ranked Irish are coming off a home-opening loss to 16th-ranked Ohio State on March 25 while Virginia Tech last game was a 14-10 loss at Richmond last Sunday, March 23. Following Saturday’s game, the Irish travel to Syracuse on Wednesday, April 2nd for a 7:00 p.m. game versus the eighth-ranked Orangewomen. Following that game, the irish are home for six of their last eight games.

IRISH VERSUS HOKIES: Notre Dame and Virginia Tech have met twice in the all-time series with the Irish winning both contests. Last year, the Irish defeated the Hokies by a 15-4 score at the Loftus Center. Alissa Moser paced the Irish attack with four goals and one assist in the game. The first meeting between the two schools came on March 13 in Blacksburg with Notre Dame taking the game by a 19-8 score.

HEAD COACH TRACY COYNE: Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne is in her seventh season with the Irish and is the only coach the program has ever known. Coyne owns a 51-39 (.567) record at Notre Dame and is 165-65 (.717) in her 16-year coaching career. She led the Irish to their first-ever NCAA tournament bid in 2002 and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion, Princeton, 11-5. She is 2-0 in her career versus Virginia Tech. 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 leading the Canadian women’s lacrosse national team to the medal round at the 2001 World Cup in England.

OHIO STATE RECAP: The Irish opened their home schedule on Tuesday, March 25 with a 12-9 loss to 16th-ranked Ohio State. The Buckeyes jumped on top with three quick goals in the first half and never trailed as the Irish would get as close as one goal three different times in the game (3-2, 7-6 and 9-8). Senior Danielle Shearer (Hampstead, Md.) led the Irish with two goals and an assist in the game. Junior Lauren Fischer (Pittsburgh, Pa.) also scored twice from her attack position. Abby Owen (Jr. Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Meredith Simon (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) and Crysti Foote (Fr., Suffern, N.Y.) each had a goal and an assist for the Irish. Goalkeeper Jen White (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) surrendered all 12 goals while making nine saves. Regina Oliver scored four first-half goals for Ohio State to pace the Buckeye attack. Goalkeeper Erin Forquer made nine saves in goal. The game was played outdoors at Moose Krause Stadium. The Irish got to play outdoors three weeks earlier than last season when their first game outdoors came on April 12th versus Duke.

TEWAARTON TROPHY CANDIDATE: Senior all-American candidate Danielle Shearer is one of 21 nominees for the Tewaarton Trophy that goes annually to the top player in men and women’s lacrosse. She becomes the first Notre Dame women’s player ever nominated for the award. She currently leads the Irish in scoring with 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in five games. She was the team’s top scorer as a junior with 39 goals and 20 assists for 59 points.

FISCHER ON THE ATTACK: Junior attack standout Lauren Fischer has picked up where she left off last season in the goal scoring department. Through her first five games this sesaon, the Pittsburgh, Pa., native has recorded seven goals on 16 shots for the Irish for a .438 shooting percentage. Her two goals versus Ohio State (3/25) give her three two-goal games this season and seven in her career with two or more goals. In her first full season of action in 2002, Fischer had 17 goals and two assists for 19 points.

SCORING MACHINE: Junior midfielder Abby Owen has to be the surprise player for the Irish this season. After having played in just two games in her first two seasons at Notre Dame, Owen has made her presence felt over the past three games. After scoring a goal in her first two games this season, Owen has become a scoring machine for the Irish getting six goals and three assists for nine points over the last three contests. She turned in a career-best two-goal, two-assist game in Notre Dame’s 13-12 win over Boston College and then followed that with her first career hat trick in the 7-6 loss to Yale (3/18). She added a goal and an assist in the 12-9 loss to Ohio State (3/25).

VERSUS THE BEST: All three Notre Dame losses this season have come to nationally ranked teams. The 12-9 loss to 16th-ranked Ohio State (3/25) marked the second loss in a week to a ranked opponent. The Irish lost their opener to ninth-ranked Cornell (13-5), before falling to 13th-ranked Yale, 7-6, on March 18. All-time versus ranked teams, Notre Dame is 6-23 versus top 20 teams. The Irish were 4-5 last season versus ranked teams. The highest ranked team the Irish have ever beaten was Yale (7th-ranked) in 2001 and last season at home when they downed 7th-ranked Syracuse (April 3, 12-7).

ONE GOAL LOSSES: Notre Dame’s loss to Yale was its first one-goal loss of the season and makes the Irish 1-1 on the year in tight games after beating Boston College 13-12. A year ago, the Irish were 1-3 in one-goal games including a 12-11 loss at Ohio State. All-time, the Irish are 6-6 in one-goal games.

CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior midfielder Danielle Shearer was selected as BIG EAST Co-Player of the Week for the week ending March 16. She recorded three goals and two assists in the 19-4 win over Ohio University on March 11 and then followed that with a six-point game (two goals, four assists) in the 13-12 win over Boston College on March 15. For the week, Shearer had five goals and six assists for 11 points. She was named co-player of the week with Georgetown’s Wick Stanwick.

CENTURY MARK: With her third goal of the game versus Ohio University (3/11), Danielle Shearer became just the second player in Notre Dame history to reach 100 goals in her career. She currently ranks second all-time in goals with 105 and third in assists (49) and points (154). The school records in each category are held by 2001 graduate Lael O’Shaughnessy who had 122 goals and 68 assists for 190 career points.

SHEAR(ER) SCORER: Danielle Shearer continues her fast start in the scoring department as she leads the Irish with 19 points (10 goals and 9 assists) through the first five games. The senior all-American candidate has now scored two or more points in 16 straight games dating back to last season. She had two or more points in 17 of 18 games a year ago and currently has a 26-game scoring streak that dates back to April 25, 2001.

CAREER DAY: Senior midfielder Eleanor Weille (Garden City, N.Y.) had the best day of her career in the 13-12 win over Boston College as she scored three goals and added two assists for a career-high five-point game. Weille is fourth in team scoring through four games with four goals and three assists for seven points.

SIMON SAYS: Meredith Simon (Flemington, N.J.) set a career-high with seven points (3 goals and 4 assists ) in Notre Dame’s 19-4 win at Ohio University. Her previous best coming into this season was a five-point game (3 goals, 2 assists) in Notre Dame’s NCAA first round win over Ohio State (11-7) last May. A clutch scorer late in games a year ago, Simon is second on the Irish in scoring with five goals and six assists for 11 points through the first five games. Last year, she was Notre Dame’s top scorer in the NCAA tournament with five goals and two assists for seven points in two games.

THE GREAT WHITE WALL: Notre Dame goalkeeper Jen White made a career-high 16 saves in Notre Dame’s 13-5 loss to Cornell on March 2nd. Her previous best was a 15-save performance in a 10-9 Irish loss to Duke last season (April 12, 2002). In the Cornell game, White became Notre Dame’s all-time save leader with 314 passing Carrie Marshall (’98-’01) who had 309 in her Irish career. White now has 349 saves in her Notre Dame career. She is also the school’s all-time leader in games played (43) and goals-against average (8.96). As a junior, White was 13-5 with a 7.49 goals against average and gave Notre Dame the seventh-best defense in the nation. A first-team all-BIG EAST selection, White led the Conference in goals-against average and save percentage. She set a BIG EAST record when she limited Rutgers to just two goals in Notre Dame’s 9-2 win on April 28. For the season, the Irish all-America candidate was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week three times (March 17, April 1, April 28).

OPENING DAY LOSSES: Notre Dame’s 13-5 loss to Cornell on March 2, marked the first season-opening loss for the Irish in the seven-year history of the program. The game was also the first season opener for Notre Dame versus a nationally ranked team. The Irish are now 6-1 in season openers.

MULTIPLE POINTS: Several Irish players had multiple-point games in the win over Ohio University. Freshman Crysti Foote scored three goals while Anne Riley (Sr., Marblehead, Mass.) had a two-goal game. Senior attack Angela Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.) added a goal and and two assists in the game while sophomore Jackie Bowers (Springfield, Pa.) scored the first goal and the first assist of her career for two points in the win.

IRISH FIRSTS: Several Notre Dame players recorded “firsts” in the Irish victory at Ohio University. Besides Crysti Foote (3 goals) and Jackie Bowers (1g, 1a), midfielder Abby Owen (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) scored her first collegiate goal. Sophomore Lindsay Shaffer (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) played in her first collegiate game and picked up her first collegiate assist. And, freshman Corey Samperton (Bethesda, Md.) scored her first collegiate goal in her first game for the Irish. Goalkeeper Carol Dixon (So., Pennsauken, N.J.) also saw her first collegiate action playing the final 17 minutes of the game.

A LOOK AT THE IRISH: Notre Dame returns seven starters and 11 monogram winners from its 2002 team. The Irish must replace five four-year starters including their top three defenders in Tina Fedarcyk, Maureen Henwood and Kathryn Lam and midfielders Natalie Loftus and Alissa Moser. Among Notre Dame’s top returnees are senior midfielder Danielle Shearer, who is the team’s top returning scorer after a 39-goal, 20-assist campaign last season. Seniors Kelly McCardell (West Chester, Pa.) and Elizabeth Knight (Baltimore, Md.) are the leaders of the defense while Angela Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) and Lauren Fischer (Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) are the top returnees at attack. All-American candidate Jen White played all 18 games last season and set school records for wins (13), goals-against average (7.49) and save percentage (.545).


Meredith Simon is second on the team in scoring with 11 points.



RECORD SETTING SEASON: The 2002 women’s lacrosse season will go down as the finest season in the program’s six-year history. Going into the NCAA quarterfinals at Princeton, the Irish have set program-bests for wins (13), for BIG EAST wins (5) and for the highest ranking (7th) that the program has ever achieved. The Irish have also set records for lowest goals against (7.49), save percentage (.545) and ground balls (516). Notre Dame also won its first game at home versus a ranked team when the Irish defeated 7th-ranked Syracuse, 12-7, on April 3. The Irish also won their first-ever NCAA tournament game when they defeated Ohio State on May 9 by an 11-7 score.

2003 SCHEDULE: Notre Dame’s 2003 schedule features nine games versus teams ranked in the IWLCA poll. They are: Duke (#2), Georgetown (#4), Cornell (#6), Syracuse (#8), Yale (#12), Ohio State (#16), Stanford (#17), Northwestern (#19) and Vanderbilt (#20), . The Irish came into the season ranked in the top 10, as they were picked seventh in the IWLCA poll and fifth by Inside Lacrosse Magazine.

NOT WASTING ANY TIME: Freshman Mary McGrath (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) wasted little time getting on the scoresheet for the Irish as she scored her first collegiate goals versus Cornell with 12:57 left in the first half to tie the game at 2-2. She scored again in Notre Dame’s 19-4 win at Ohio University.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Two members of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program have been selected to Inside Lacrosse Magazine’s preseason all-American teams. Midfielder Danielle Shearer was a first-team selection while goalkeeper Jen White was chosen to the second team. Shearer, along with graduated defender Kathryn Lam were the first two all-Americans in Notre Dame history last season as both were chosen to the second team. Shearer was the BIG EAST midfielder of the year as she led Notre Dame with 39 goals and 20 assists for 59 points. White was a first-team all-BIG EAST selection as she set school records for wins (13), goals-against average (7.49) and save percentage (.545) in her junior year.

THE CAPTAINS: The Irish will have three new players serving as captains this season. Seniors Elizabeth Knight (Baltimore, Md.), Kelly McCardell (West Chester, Pa.) and Danielle Shearer will serve as the team’s captains this season.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Lacrosse runs in the Simon family as junior Meredith Simon is joined at Notre Dame by brother, Eric, who is a member of the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse program. The senior is one of three team captains in the 2003 season. The women’s team also includes one set of sisters as senior attack player Angela Dixon and sophomore goalkeeper Carol Dixon are the second set of sisters to play for the Irish. They join Amy and Mara Grace who were team members in the first year of the program (1997-98).

VERSUS THE IVYS: The Irish were 1-2 versus teams from the Ivy League last season. Notre Dame lost a 10-9 game to Cornell, defeated Yale 11-8 and then lost to Princeton, 11-5, in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Princeton. With two losses to Ivy League school’s this season (Cornell and Yale), the Irish are now 6-9 all-time versus teams from the Ivy League

NEW ASSISTANTS: Irish head coach Tracy Coyne added two new assistants to her staff during the summer. Brooke Crawford, a 1999 graduate of North Carolina where she was a three-time all-American on defense. She served as an assistant last season at George Mason and prior to that was at the University of Connecticut for two seasons. Jen Newitt, a 2002 graduate of Dartmouth where she led the Big Green in scoring with 39 goals and 18 assists on the way to all-American honors. Crawford will work with the defense while Newitt handles the offense.

MORE NEW FACES: Notre Dame added 11 new faces to its roster with one of its biggest recruiting classes ever.

THE LONGEST GAME: Notre Dame’s heartbreaking 10-9 loss to 7th-ranked Duke (April 12) in three overtimes goes down as the longest game in the history of the women’s lacrosse program. The total time for the game was 71:45 as Duke got the winning goal with 15 seconds left in the third overtime period. In that game the Irish trailed 8-6 and got goals from Maureen Henwood and Meredith Simon with 1:40 left to send the game to overtime. Simon’s goal came with 19 seconds left in the game. The Irish have played three overtime games in their history and are 2-1 in those games.

BIG SHOES TO FILL: Coach Tracy Coyne and her coaching staff will be looking to replace two key midfielders lost to graduation. Natalie Loftus (first team all-BIG EAST) and Alissa Moser (second-team all-BIG EAST) combined for 56 goals and 19 assists last season. Loftus had a career-high 40 points on 27 goals and 13 assists and Moser had career-bests in goals (29), assists (6) and points (35). Notre Dame’s heartbreak. The Irish will be looking for seniors Anne Riley (Marblehead, Mass.) and Eleanor Wielle (Garden City, N.Y.) and freshman Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) to fill those shoes.

TEAM USA: Notre Dame is represented on the U.S. National Developmental Team by four players. Current Irish standout Danielle Shearer is the only active team member on the squad. She is joined by defender Kathryn Lam (’02) who is a two-year member of the team. Current Irish assistant coaches, Brooke Crawford and Jen Newitt, are also team members.