April 4, 2003
THE CONNECTICUT GAME: The Irish play host to the first of their three BIG EAST home games this weekend when they play host to the Connecticut Huskies on Sat., April 5. Game time is 12:00 noon at the Loftus Center. This game has been moved indoors due to a home track meet at Moose Krause Stadium. The Irish come into the game with a 3-4 overall record and a 2-1 mark in league play after Wednesday’s 9-6 loss to eighth-ranked Syracuse. Notre Dame is currently ranked 15th in the most recent IWLCA poll. The Irish have lost three of their last four games and will look to turn things around versus the Huskies. Connecticut comes into the game ranked 19th in the nation with a 5-2 overall record and an 0-1 mark in BIG EAST play. UConn last played on Sunday, March 30, as the Huskies won a 9-5 home decision versus New Hampshire. Their lone loss in the BIG EAST came on March 29 when they dropped a 9-5 decision to Syracuse. Starting with the Connecticut game, Notre Dame will play six of its final eight games at home. The Irish are next in action on Friday, April 11 when they travel to North Carolina to face the Duke Blue Devils in a 4:00 p.m. game.
IRISH VERSUS HUSKIES: Notre Dame and Connecticut meet for the fifth time in the history of the two programs on Saturday. The Irish have a 3-1 edge in the first four games, going 2-0 at Notre Dame and 1-1 at Storrs, Conn. Last season, the Irish took a 12-9 win at the home of the Huskies with Danielle Shearer (Sr., Hampstead, Md.) and Meredith Simon (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) leading the offense. Shearer had three goals and an assist in the game while Simon scored three times in the victory. UConn’s Tracy Mullaney led all scorers with four goals and one assist in the contest. Jen White (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) made nine saves while the Huskies’ April Pollock made 17 stops in goal for Connecticut.
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 52-40 (.565) record at Notre Dame and is 166-66 (.716) 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 3-1 in her career versus Connecticut. 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.
SYRACUSE RECAP: Notre Dame dropped a 9-6 decision at #8 Syracuse on Wednesday night, giving them four losses this season, all to ranked teams. Danielle Shearer scored three free-position goals in the game and Meredith Simon added the three final goals in the loss. Syracuse jumped out to a 5-0 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the first half. Shearer cut the lead to 5-1, but Syracuse got a goal with three seconds left in the first half to go to the intermission ahead 6-1. Shearer cut the lead to 6-3 with two consecutive goals in the first three minutes of the second half, but Syracuse answered with a three-goal run to make it 9-3. Simon scored the last three goals of the game with her third coming with just under seven minutes left in the contest to cut the lead to 9-6, but that was as close as the Irish would get. Notre Dame had 22 shots on goal in its second-half rally, but goalkeeper Carla Gigon gave up just five goals. She finished the game with 11 saves while Irish goalkeeper Jen White made 12 saves in the loss.
BIG EAST SCORING: Danielle Shearer and Meredith Simon have gotten off to strong starts on the scoresheet in BIG EAST games this season. In three league games, Shearer has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. Simon is right behind her with eight goals and two assists for 10 points in the BIG EAST. Overall, the scoring duo ranks 1-2 for the Irish. In seven games, Shearer has 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points, while Simon has 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points.
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 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points in seven games. She was the team’s top scorer as a junior with 39 goals and 20 assists for 59 points.
BIG EAST CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: For the second time this season, senior midfielder/attack standout Danielle Shearer was selected as BIG EAST Co-Player of the Week (for the week ending March 31). During two games, Shearer scored nine points (five goals and four assists) with three ground balls and seven draw controls. In the March 25 loss to #16 Ohio State, Shearer scored two goals with one assist and four draw controls. She followed that with a six-point effort (three goals, three assists) plus three ground balls and three draw controls.
SHEAR(ER) SCORER: Senior Danielle Shearer has been a tough player to stop during her Notre Dame lacrosse career. She comes into Saturday’s game with Connecticut as the owner of a 28-game scoring streak that began on April 25, 2001 during her sophomore year. In the 28-game streak, Shearer has scored 66 goals with 37 assists for 103 points. With three goals versus Syracuse, Shearer now has scored at least two or more points in 18 straight games dating back to last season. She currently ranks second all-time in goals (111), third in assists (52) and second in points (163). 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.
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.
SIMON SAYS: Junior Meredith Simon turned in her third game this season with three or more goals in the 9-6 loss to Syracuse. She had a career-high four goals and two assists in Notre Dame’s 16-13 win at Virginia Tech (March 29). For the junior, the six-point game was her second this season with six or more points as she turned in a seven-point game (three goals and four assists) in the 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) in May of 2003. A clutch scorer late in games a year ago, Simon is second on the Irish in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points through the first seven games.
SCORING STREAKS: Two Irish players are in the midst of scoring streaks going into the game versus Connecticut:
Danielle Shearer -28 games (66g, 37a, 103 pts)
Meredith Simon – 3 games (8g, 3a, 11 pts)
VERSUS THE BEST: Notre Dame’s four losses this season have come to nationally ranked teams. The 9-6 loss to #8 Syracuse was the third in the last four games to a ranked team. The Irish lost 12-9 to 16th-ranked Ohio State (3/25) and prior to that dropped a 7-6 decision to 13th-ranked Yale (March 18). The Irish also lost their season opener to ninth-ranked Cornell (13-5). All-time versus ranked teams, Notre Dame is 6-24 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).
SCORING MACHINE: Junior midfielder Abby Owen (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) has to be considered 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 six games. After being held scoreless in her first game this season, Owen has been one of Notre Dame’s top scorers with nine goals and five assists for 14 points over the last six contests. She equaled a career-best versus Virginia Tech with two goals and two assists for four points. She did the same thing in Notre Dame’s 13-12 win over Boston College. That gives her eight points in three BIG EAST games this season as she was shutout at Syracuse. Owen picked up her first career hat trick in the 7-6 loss to Yale (3/18).
TOO MANY GOALS: Through the first seven games this season, the Irish have surrendered 12 or more goals four times (Cornell, Boston College, Ohio State and Virginia Tech). Last season, the Irish gave up 12 or more goals just twice in 18 games – 12 to Ohio State and 17 to Georgetown.
WILY WEILLE: Senior midfielder Eleanor Weille (Sr., Garden City, N.Y.) has had a great deal of success this season in BIG EAST games. She scored her second hat trick of the season in the 16-13 win at Virginia Tech. That came after a career-best five-point game (three goals, two assists) in the 13-12 win at Boston College (3/15). The Syracuse Orangewomen were able to stop Weille as she was held off the scoreboard in the 9-6 loss on April 2. In three BIG EAST games, Weille has six goals and two assists for eight points. On the year, she already has equaled her career-high with eight goals and has three assists for 11 points.
FISCHER ON THE ATTACK: Junior attack standout Lauren Fischer (Pittsburgh, Pa.) has picked up where she left off last season in the goal scoring department. Through her first seven games this sesaon, Fischer has recorded eight goals on 19 shots for the Irish for a .421 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.
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.
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 365 saves in her Notre Dame career. She is also the school’s all-time leader in games played (45) and goals-against average (8.68). 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 (Suffern, N.Y.) 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 scored her first collegiate goal. Sophomore Lindsay Shaffer (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) played in her first collegiate game and picked up her first 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.
2003 SCHEDULE: Notre Dame’s 2003 schedule features nine games versus teams ranked in the IWLCA poll. They are: Duke (#3), Georgetown (#6), Cornell (#7), Syracuse (#8), Ohio State (#10), Yale (#14), Stanford (#16), Connecticut (#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.
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 and Lauren Fischer 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).
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.
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: With losses to Cornell and Yale, the Irish are 0-2 this season versus teams from the Ivy League. All-time, the Irish are 6-9 versus the Ivy League’s teams.
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 11 freshmen are:
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.