May 28, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. – For the third consecutive year, Notre Dame women’s lacrosse players Caitlin McKinney (Sr., Lafayette Hill, Pa.) and Jillian Byers (Jr., Northport, N.Y.) have been selected to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association’s (IWLCA)/U.S. Lacrosse All-American team. McKinney was selected as a first team All-American, while Byers was a second team selection for the third straight season.
McKinney becomes the third player in the program’s history to be named first team All-American as she joins Meredith Simon `04 and Crysti Foote `06 who were first teamers in 2004 and 2006 respectively. McKinney and Byers also become the first Notre Dame women’s lacrosse players to be named All-American three times in their careers. McKinney was a third team choice in 2006, second team in 2007 before this year’s first team honor. Byers has been selected second team in each of her three years at Notre Dame.
“I’m pleased to see Caitlin (McKinney) and Jill (Byers) get the recognition that they deserve for another outstanding season,” said head coach Tracy Coyne.
The IWLCA and U.S. Lacrosse All-American teams will be honored at an awards banquet on June 14, 2008 in King of Prussia, Pa.
By taking first team All-American honors, McKinney closes out a brilliant career at Notre Dame. The 2008 BIG EAST midfielder of the year, she finished second on the team in scoring with 38 goals and 25 assists for 63 points. A four-time all-BIG EAST selection, she was a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection for the third consecutive season. McKinney finished her career as Notre Dame’s all-time assist leader with 80 and is second in points (232) and third in goals (152). A finalist, along with Byers for the Tewaaraton Trophy this season, the fleet-footed midfielder has been selected All-American in three consecutive seasons. Selected to the BIG EAST all-tournament team in 2008, McKinney owns the longest point streak in school history as she scored in 51 consecutive games from April 24, 2005 to April 9, 2008. The talented senior also got things done in the classroom as she was selected to ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA second team all-academic District Five team and was selected as a BIG EAST Aeropostale Scholar-Athlete Award winner for 2007-08. She was named the winner of Notre Dame’s Francis Patrick O’Connor Award that goes to the senior student-athlete who best exemplifies the true spirit of Notre Dame.
“It’s great to see Caitlin finish her Notre Dame career in such a distinguished manner by being named first team All-American,” said Coyne.
“She truly deserves the recognition for an outstanding year and the tremendous impact that she has had on our program. She brought a great deal of positive attributes to the team and truly embodied what it means to be a Notre Dame student-athlete.”
Byers continued her outstanding Notre Dame career during the 2008 campaign as she led the team in scoring with a career-high 67 goals to go with 14 assists for a career-best 81 points while also setting the single-season mark with 52 draw controls. The Northport, N.Y., native ranked 14th in the nation in points and tied for seventh in goals. She is the only Notre Dame player to ever score 50 or more goals in a season three times and also have 66 or more points in a season in three consecutive years. Byers became Notre Dame’s all-time goal-scoring leader with 179 in just three seasons. Her 81-point season was the second most in one season at Notre Dame. Along with McKinney, she was one of 18 nominees for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy, becoming just the fourth player in school history to be nominated. A three-time second team All-American, she finished her junior year ranked first in goals (179), third in points (225) and seventh in assists (46).
“Jill continues to distinguish herself as one of the top players in the country and is very deserving of All-American honors,” said Coyne.
“She continues to help us build our program and will continue to be a key player in our future success.”
McKinney and Byers helped Notre Dame to a 12-7 overall record and a 4-1 record in the BIG EAST, good for second place. They helped the Irish to their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and the second in their careers at Notre Dame. The Irish finished the year ranked Notre Dame finished the 2007 season with an 11-6 overall record and was 3-2 in BIG EAST play. The Irish closed the year ranked 10th in the IWLCA poll and ninth in the Inside Lacrosse rankings.