May 30, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. – For just the second time in the 10-year history of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program, three Irish players have been selected Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA)/U.S. Lacrosse All-Americans in one season.
Senior attack/midfielder Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.), the leading goal scorer and point producer in the nation was selected first team All-American. She becomes just the second first-team All-American in the program’s history, joining Meredith Simon `04 who was a first team choice in 2004. Foote also becomes the first two-time IWLCA All-American in the program’s history as she took third team honors in 2005.
Joining Foote on the IWLCA All-American team is freshman attack Jillian Byers (Northport, N.Y.) who was a second team selection in her rookie year at Notre Dame. She becomes the first Notre Dame freshman to take All-American honors and is just one of two freshmen among the 48 players selected to the three IWLCA teams, joining Richmond’s Mandy Friend (third team). Sophomore Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) was also selected for the first time as she took third team honors. The last time the Irish had three players selected to the IWLCA/US Lacrosse All-American team was 2004 when Simon (first team) was joined by defender Andrea Kinnik `04 (second team) and midfielder Abby Owen `04 (third team). ” Considering the impact that the three of them had on our team this year, this is well-deserved recognition for Crysti, Jillian and Caitlin,” said Irish head coach Tracy Coyne.
“As a unit, they are one of the most gifted groups of players that I have ever coached. Their creative styles blended well together. They seemed to know where each other was all the time and created a lot of scoring chances off of broken plays. Some of their best plays didn’t come off of scripted plays, but because they had the ability to create something due to their athletic ability and outstanding lacrosse skills.”
Foote has had a season to remember during her senior campaign. The Tewaaraton Trophy finalist led the nation in goals (74) and points (114) while leading Notre Dame to its best season ever (15-4) with a trip to the NCAA Final Four. The BIG EAST attack player of the year, Foote was a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection and was a first team IWLCA West/Midwest region choice. During 2006, Foote set Notre Dame records for goals (74), assists (40), points (114) and draw controls. In the NCAA rankings, she was second in points-per-game (3.86) and second in points-per-game (6.00). An NCAA all-tournament selection, Foote finished her Notre Dame career as the all-time leader in goals (161), assists (76) and points (237). She opened the year by setting Irish records for goals (9) and points (11) in a game in a 23-11 win at California and never looked back. Foote led the team with 44 ground balls, was fourth with 31 ground balls and fifth in caused turnovers with 17.
” Crysti’s play this season set her apart from everyone,” said Coyne.
“Being named first team All-American is the exclamation point on her season and career. She is very deserving of this honor because of her hard work and determination. She put it on the line every day in practice and in games. Crysti always brought her “A” game and she leaves our program as one of its’ most honored players.”
Jillian Byers, a second team selection, was one of just two freshmen selected to the IWLCA All-American teams.
Byers came into her first year at Notre Dame recognized as one of the top freshman in the country and did not disappoint. She finished her rookie season with 54 goals and 24 assists for 78 points, the second highest single-season point total in Irish history, behind Foote’s 114 this season. All three totals set Notre Dame rookie records with the 78 points almost doubling the previous freshman record of 41 points. The talented attack player led the Irish with four game winning goals, including a game winner in sudden death overtime in a 12-11 victory against Stanford on Feb. 26 and a winner with 18 seconds left in an 11-10 win against Vanderbilt. Byers also chipped in 23 ground balls, 30 draw controls and 15 caused turnovers in her first season with the Fighting Irish. She was a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection and was a first team IWLCA West/Midwest Region choice.
“Jillian is a phenomenal athlete and its great to see her get this kind of recognition for the season that she had,” said Coyne.
“She put up some incredible numbers in her first season and its exciting to see what the future holds for her at Notre Dame.”
Speedy Caitlin McKinney was a third team IWLCA All-American selection in her second season at Notre Dame.
McKinney had a career year in her second season with the Irish and became the youngest player in the program’s history to reach the 100-point plateau, doing it in 33 games. For the year, McKinney finished third in scoring with 42 goals and 22 assists for 64 points. The fleet-footed attack player opened the field with her lightning-like speed and quickness. Like Foote and Byers, McKinney was a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection and a first team IWLCA all-region choice, following up a freshman year that saw her garner second team accolades for both teams. In 34 games at Notre Dame, McKinney has 70 goals and 34 assists for 104 career points. That ranks her seventh all-time in goals, sixth in assists and seventh in points.
“Caitlin is very deserving of this honor. She worked hard to elevate her game this season to where it is today,” explained Coyne.
“Her work with a speed coach, her grit and determination really paid off. She is learning how to better use the skills she has that set her apart from others. She’s an exciting player who will continue to get better in the years to come.”
Notre Dame’s terrific trio finished the year as the top-scoring trio in one season for the seventh-ranked Irish. In 19 games, the threesome recorded 170 goals to go with 86 assists for a whopping 256 points.