Sophomore Caitlin McKinney and the Notre Dame women's lacrosse team open the BIG EAST schedule in Florida on Thursday, March 16 vs. Loyola (Md.)

Irish Close Out BIG EAST Schedule With A Visit To #13 Syracuse Orange

April 27, 2005

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Notre Dame closes out the 2005 road schedule and BIG EAST docket this weekend when the Irish travel to Syracuse, N.Y., on Saturday, April 30th to meet the 13th-ranked Syracuse Orangewomen in a 1:00 p.m. (EDT) game at the Carrier Dome. Notre Dame goes into the game with a 3-10 overall record and is 1-3 in BIG EAST Conference play. The Irish are coming off their fourth, heartbreaking, one-goal loss of the season on Sunday, April 24, when they dropped a 10-9 decision at Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays scored twice in the final 28 seconds with the game winner coming with three seconds left. Syracuse comes into the game looking to secure second place in the BIG EAST as the Orangewomen own a 10-4 overall mark and a 3-1 record in BIG EAST play. The best the Orange can do is second place as Georgetown has already clinched first place with a 5-0 league mark. Syracuse will look to bounce back from a 20-4 loss to No. 7 Maryland last Sunday. Prior to that, the Orange had knocked off Rutgers by a 14-9 margin on Friday, April 22 to move into second in the league race with a 3-1 tally. Connecticut sits in third with a 3-2 BIG EAST record. Following Saturday’s game, Notre Dame returns home to face Ohio State in the regular-season finale at Moose Krause Stadium. Game time is set for 12:00 noon (EST) and the contest will be carried live by College Sports Television (CSTV).


Notre Dame and Syracuse have met seven times in the all-time series with the Orangewomen owning a 5-2 record in the first seven meetings. At Syracuse, the Irish have never won and are 0-3 all-time. At Notre Dame, the Irish have a 2-1 edge in three meetings. On neutral fields, the Irish are 0-1. Last season, the two teams met at Notre Dame with the Irish taking a 13-11 win at Moose Krause Stadium. Meredith Simon recorded a career-best eight points (4g, 4a) in the win. Crysti Foote (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) scored three goals while Jackie Bowers (Sr., Springfield, Pa.) added three assists. Lauren Fischer had three goals and an assist and Meghan Murphy (So., Centennial, Colo.) added a single goal for Notre Dame. Carol Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) had five saves in the win.

HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne:

Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne is in her ninth season as the head coach of the Irish and is the only coach in the program’s Division I history. Coyne owns a 72-58 (.554) record at Notre Dame and is 186-84 (.689) in her 18-year coaching career. In 2004, she led the Irish to a 12-5 record and a 4-2 mark in the BIG EAST, good for second in the league standings. Coyne also was selected as the 2004 BIG EAST coach of the year. Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last three years where the Irish lost to Northwestern, 10-8, in a first-round tournament game. 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. Coyne is 2-5 all-time versus Syracuse.


For the fourth time this season, the Irish dropped a one-goal decision, this time, it was Johns Hopkins rallying with four goals in the final 5:15 of play to pull out a 10-9 win in Baltimore, Md. Notre Dame was led offensively by four players with two goals each. Lena Zentgraf (Jr., Charlottesville, Va.) had two goals and an assist for a three-point afternoon. Brittany Fox (Jr., Annapolis, Md.), Mary Carpenter (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.) and Caitlin McKinney (Fr., Lafayette Hill, Pa.) each had two goals while Crysti Foote (1g, 1a) added the ninth goal of the game for the Irish. Notre Dame led 5-4 at halftime and snapped a 6-6 tie in the second half with three consecutive goals by Fox, Carpenter and McKinney to take a 9-6 lead with under 12 minutes left. The score stayed that way until 5:15 remained when Mary Key scored for the Blue Jays to start the final four-goal rally. Lauren Schwarzmann scored unassisted with 3:11 left to make it 9-8 and Key set up Kelley Putnam with 28 seconds left to tie the game, 9-9. Johns Hopkins controlled the draw and Key drove to the goal and was fouled with three seconds left. She converted the free-position shot for the winning goal and a 10-9 final. Irish goalkeeper Carol Dixon recorded 15 saves in the win as JHU out shot the Irish 33-23 for the game. The 15 saves were a career best for the Notre Dame keeper.


Notre Dame’s regular-season finale on Saturday, May 7 versus Ohio State will now start at 12:00 noon (EST) in South Bend. It had been scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. in South Bend, but the start will now come one hour earlier. The game will be televised live by CSTV.


Based on’s lastest computer rankings, the Irish have the eighth toughest schedule in the country. Ahead of Notre Dame are Duke, Loyola, Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia, Princeton and Vanderbilt. In’s latest computer rankings, the Irish are ranked 22nd of 82 Division I programs.


Notre Dame’s meeting with No. 13 Syracuse is the sixth game this season for the Irish versus a ranked team. They are 0-5 in the first five games, losing to Northwestern, James Madison, Duke, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. All-time versus ranked teams, Notre Dame is 15-37 after going 6-4 last season. Based on this week’s IWLCA poll, the Syracuse game will be the last of the year versus a ranked team. Based on this week’s poll, nine of the 20 teams currently ranked have faced Notre Dame this season although they all weren’t ranked when the Irish played them. The list includes: No. 1 Northwestern, No. 3 Duke, No. 6 Georgetown, No. 11 Johns Hopkins, No. 13 Syracuse, No. 15 Connecticut, No. 17 Cornell, No. 18 Vanderbilt and No. 20 Stanford.


Despite the team struggles in the win column this season, junior Crysti Foote is in the midst of a career year for the Irish. She comes into this week’s game leading Notre Dame in scoring with 27 goals and 14 assists for 41 points. The 14 assists and 41 points are career highs for Foote. Her best goal-scoring season came in 2003 as a freshman when she had 27 goals. She currently ranks fifth in goals (80), is fifth in assists (34) and is fifth in points scored (114). She currently has an eight-game point-scoring streak (19-10-29).


When Notre Dame and Stanford combined for 11 goals in their April 10th game, it tied the Irish record for fewest goals combined in a game. On April 28, 2002, the Irish combined with Rutgers to score 11 goals (a 9-2 Notre Dame win).


So far this season, the Irish have suffered four one-goal losses, three by 10-9 scores. Notre Dame lost two of those games in overtime – at Vanderbilt and Boston College. The third came on April 24 at Johns Hopkins by a 10-9 margin. The fourth one-goal loss was a 6-5 loss to Stanford on April 10th. Three of the teams other losses came by three goals – 11-8 at Cornell, 13-10 to Connecticut and 11-8 to Duke.

In seven of the 10 losses, the Irish have lost by a combined 13 goals (1.86 goals per game). The 14-6 loss to Georgetown was the largest scoring difference (8 goals) this year. The Irish also lost 10-5 to James Madison and 18-11 to Northwestern. The 10 losses have been by a total of 33 goals (3.30 per loss).


Notre Dame goalkeeper, Carol Dixon, made a career-high 15 saves in the 10-9 loss to Johns Hopkins on April 24. Her previous best was a 14-save effort on April 10, 2004 in a 14-6 win over Ohio State.


Caitlin McKinney (Fr., Lafayette Hill, Pa.) ranks second on the Irish in scoring with 22 goals and 11 assists for 33 points. With two games left in the season, she currently owns the fourth-best points total for a Notre Dame freshman. She trails, Lael O’Shaughnessy and Courtney Calabrese who each had 41 points as freshmen in 1998 and Crysti Foote who recorded 38 points as a freshman in 2003.

Freshman Scoring Leaders:

1. Courtney Calabrese (1998) 38-3-41

Lael O’Shaughnessy (1998) 27-14-41

3. Crysti Foote (2003) 27-11-38

4. Caitlin McKinney (2005) 22-11-33

5. Danielle Shearer (2000) 21-10-31


Sophomore midfielder Meghan Murphy (Centennial, Colo.) will be sidelined for the remainder of the season after injuring her right knee on March 6 at Cornell. Murphy had six goals and one assist for seven points in the three games she played this season.


Junior midfielder Lena Zentgraf turned in the best offensive game of her career versus Rutgers on April 3 when she scored a career-high three goals and one assist for four points in the 12-9 win over Rutgers. She added a three-point game (2g, 1a) to her resume in the loss to Johns Hopkins. That extended her point-scoring streak to eight games (10-4-14). Coming into the season, Zentgraf had not scored a point. This year, she ranks fourth in scoring with 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points.


Junior Brittany Fox equalled Notre Dame’s longest point-scoring streak of the season with two goals versus James Madison. She has now scored in 11 straight games (17-5-22). That equals freshman Caitlin McKinney’s 11-game streak to start the season. McKinney had 20-11-31 in her streak. Notre Dame’s current point streaks:

Brittany Fox – 11 games (17-5-22)

Crysti Foote – 8 games (19-10-29)

Lena Zentgraf – 8 games (10-4-14)

Meghan Murphy – 3 games (6-1-7)


Junior attack Brittany Fox, Notre Dame’s top weapon off the bench for most of the season, broke into the starting lineup versus Georgetown and has now started the last two games. In 10 games off the bench, Fox had 15 goals and four assists for 19 points. In two games as a starter, she has two goals and one assist. For the year, she ranks third in scoring with 17 goals and five assists for 22 points. Included are two three-point games and a pair of games with three goals and one assist.


After playing in just two games as a freshman, sophomore midfielder Kaki Orr (Darien, Conn.) broke into the starting lineup for the Irish this season and is putting together a strong season. In 13 games this year, Orr now has 11 goals on 27 shots and an assist for 12 points. She also is second on the team and eighth in the BIG EAST in ground balls (31). Orr also ranks third on the team in draw controls (18).


Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon took over as Notre Dame’s top goalkeeper in 2004 and has now started 30 consecutive games between the pipes for the Irish. Last season she was 12-5 with an 8.57 goals-against average and a .505 save percentage while playing all but 3:28 minutes on the year. This year, Dixon has played all but 9:52 (versus Connecticut and Georgetown) and is 3-10 with a 10.59 goals against and a .463 save percentage. For her career, Dixon is now 15-15 with a 9.41 goals-against average and a .492 save percentage. She is second in games played (34), third in saves (292) and third in wins (15). She recorded a season-high and career-best 15 saves in the 10-9 loss to Johns Hopkins on April 24. Dixon leads the Irish in ground balls this season and is also the BIG EAST leader in that department.


A pair of sophomores have taken over a majority of playing time on defense for the Irish this season. Meaghan Fitzpatrick (So., Farmingdale, N.Y.) and Kristin Hopson (So., Rosemont, Pa.) have each made their presence known on the Notre Dame back line. Fitzpatrick has started 10 of the 12 games she has played and has 23 ground balls, 14 caused turnovers and six draw controls. Hopson has started nine of the 13 games she’s played in and has 15 ground balls, four caused turnovers and four draw controls. The are usually teamed up with fifth-year senior Bridget Higgins (Wilton, Conn.) as the top three defenders for the Irish.


The Irish have now lost two overtime games this season by a 10-9 score. On March 9, they fell at Vanderbilt by a 10-9 verdict and on March 26, Boston College took the win by the same score. In the nine-year history of the program, Notre Dame has now played nine overtime games, going 3-6 in those games. Remarkably, five of those nine overtime contests have ended with 10-9 scores.


Freshman Mary Carpenter recorded the second two-goal game of her Notre Dame career in the 10-9 loss to Johns Hopkins on April 24. She also scored two goals in the loss at Vanderbilt on March 9. In limited playing time, Carpenter has five goals and two assists for seven points this season.


Connecticut’s 13-10 win over the Irish marked the first time the Huskies had ever won in four tries at Notre Dame. The win was just the second for Connecticut in seven meetings with the Irish.


Senior captain Lindsay Shaffer (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) paced the Notre Dame offensive attack in the 10-5 loss at James Madison on March 13 when she turned in the first two-goal game of her career. Shaffer, who came into the season with no goals in 19 career games, has already scored five goals and one assist this season on 12 shots.


Notre Dame’s 10-9 overtime loss at Boston College marked the first time in seven all-time meetings that the Irish lost to the Eagles. Notre Dame is 6-1 all-time versus BC. The loss also marked the first time in five BIG EAST seasons that the Irish started the conference schedule with an 0-1 record.


Senior Jess Mikula (Chester, Md.) continues to be one of the top defensive players in the BIG EAST through 13 games this season. She currently leads the Irish with 25 draw controls and 20 caused turnovers and is third in ground balls with 29. Mikula is fourth in the BIG EAST in draw controls and tied for fifth in caused turnovers. She is 11th in ground balls. She scored her first goal of the season versus California and turned in career highs with six draw controls and six caused turnovers in the game.


Junior attack standout Crysti Foote has picked up right where she left off last season in the goal-scoring department. Through the first 13 games of the 2005 season, Foote leads the team in scoring with 27 goals and 14 assists for 41 points. She has twice this season been selected the BIG EAST offensive player of the week (Feb. 28 and April 4). As a sophomore, she scored 26 goals and added nine assists for 35 points in 17 games. She was a second team all-BIG EAST selection and was a second team IWLCA Mid-Atlantic Region selection. As a freshman, she had 27 goals and 11 assists for 38 points. Following her rookie season, Foote became the first Notre Dame women’s lacrosse freshman to be named to the IWLCA first team all-Mid-Atlantic region team. She was selected as a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse Magazine and was selected as a preseason all-BIG EAST selection in voting by the coaches. Foote will also play this summer for Team Canada in the 2005 World Cup at Annapolis, Md.


The 18 goals scored by Northwestern on March 3 were the most given up by the Irish in a game since an 18-9 loss at Vanderbilt on Apr. 13, 1999. The 18 goals are the most given up by Notre Dame at home since a 20-9 loss to Syracuse on April 11, 1998, the second year of the program.


Serving as captains for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team in 2005 will be seniors Carol Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.), Jess Mikula (Chester, Md.) and Lindsay Shaffer (Seneca Falls, N.Y.). Each player begins their first year as captains for the Irish.


Crysti Foote got her season off to a fast start with a career-high eight-point game (5g, 3a) game at Ohio University. The five goals was also a career high for the junior attack standout. She has since added a pair of six-point games versus California on March 22 and Connecticut on April 1. She had four goals and two assists in each game.


Junior Crysti Foote has been selected BIG EAST offensive player of the week twice this season. On April 4, she was the co-offensive player in the conference after scoring seven goals in games versus Connecticut and Rutgers. In the opening week of the season she turned in a career-high eight-point game (5g, 3a) in a 16-10 win over Ohio University. She also received honorable mention for Inside Lacrosse national player of the week honors. Senior Jess Mikula led Notre Dame’s defense in the win over Ohio. She grabbed three ground balls and had then career highs in caused turnovers (4) and draw controls (5) in the victory. For her play, Mikula was named the BIG EAST defensive player of the week.


Sophomore midfielder Meghan Murphy (Centennial, Colo.) had a career-high four goals and four points versus Ohio University. Her previous best was a three-goal game in her freshman year versus Cornell. Junior midfielder Lena Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) had a career-high two assist game in the Ohio victory and had a career-best three-goals and four points versus Rutgers (4/3). Lindsay Shaffer had a career-high two-goals in the 10-5 loss at James Madison on March 13. Freshman Heather Ferguson recorded a career-best three-point game (2g, 1a) in the 18-8 win over California. Fellow freshman Mary Carpenter (Rochester, N.Y.) had two goals at Vanderbilt and then had a two-assist game versus California on March 22. Brittany Fox has had a pair of four-point games (3g, 1a) at Vanderbilt (3/9) and versus California (3/22).


Tracy Coyne welcomes back two of her former players as members of her coaching staff for the 2005 season. Returning as an assistant coach is 2002 graduate Alissa Moser who replaced former assistant Jen Newitt last August. Moser was a two-time captain and four-time monogram winner during her playing days. A native of North Wales, Pa., Moser finished her career tied for sixth in points (85), is seventh in goals (67) and is first in draw controls (126). She will work with the Notre Dame offense in 2005. Also joining Coyne’s staff as a volunteer assistant is 2004 graduate Kristen Gaudreau. A two-time monogram winner, Gaudreau was a starter on defense in each of the last two seasons and helped lead the Irish to the second-best goals-against average (8.54) in the program’s history last season. She returned to Notre Dame to work on her Master’s Degree in accountancy.


Notre Dame is now 7-2 all-time in season openers after defeating Ohio University. The Irish are 7-2 in road openers and 5-4 in home openers after the loss to Northwestern in the first nine seasons of the women’s lacrosse program.


Notre Dame improved its record to 6-0 all-time versus Ohio University with the 16-10 win on Feb. 27. The Irish have now won three times at home versus the Bobcats and three times in Athens, Ohio. Ohio University just happens to be Irish head coach Tracy Coyne’s alma mater. She is a 1983 graduate.


Two Notre Dame players were selected by BIG EAST coaches as preseason all-BIG EAST team members. Making the list are senior Jess Mikula (Chester, Md.) and junior Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.). Both players were second team all-BIG EAST selections in 2004. Mikula recorded 33 ground balls and had 22 caused turnovers from here defensive position last season. Foote is Notre Dame’s top returning scorer after getting 26 goals with nine assists for 35 points last season. She was also named a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse Magazine.


Head Coach Tracy Coyne was named the BIG EAST coach of the year following the 2004 season. For Coyne, this was her first BIG EAST coach of the year honor. She is no stranger to coach of the year honors as in 1990 she was selected as the NCAA Division III coach of the year at Roanoke and was the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) coach of the year in 1990 and 1995. Prior to her stint at Roanoke (1990-96), Coyne spent two years at Denison College (1988-89) where she was the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) coach of the year in 1988.


Five members of the Notre Dame lacrosse team have family ties to the program and one other has ties to the men’s lacrosse program. Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.) played two seasons (2002 and 2003) with her sister, Angela, who graduated in May of 2003. Notre Dame’s third and fourth sister acts arrived on campus in the fall when twins Heather and Lindsey Ferguson (Newtown Square, Pa.) joined the Irish along with fellow freshman Julie Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) who is the sister of junior attack standout Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.). The Dixon’s, Ferguson’s and Foote’s give Notre Dame four sets of sisters to play on the women’s lacrosse team, joining Amy and Mara Grace who played in the first year of the program. Sophomore midfield/attack player, Megan O’Shaughnessy (Englewood, Colo.) is the cousin of Irish scoring great Lael O’Shaughnessy, a 2001 graduate. Sophomore defender Lena Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) is the niece of men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan and associate athletic director Boo Corrigan, as well as, the granddaughter of former Notre Dame athletic director Gene Corrigan.


With the dawning of a new season, several Notre Dame players made their first career starts in the opener versus Ohio University. Freshman Caitlin McKinney made her first start at midfield. Joining her in the midfield in their first starts were Lena Zentgraf (Jr., Charlottesville, Va.) and Kaki Orr (So., Darien, Conn.). Making her first career start on defense was sophomore Kristin Hopson (Rosemont, Pa.). Since the opener, Heather Ferguson has started seven games and Brittany Fox has made two starts, the first coming versus Cornell. Mary McGrath was in the starting lineup for the first time when the Irish defeated California on March 22.


Notre Dame had three players receive All-American honors in 2004, the most ever in the program’s eight-year history. Leading the way was senior Meredith Simon who became the school’s first-ever first team IWLCA All-American. She also was a second team Inside Lacrosse and All-American. Defensive standout Andrea Kinnik took IWLCA second team honors and was a third team selection by both Inside Lacrosse magazine and Midfielder Abby Owen also took All-American honors as a third team selection by both IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse magazine.


Notre Dame has now made two appearances in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament. In 2004, the Irish lost in the first round at Northwestern by a 10-8 score. In 2002, the Irish advanced for the first time, defeating Ohio State at Moose Krause Stadium, 11-7, before losing to top-ranked Princeton, 11-5, in the quarterfinals.


Notre Dame opened the 2004 season with 10 consecutive wins, the most ever for the Irish at the start of a season. Combined with wins in the final four games of 2003, Notre Dame put together a school-record 14-game winning streak. The streak went from 4/22/03 to 4/17/04. Prior to that, the longest winning streak the Irish ever had was a six-game streak from 3/13/01 to 3/31/01.