Mary McGrath made the first two starts of her career in Notre Dame's last two contests vs. California and Boston College.

Irish Continue Spring Break Trip With Games at Vanderbilt And #16 James Madison

March 8, 2005

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Notre Dame heads south for their Spring Break trip that will take them to Nashville, Tenn., and Harrisonburg, Va., for games versus Vanderbilt on Wed., March 9 and #16 James Madison on Sunday, March 13. The Irish head into the week with a 1-2 mark after losing their home opener to #3 Northwestern, 18-11, on March 3. They followed that with an 11-8 loss to Cornell on Sunday, March 6. Vanderbilt comes into Wednesday’s 1:00 p.m. (CST) game at the VU Lacrosse Complex with an 0-1 record after dropping its season-opener at Penn State, 15-7 on Feb. 26. James Madison starts the week with a 1-1 record and will play LeMoyne in Syracuse, N.Y. on March 9 before Sunday’s contest with the Irish. The Dukes opened the year with an 11-10 win over California and then lost to Yale on March 6 by a 14-7 score with both games played at home. Following the southern swing, the Irish return home for a nine-day break before facing the University of California at home on March 22 in a 4:30 p.m. game.

IRISH VERSUS VANDERBILT: Notre Dame has faced Vanderbilt once in every season of the program’s eight-year history. The Irish are 3-5 all-time versus the Commodores, going 2-2 at home and 1-3 in Nashville. Notre Dame has won the last three meetings between the two schools. Last year at Moose Krause Stadium, the Irish took an 11-8 victory. Notre Dame’s lone win at the VU Lacrosse Complex came on May 1, 2003 when the Irish took a 22-11 decision in the final game of the season.

IRISH VERSUS JAMES MADISON: Notre Dame has faced James Madison in women’s lacrosse twice in the two program’s histories with each team taking a victory. The Dukes won the first meeting on March 2, 2001, a 15-4 win at Harrisonburg, Va. Last season the two team’s battled in Orlando, Fla., at the Disney Sports Complex with the Irish defeating the Dukes, 9-7, on March 14th, 2004. The win capped Notre Dame’s most successful week in the program’s history as the Irish defeated No. 2 Duke on March 10 and four days later, downed No. 6 James Madison, on the way to being ranked No. 2 in the nation.

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 70-50 (.583) record at Notre Dame and is 184-76 (.708) 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 3-5 all-time versus Vanderbilt and 1-1 versus James Madison.

OUT OF THE TOP 20: For the first time since April 24, 2001, the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team finds themselves out of the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA) national rankings. The Irish started the season ranked 20th in the IWLCA poll, but the losses to #3 Northwestern and Cornell dropped the Irish to 1-2 and out of the poll. The Irish moved into the polls for the first time in the program’s history on April 24, 2001 after defeating #17 Delaware and #7 Yale to improve to 8-4 on the way to a 10-5 mark. They have been ranked in the preseason polls for 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and stayed in the polls every week since then.

NORTHWESTERN RECAP: Notre Dame battled back from a 9-4 first-half deficit to tie the game at 9-9 11:43 into the second half. From there though, No. 3 Northwestern went on a 9-2 run over the final 17:29 on the way to an 18-11 win over the Irish at the Loftus Center. Notre Dame was led offensively by freshman Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) who had three goals and one assist for four points. Junior Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) scored three goals for the Irish and sophomore midfielder Kaki Orr (Darien, Conn.) scored the first two goals of her Notre Dame career. Meghan Murphy (So., Centennial, Colo.), Kerry Van Shura (Jr., Bel Air, Md.) and Brittany Fox (Jr., Annapolis, Md.) had single goals for the Irish. Aly Josephs (five goals), Lindsey Munday (three goals and five assists) and Kristen Kjellman (four goals, two assists) paced the Wildcat attack. Northwestern out shot the Irish, 32-25, in the game. Carol Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) made eight saves for the Irish who have now lost three in a row to Northwestern.

CORNELL RECAP: The Irish fell behind 6-2 at halftime versus the Big Red of Cornell and could never get back in the game as they dropped an 11-8 decision in Ithaca, N.Y. Notre Dame mustered just 16 shots in the game. Kaki Orr led the Notre Dame offense with her second consecutive two-goal game. Lena Zentgraf (Jr., Charlottesville, Va.) and Mary McGrath (Jr., Bryn Mawr, Pa.) each had a goal and an assist in the game while Lindsay Shaffer (Sr., Seneca Falls, N.Y.), Caitlin McKinney, Meghan Murphy and Jackie Bowers (Sr., Springfield, Pa.) each had a goal in the loss. Margaux Viola had a five-point game (3g, 2a) to lead the Big Red. Carol Dixon, who faced 18 shots in the first half alone, held the Irish in the game with nine saves on the afternoon.

TOO MANY GOALS: 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.

ORR’S SCORES: After playing in just two games as a freshman, sophomore midfielder Kaki Orr broke into the starting lineup for the Irish this season and has had back-to-back two goal games versus Northwestern and Cornell for the first four goals of her Irish career.

NICE START: Another newcomer to the Notre Dame lineup this season is freshman midfielder Caitlin McKinney. In Notre Dame’s season-opening win at Ohio University, McKinney became the first Notre Dame freshman to score four goals in her first collegiate game. She followed that with three goals and an assist versus Northwestern and added another goal against Cornell. On the year, she is second in scoring for the Irish with eight goals and one assist for nine points.

FOOTE LOOSE: Junior attack standout Crysti Foote has picked up right where she left off last season in the goal-scoring department. Through the first three games of the 2005 season, Foote leads the Irish with eight goals and four assists for 12 points. A year ago, 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 finished third on the team in scoring with 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. After just three games this season, Foote is already ninth on Notre Dame’s all-time goals list (61), tied for eighth in assists (24) and tied for sixth in points (85). 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.

ON THE RIGHT FOOTE: 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.

IRISH SCORING STREAKS: Junior Crysti Foote owns the longest active scoring streak for the Irish. Going back to last season, Foote has now scored in six consecutive games with 15 goals and five assists for 20 points. Several other players have three game streaks:

Caitlin McKinney – 3 games (8-1-9)
Meghan Murphy – 3 games (6-1-7)
Jackie Bowers – 3 games (2-4-6)
Kaki Orr – 2 games (4-0-4)

BIG EAST HONORS: Junior Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) got her 2005 season off to a fast start in the 16-10 win over Ohio University. She scored a career-high five goals and eight points in the game to be named the BIG EAST offensive player of the week. She also received honorable mention for Inside Lacrosse national player of the week honors. Senior Jess Mikula (Chester, Md.) led Notre Dame’s defense in the win over Ohio. She grabbed three ground balls and had 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. It marked the first team either player has been selected one of the BIG EAST’s players of the week during their Notre Dame careers.

THE CAPTAINS: 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.

CAREER BESTS: Sophomore midfielder Meghan Murphy (Centennial, Colo.) had a career-high four goals and four points in the win over 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. The assists were the first two of her career. She added a second two-point game (1g, 1a) in the loss at Cornell.

WELCOME BACK: 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.

BEATING THE ALMA MATER: 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.

FOR OPENERS: 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.

PRESEASON HONORS: 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.

FAMILY TIES: 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.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Head coach Tracy Coyne likes to schedule strong competition. Last season, 10 of Notre Dame’s games came versus team’s ranked in the IWLCA top 20. In those 10 games, the Notre Dame was 6-4. The Irish opened the year with four consecutive wins versus ranked teams, beating No. 15 Stanford, No. 19 Cornell, No. 2 Duke and No. 6 James Madison. The wins over Duke and James Madison were the highest-ranked teams that the Irish have ever beaten. Following the four straight wins, the Irish lost three straight to No. 5 Georgetown, No. 11 Northwestern and No. 9 Johns Hopkins by a total of seven goals. They then closed the regular season with wins over No. 14 Syracuse and No. 11 Vanderbilt. Notre Dame’s season came to an end in the NCAA tournament when the Irish fell to No. 8 Northwestern, 10-8. The previous best year for the Irish versus ranked teams was the 2002 season when the Irish were 4-5. With the loss to No. 3 Northwestern on March 3, the Irish are now 15-33 all-time versus top 20 teams. This season, the Irish will face seven teams ranked in the preseason top 20. The list includes: #3 Northwestern, #4 Duke, #6 Johns Hopkins, #12 Syracuse, #13 James Madison and #16 Vanderbilt.

WELL GROUNDED: Goalkeeper Carol Dixon was credited with a career-high seven ground balls in the loss at Cornell. Crysti Foote equaled her career best with six ground balls in the contest.

FIRST TIMERS: 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.).

SLAMMING THE DOOR: Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon took over in goal for the Irish in 2004 after serving as the team’s back up in her first two seasons. In 2004, Dixon played all but 3:28 minutes on the year and turned in a 12-5 record with an 8.57 goals-against average and a .505 save percentage. She ranked 14th in the nation in goals-against average and that average was the second-lowest mark in the eight-year history of the program. This season, after three games, she is 1-2 with a 13.00 goals-against average and a .400 save percentage.

HEIR APPARENT: Senior defender Jess Mikula looks to be the top replacement on defense to graduated All-American Andrea Kinnik. Mikula was a second team All-BIG EAST selection last season as she had 33 ground balls (second among defensive) players and recorded 22 caused turnovers (tied for second on the team). Mikula was a preseason all-BIG EAST selection this season and is one of the key performers on Notre Dame’s veteran defensive squad. After three games, Mikula has seven ground balls, eight draw controls and five caused turnovers.

BOWERS POWERS: Senior attacker Jackie Bowers (Springfield, Pa.) will be asked to take a key role on the Irish attack this season, due to the graduation of four seniors from the offense. As a first-year starter in 2004, Bowers finished sixth on the team in scoring with career highs in goals (14), assists (11) and points (25). She will team with Crysti Foote to give the Irish a strong 1-2 punch at attack. Through three games, Bowers has two goals and four assists for six points.

COACH OF THE YEAR: 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.

FUTURE IRISH: Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne announced last November during the early-signing period that nine players will join the Irish women’s lacrosse squad for the 2005-06 school year.

CLOSE ONES: Notre Dame’s five losses in 2004 came by a grand total of 10 goals. The Irish suffered one-goal losses to Johns Hopkins (13-12) and Rutgers (7-6) and a pair of two-goal losses to Georgetown (9-7) and Northwestern (10-8 in NCAA tournament). The worst Notre Dame loss of the season was a four-goal loss versus Northwestern in the regular season (9-5).

ALL-AMERICANS: 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 womenslacrosse.com All-American. Defensive standout Andrea Kinnik took IWLCA second team honors and was a third team selection by both Inside Lacrosse magazine and womenslacrosse.com. Midfielder Abby Owen also took All-American honors as a third team selection by both IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse magazine.

NCAA APPEARANCES: 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.

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Notre Dame set school records in 2004 with 206 goals and 297 points. The graduating class of Meredith Simon (46g, 28a), Abby Owen (34g, 11a), Lauren Fischer (28g, 13a), Kassen Delano (20g, 7a), Kristen Gaudreau (7g, 1a), Andrea Kinnik (4g, 2a) and Mia Novic (1g, 2a) accounted for 140 goals, 64 assists and 204 points. That means the 2005 Irish will have to replace 67.9% of their goals, 70.3% of their assists and 68.7% of their total points from last year.

STREAKY IRISH: 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.