May 22, 2008
Note Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team has had five players selected to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’Association’s (IWLCA) all-West/Midwest Region team for the 2008 season. Players selected to the all-Regional team are now eligible for selection to the IWLCA All-American teams that will be announced following the NCAA finals this weekend.
The Irish had three players selected to the first team – attack standout Jillian Byers (Jr., Northport, N.Y.) and midfielders Shaylyn Blaney (Fr., Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Caitlin McKinney (Jr., Lafayette Hill, Pa.) – while defenders Shannon Burke (Jr., Baltimore, Md.) and Becky Ranck (Sr., Radnor, Pa.) were second team selections.
For Byers and McKinney, this is their third consecutive season being named first team all-region with McKinney being an all-region selection in all four of her years at Notre Dame (2005 – second team). Byers, McKinney and Crysti Foote `06 are the only Irish players to be named all-region in each of their first three seasons and first team three times overall. McKinney and Foote are the only four-time selections in the program’s 12-year history. Blaney is just one of two freshmen nationally to be named to a first team all-region teams, joining Syracuse goalkeeper Liz Hogan, who was a first team selection on the Northeast region team.
Blaney turned in an outstanding rookie year in 2008, teaming with Caitlin McKinney to give Notre Dame one of the top midfield duos in the nation. The talented freshman finished second in goals (43) and fourth in scoring on the team with 52 points. Her goal and point totals are the second-best totals for an Irish freshman, trailing just Byers’ rookie marks of 54 goals and 78 points in 2006. A second team all-BIG EAST selection, Blaney was selected to the BIG EAST all-tournament team after scoring a career-high five goals in the BIG EAST semifinal game versus Georgetown. For the season, Blaney chipped in eight games with four or more points. She added 26 ground balls, 43 draw controls and 22 caused turnovers in her first year with the Irish.
Byers continued to add to her impressive numbers at Notre Dame as she became the first player in school history to have three seasons of 50 or more goals and three seasons with 66 or more points. As a junior, Byers led the Irish with 67 goals and 81 assists while also setting the single-season record with 52 draw controls. A three-time unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection, the talented attack player became Notre Dame’s all-time goal-scoring leader as she finished the year with 179 goals, passing Foote’s mark of 161 in just 48 career games. Along with McKinney, Byers was one of 18 players nominated for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy, becoming just the fourth player in Irish history to be nominated. A two-time second team IWLCA All-American, Byers finished the year ranked first in goals, third in points (225) and seventh in assists with 46.
McKinney closed out her Notre Dame career in 2008, finishing second on the team in scoring with 38 goals and 25 assists for 63 points. A four-time all-BIG EAST selection, she was named the conference’s midfielder of the year and 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, McKinney has been selected All-American twice in her career – third team as a sophomore and second team as a junior in 2007. 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. She 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.
Burke makes her first appearance on the all-region team after turning in her best season for the Irish. A second team all-BIG EAST selection, Burke contributed at both ends of the field. Offensively, she had career highs in goals (8), assists (3) and points (11) but made her mark defensively. She finished second on the team with 33 ground balls, was second in draw controls with 51 and led the team in caused turnovers with 32. A BIG EAST defensive player of the week, she finished fourth in the conference with 1.56 caused turnovers per game. For the year, she had career-best games with seven draw controls against Georgetown (April 12) and five caused turnovers against Vanderbilt (April 16) while equaling her career-high with five ground balls versus Syracuse (March 16).
Ranck was a three-year starter for the Irish and the leader of Notre Dame’s back line. A second team all-BIG EAST selection, Ranck posted career highs with 30 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers, finishing tied for third and second in each category respectively. She closed out her career at Notre Dame ranked second on the all-time caused turnover list with 83 for her career. A team captain in 2008 along with McKinney, she was a respected team leader and a steady performer during her career.
Notre Dame finished the 2008 season with a 12-7 overall record and was 4-1 in the BIG EAST, good for second place in the conference. The Irish advanced to their fourth NCAA appearance in the last seven years, losing in the first round to Northwestern on May 12. The Irish closed the year ranked 10th in the IWLCA poll and ninth in the Inside Lacrosse rankings.
IWLCA West/Midwest All-Regional Team
First TeamShaylyn Blaney, Fr., Notre Dame, MHilary Bowen, Jr., Northwestern, AJillian Byers, Jr., Notre Dame, ASasha Cielak, Sr., Vanderbilt, DMargie Curran, Sr., Vanderbilt, AChristy Finch, Sr., Northwestern, DMeredith Frank, Jr., Northwestern, MCara Giordano, Jr., Vanderbilt, MJessi Lieb, Sr., Penn State, MJen May, Sr., Oregon, MCaitlin McKinney, Sr., Notre Dame, MKaren Morton, Jr., Denver, MHannah Nielsen, Jr., Northwestern, AKelly O'Connell, Sr., Denver, DLaura Shane, Sr., Stanford, GKKristen Slahor, Sr., Ohio State, A
Second TeamCristen Andrews, Sr., California, MShannon Burke, Jr., Notre Dame, DAlicia Burkhart, Jr., Oregon, DSteph Coyne, Jr., Denver, AAli Flury, So., Denver, MTyneisha Harris, Sr., Duquesne, DMorgan Lathrop, Jr., Northwestern, GKKathleen McNish, Jr., Duquesne, ABecky Ranck, Sr., Notre Dame, DKimberly Ross, Sr., St. Bonaventure, MKerry Shea, Jr., Penn State, MBrooke Shinaberry, Sr., Vanderbilt, GKDanielle Spencer, So., Northwestern, AIlsa van den Berg, Jr., Oregon, ABrittney Zerhusen, So., Ohio State, MDanni Zuralow, Sr., California, A