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

Irish Open Five-Game Home Stand With A Pair Of BIG EAST Games This Weekend

March 30, 2005

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Notre Dame will look to get back on the winning track this week as the Irish open a five-game home stand on Friday, April 1 when they play host to the University of Connecticut Huskies. Friday’s game has a 7:00 p.m. starting time under the lights at Moose Krause Stadium. On Sunday, April 3, the Irish play their third game in a row versus a BIG EAST opponent when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights visit South Bend for a 12:00 noon game. The Irish start the week with a 2-5 overall record and are 0-1 in BIG EAST action. Last week, Notre Dame downed the University of California, 18-8, on March 22nd at the Loftus Sports Center and then dropped their second 10-9 overtime decision of the year, this time, at Boston College on Saturday, March 26, for the team’s first BIG EAST loss of the year. The University of Connecticut comes into the week with a 5-2 overall record and is also 0-1 in the BIG EAST. The Huskies are coming off a 13-12 loss at home to No. 15 Syracuse on March 26. They also travel to Northwestern on Sunday, April 3. Rutgers is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in BIG EAST play this season. The Scarlet Knights lost on Monday at home to Old Dominion, 9-8, and will play at Northwestern on Friday before facing the Irish on Sunday afternoon. Following this week’s games, Notre Dame continues the home stand with games at home on Friday, Apr. 8 versus Duke and Sunday, Apr. 10 versus Stanford.


Notre Dame and Connecticut meet for the seventh time in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 5-1 edge in the first six meetings. The two teams met at Connecticut last April 3 with the Irish taking a 14-8 win. The Irish are 3-0 in games played at Notre Dame and 2-1 in the three games played at Storrs, Connecticut. In last season’s game, the two teams played to a 5-5 tie at halftime before the Irish broke the game open in the second half with nine goals. Meredith Simon (4g, 1a) and Kassen Delano (3g) paced the Notre Dame attack. Carol Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) made eight saves in goal. The Irish out shot the Huskies, 32-20 in the game.


This weekend’s meeting will be the sixth in the all-time series between Notre Dame and Rutgers in women’s lacrosse. The Irish hold a 3-2 edge in the first five games. Last season, Rutgers won a 7-6 decision at Piscataway, N.J. on April 25. The Irish are 2-0 in games played at Notre Dame and 1-2 in the three games played at Rutgers. In last year’s game, Rutgers’ Maggie Bopp scored twice in the final 1:09 of the game with the second goal, the game winner, coming with just 20 seconds left on the clock for the Scarlet Knight victory. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Irish after starting the season by winning their first 10 games. Abby Owen and Lauren Fischer had two goals each to lead the Irish.

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 71-53 (.573) record at Notre Dame and is 185-79 (.701) 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 5-1 all-time versus Connecticut and 3-2 versus Rutgers in her coaching career.


Junior attack standout Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) continues to climb on the Irish scoring charts this season. Coming into this weekend’s games, Foote leads the Irish in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points. That ties her for fifth in scoring in the BIG EAST. All-time, Foote now has 66 career goals and moves into eighth on Notre Dame’s goal-scoring list. She now ranks sixth in assists with 29 in her career. Her 95 career points rank her sixth on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list. With five more points, she will become the sixth player in the program’s nine-year history to reach 100 points in her career.


Freshman attack Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) continued her fast start for the Irish last week with four goals and two assists for six points in the two games played. After seven games, she leads the Irish with 14 goals and is second to Crysti Foote with 20 points on the year. She has scored in all seven games of her collegiate career, including four games with four points.


The Irish opened the BIG EAST schedule with a visit to Boston College on March 26 where Notre Dame dropped a 10-9 overtime decision to the Eagles. The Irish battled back from a 6-2 halftime deficit to tie the game at 9-9 with 1:07 left in regulation. Katherine Wagoner scored the lone goal in overtime for Boston College, just 26 seconds into the extra stanza, for the deciding goal. Caitlin McKinney and Crysti Foote paced the Notre Dame attack. McKinney had two goals and two assists while Foote had a goal and three assists for four points in the game. Mary McGrath (Jr., Bryn Mawr, Pa.) also scored two goals for the Irish while Jackie Bowers (Sr., Springfield, Pa.), Lena Zentgraf (Jr., Charlottesville, Va.), Lindsay Shaffer (Sr., Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and Brittany Fox (Jr., Annapolis, Md.) had single goals for Notre Dame. Carol Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) equaled a season high with 12 saves in the game.


Notre Dame snapped its four-game losing streak as the Irish returned home for an 18-8 win over the University of California at the Loftus Sports Center. Crysti Foote paced the Irish with six points on the afternoon (4 goals, 2 assists). Brittany Fox had her second four-point game of the year as she scored three goals with an assist. Freshman Heather Ferguson (Newtown Square, Pa.) added the first multiple-point game of her career as she scored twice with an assist for three points. Caitlin McKinney and Kaki Orr (So., Darien, Conn.) also had two goals in the win. Jackie Bowers, Mary McGrath, Lena Zentgraf, Jess Mikula (Sr., Chester, Md.) and Kerry Van Shura (Jr., Bel Air, Md.) each had solo goals in the win. The Irish jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first half only to see California score the first four goals of the second half to make it 9-7. From there, Notre Dame ran off nine straight goals over the final 20 minutes before Cal closed the scoring with the final goal of the game in the 18-8 win. Carol Dixon had six saves for the Irish as they defeated the Golden Bears for the second time in the all-time series.


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.


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. SLOW START: Notre Dame’s 2-5 start for the 2005 season is the slowest start in the program’s nine-year history. In 2000 and in 2003, the Irish started those seasons with a 3-4 record after seven games. In 2000, Notre Dame finished with a 5-10 record and in 2003, the Irish were 8-7.


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. In one-goal games, the Irish are 6-12 in nine seasons of play.


Junior attack Brittany Fox continues to provide a spark to the Notre Dame attack off the bench this season. In her last four games, Fox has scored eight goals with two assists for 10 points, including a pair of games with three goals and one assist. She goes into the weekend ranked third on the Irish in scoring with nine goals and two assists for 11 points in six games.


After playing the first 35 games of her Notre Dame career coming off the bench, junior attack Mary McGrath made the first two starts of her Irish career versus California and Boston College. Versus California, McGrath had a goal and an assist and at Boston College she provided a pair of goals. In her 35 games coming off the bench, McGrath proved to be an “energy” player as she had 22 goals and 12 assists for 34 points. She equaled a career high on March 13 with three points (1g, 2a) to lead the Irish in scoring versus James Madison.


Senior Jess Mikula continues to be one of the top defensive players in the BIG EAST through seven games this season. She currently leads the Irish with 18 draw controls and 14 caused turnovers and is second in ground balls with 19. Mikula is first in the BIG EAST in draw controls, second in caused turnovers and tied for fourth 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..


Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon currently leads Notre Dame and the BIG EAST in ground balls with 21 on the season. In goal, she has a 10.69 goals-against average and a .462 save percentage.


Freshman Caitlin McKinney has the longest scoring streak for the Irish this season as she has now scored in seven straight games (14-6-20). Other Notre Dame scoring streaks include:

Brittany Fox – 5 games (9-2-11)
Meghan Murphy – 3 games (6-1-7)
Mary McGrath – 3 games (4-3-7)
Crysti Foote – 2 games (5-5-10)
Jackie Bowers – 2 games (2-2-4)
Lena Zentgraf – 2 games (2-0-2)


Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon took over as Notre Dame’s top goalkeeper in 2004 and has now started 24 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 bu 3:28 minutes on the year. This year, Dixon has played every minute and is 2-5 with a 10.69 goals against and a .462 save percentage. For her career, Dixon is now 14-10 with a 9.18 goals-against average and a .498 save percentage. She is third in games played (29), third in saves (239) and third in wins (14).


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 this season on 11 shots.


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.


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 had back-to-back two goal games versus Northwestern and Cornell for the first four goals of her Irish career. In seven games this season, Orr now has seven goals on 14 shots. She also ranks third in ground balls (18) and draw controls (9).


Junior attack standout Crysti Foote has picked up right where she left off last season in the goal-scoring department. Through the first seven games of the 2005 season, Foote leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists for 22 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 seven games this season, Foote is already eighth on Notre Dame’s all-time goals list (66), sixth in assists (29) and sixth in points (95). 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.


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 six-point game versus California on March 22 when she had four goals and two assists.


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.


Junior Crysti Foote 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 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.


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. 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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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, 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 and to No. 16 James Madison, the Irish are now 15-34 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. Since then, Ohio State has also joined the national rankings as the Buckeyes are ranked 15th in the nation this week, while James Madison has dropped out.


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 each of the last two games for her first career starts and Brittany Fox made her first career start in the Cornell game. Mary McGrath was in the starting lineup for the first time when the Irish defeated California on March 22.


Senior defender Jess Mikula (Chester, Md.) 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 five games, Mikula has 11 ground balls, 15 draw controls and eight caused turnovers.


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).


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.


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.

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.


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.