Feb. 25, 2004
THE SEASON OPENER
Notre Dame opens the 2004 season in California as the Irish travel to Berkeley to face the University of California Golden Bears on Friday, Feb. 27 in a game that will start at 330 p.m. (PST). This will be the first meeting between the two schools. California was 11-6 last season and 4-2 in the Mountain Pacific Lacrosse League (MPLL). The Bears are 1-1 on the season after opening with a 9-6 loss to Stanford on Feb. 19 before taking a 17-14 decision from Denver on Feb. 22. Notre Dame then remains in California to face 19th-ranked Stanford on Sunday, Feb. 29 in a 1200 noon (PST) start. The Cardinal are already 3-0 on the year with wins over UC-Davis, St. Mary’s and California. They face Ohio State on Feb. 27 before playing the Irish.
IRISH VERSUS CARDINAL
Notre Dame and Stanford have met four times in the series history with the Irish holding a 3-1 series lead. Notre Dame is 2-0 at Stanford and 1-1 at Moose Krause Stadium. The Cardinal won last season’s meeting at Notre Dame, knocking off the Irish with a 14-13 double-overtime win. Stanford was 14-4 overall last season and won its second consecutive MPLL title, defeating California in the title game.
HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne
Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne is in her eighth season with the Irish and is the only coach the program has ever known. Coyne owns a 57-43 (.570) record at Notre Dame and is 171-69 (.713) in her 17-year coaching career. In 2003, she led the Irish to an 8-7 record and a 4-2 mark in the BIG EAST, good for third in the league standings. In 2002, Coyle led the Irish to their first-ever NCAA tournament bid as Notre Dame advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion, Princeton, 11-5. 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.
BIG SHOES TO FILL
Coach Tracy Coyne and her coaching staff will look to replace seven graduated players who played key roles for the Irish during their four seasons at Notre Dame. Included in the group are two players – Danielle Shearer and Jen White – who own just about every record for their positions at Notre Dame. Shearer graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 130 goals and 66 assists for 196 points. She ended her career on a 36-game point-scoring streak that saw her get 85 goals and 51 assists from midway through the 2001 season. White is Notre Dame’s all-time goalkeeping leader. She holds Irish records for games (53), wins (31), minutes played (2,78915), saves (432), goals-against average (8.79). She holds the single-season records for games (18), wins (13), minutes (1,07945) and goals-against average (7.49). Also lost to graduation were starting defenders and 2003 co-captains Kelly McCardell and Elizabeth Knight. McCardell was a four-year starter while Knight started in two of her four seasons. The Irish also lose a pair of midfielders – Anne Riley and Eleanor Weille – who had career years in 2003 and attack standout Angela Dixon who turned in her best season in 2003.
Serving as captains for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team in 2004 will be seniors Andrea Kinnik (West Chester, Pa.) and Meredith Simon (Flemington, N.J.). For both players are first-year captains for the Irish.
Notre Dame defeated Team Canada in exhibition play on Feb. 14 by a 17-9 score at Notre Dame’s Loftus Center. Senior Lauren Fischer (Pittsburgh, Pa.) led the Irish attack with three goals and two assists. Meredith Simon (2g, 2a) added a four-point game with freshman Meghan Murphy (Centennial, Colo.) scoring three goals, Kristen Gaudreau (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) adding two goals and Kassen Delano (Sr., Alexandria, Va.) kicking in three points (1g, 2a).
On Feb. 21, the Irish participated in the Princeton Invitational that featured two 25-minute games versus Ohio State and Princeton and a regulation game versus Dartmouth. The Irish defeated Ohio State, 10-0, lost to Princeton, 7-0 and then lost to Dartmouth in the regulation game, 12-8.
During the 2003 season, Notre Dame played 10 of 15 games versus teams ranked in the top 20 in the nation. The 2004 season is no different. Based on the IWLCA preseason coaches poll, Notre Dame is scheduled to face nine teams ranked in the top 20 this season. In addition, five teams that received votes from the coaches are also on the 2004 schedule. The ranked teams include #4 Duke, #6 Georgetown, #8 James Madison, #9 Ohio State, #13 Syracuse, #14 Stanford, #15 Cornell, #16 Vanderbilt and #20 Johns Hopkins.
NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
When the Irish open the 2004 season at Cal-Berkeley, Carol Dixon will become the first goalkeeper to start a game for the Irish besides Jen White (’03) since the final game of the 2000 season. White started 48 consecutive games for Notre Dame, between 2001-2003. Dixon served as White’s backup the previous two seasons and saw action in five games last year, playing 121 minutes with a 8.93 goals-against average and a .571 save percentage. She was 0-0 on the year.
Meredith Simon is Notre Dame’s top returning scorer after recording 27 goals and 14 assists for 41 points in 2003. She was a first-team all-BIG EAST selection and a Brine/IWLCA all-region choice as a junior. In 47 career games, Simon has 63 goals and 21 assists for 84 points. Her totals rank her seventh in goals, sixth in assists and seventh in points scored. She finished her junior year with an 11-game point streak with 22 goals and seven assists for 29 points.
ON THE RIGHT FOOTE
Sophomore attack standout Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) got her Notre Dame career off on the right foot as a freshman as she finished third on the team in scoring with 27 goals and 11 assists for 38 points. Foote played in all 15 games, starting the final six of the season. In those six games, she racked up 18 goals and eight assists for 26 points. She ended the year with an eight-game scoring streak with 22 goals and nine assists for 31 points. During her streak, Foote had six-point games versus Georgetown (4g, 2a) and Davidson (3g, 3a). She also had a four-goal game versus Vanderbilt to close the year. Following the season, Foote became the first Notre Dame women’s lacrosse freshman to be named to the Brine/IWLCA all-Mid-Atlantic region team.
KINNIK FOR THE DEFENSE
Senior Andrea Kinnik had a breakout season in 2003 for the Irish. She led the team with 44 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers while tying for fifth with 20 draw controls. Her defensive skills were recognized in the postseason when she was named first-team Brine/IWLCA all-Mid-Atlantic Region and third-team All-America by womenslacrosse.com.
Meredith Simon and Crysti Foote go into the 2004 season with active point-scoring streaks.
Meredith Simon – 11 games (22g, 7a, 29 pts)
Crysti Foote – 8 games (22 g, 9a, 31 pts)
Three Notre Dame women’s lacrosse players were honored with All-American honors in 2003 with each being selected by a different source. Goalkeeper Jen White was a third-team choice by Brine/Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA). Danielle Shearer was selected third-team All-American by Inside Lacrosse Magazine. She was a second-team IWLCA choice in 2002 along with Kathryn Lam. Senior Andrea Kinnik was recognized for her defensive exploits as she was a third-team All-American pick by insidelacrosse.com.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Two members of the Notre Dame lacrosse team have family ties to the program and two others have ties to the men’s lacrosse program. Junior goalkeeper Carol Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.) got to play two seasons with her sister, Angela, who graduated in May of 2003. The duo gave Notre Dame its second set of sisters to play on the women’s lacrosse team, joining Amy and Mara Grace who played in the first year of the program. Freshman midfield/attack player, Megan O’Shaughnessy (Englewood, Colo.) is the cousin of Irish scoring great Lael O’Shaughnessy, a 2001 graduate. Senior Meredith Simon follows in her brother Eric’s footsteps. A 2003 graduate, Eric served as one of the captains of the 2003 men’s lacrosse team while Meredith is a co-captain of the women’s team in 2003. Sophomore defender Lena Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) is the niece of men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan and the granddaughter of former Notre Dame athletic director Gene Corrigan.
Notre Dame ended the 2003 season on the right note by setting a school record for goals in an away game when the Irish scored 22 at #15 Vanderbilt (22-11) in the season finale. The 22-goal outburst broke the previous road mark of 20 set at Gannon (20-10) and equaled the school record of 22 set in a 2000 home win over Ohio University (22-3). The 22 goals were the most scored versus a ranked team, surpassing the mark of 15 set earlier in the season versus Connecticut and Georgetown (ot).
THE LONGEST GAME
Notre Dame’s double-overtime loss to Stanford (14-13) on April 13 of last season became the longest game in Notre Dame history as the two team’s battled for 72 minutes (60 regulation minutes and four three-minute overtime stanzas). The previous long game came in 2003 versus Duke as the Irish played 7145 before losing a 10-9 decision. That game ended in sudden-death as the winning goal was scored with just 15 seconds left in the fourth three-minute overtime. Notre Dame is now 2-4 all-time in overtime games.
The Irish were involved in four one-goal games during the 2003 season, going 1-3 in those contests. Among the four losses, two came in back-to-back overtime games with Stanford (14-3 in 2ot) and Georgetown (16-15). The other one-goal loss came at Yale (7-6 in March). The lone Irish win in a one-goal game came on March 15 at Boston College (13-12). All-time, the Irish are 6-8 in one-goal games.
The Irish were picked in BIG EAST coaches voting to finish third in the BIG EAST this coming season behind Georgetown and Syracuse. The coaches also named Meredith Simon and Andrea Kinnik to their preseason all-BIG EAST team. Inside Lacrosse Magazine ranks the Irish 16th in the nation in their preseason poll.
VERSUS THE BEST
The Irish had 10 games in 2003 versus teams that were ranked in the top 20. Against those teams, the Irish were 3-7. All-time, Notre Dame is now 9-27 versus teams that were ranked in the top 20. During 2003, the Irish suffered three one-goal losses to top 20 teams, losing to #13 Yale (7-6), #16 Stanford (14-13 in 2ot) and to #5 Georgetown (16-15 in overtime). The Irish wins came versus #19 Connecticut, #20 Rutgers and #15 Vanderbilt. The 2001 season marked the first time the Irish beat a ranked team as they defeated #17 Delaware on March 31 in Nashville, Tenn. The Irish then won at #7 Yale on April 16, 2001, for their first win over a top 10 team. The highest-ranked team the Irish have ever beaten was Yale (7th-ranked) in 2001 and in 2002, they downed 7th-ranked Syracuse.