Freshman Caitlin McKinney had two goals and two assists in Notre Dame's 10-9 overtime loss at Boston College.

Irish Return To Action With Home Game Versus California On Tuesday And BIG EAST Opener At Boston College On Saturday

March 21, 2005

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The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to action this week with a pair of games. On Tuesday, March 22, the Irish play host to the University of California at the Loftus Sports Center. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, March 26, the Irish open BIG EAST play versus the Boston College Eagles in a game that will be played at Cambridge, Mass. Notre Dame comes into the week with a 1-4 record and has not played since March 13 at James Madison. The Irish will look to snap a four-game losing streak that started on March 3 at the Loftus Center versus No. 3 Northwestern. Since that game, the Irish have played three on the road, losing at Cornell (11-8), at Vanderbilt (10-9 in ot) and at James Madison (10-5). California comes into the week with a 4-3 overall mark and is 1-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). The Golden Bears are coming off a 2-1 week that saw them win twice at home (versus Long Island, 18-3, and Colgate, 9-6) before dropping an 18-6 verdict at Northwestern on Sunday afternoon. Boston College comes into the week with a 3-1 overall record and an 0-1 mark in BIG EAST play. The Eagles defeated Quinnipiac, 8-6, on March 19th and will host Stony Brook on Tuesday, March 22, before facing the Irish on Saturday. Boston College’s lone BIG EAST loss came on March 11th at Rutgers, an 11-10 overtime decision. Following this week’s action, the Irish open a five-game homestand on Friday, April 1 versus Connecticut in a 7:00 p.m. game.


Tuesday’s game with California is just the second in the all-time series and the first to be played at Notre Dame between the two schools. The first meeting came on Feb. 27, 2004 at Berkeley, Calif., with the Irish rallying for a 12-11 overtime win. Notre Dame jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the game only to see Cal go ahead 9-8 with six unanswered second-half goals. Abby Owen and Meredith Simon put the Irish ahead, 10-9, but Leanne Zilioli tied the game at 10-10 with five seconds left. Owen then scored the first two goals of overtime before Laura Cavallo closed the scoring for Cal by scoring with 43 seconds left for the 12-11 final. Carol Dixon had nine saves for the Irish while Hilary Lynch had eight for the Golden Bears.


Notre Dame and Boston College have played six times in the all-time series with the Irish winning all six meetings. At Boston College, Notre Dame has a 3-0 record. At Notre Dame, the Irish are 2-0 and on neutral fields, the Irish are 1-0. Last season, the two teams met at the Loftus Sports Center with the Irish taking a 17-7 win. This is the last season that Boston College will play as a member of the BIG EAST Conference as they move to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) beginning in 2005-06.

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 70-52 (.574) record at Notre Dame and is 184-78 (.702) 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 1-0 all-time versus California and 6-0 versus Boston College in her coaching career.


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 1-4 start for the 2005 season is the slowest start in the program’s nine-year history. The previous worst start for the Irish came in the 2003 campaign when they started the year with a 2-3 mark after five games. That team finished with an 8-7 final record.


Freshman attack standout Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) has her Notre Dame career off to a fast start with 10 goals and four assists to lead the Irish with 14 points in the first five games of the season. McKinney has three games with four points and a pair of games with just one point. On Feb. 27, in Notre Dame’s 16-11 win at Ohio University, she became the first Notre Dame freshman to score four points in her first career game.


The Irish traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to face the Commodores in the second game of their Spring Break trip. Vanderbilt jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first half on the strength of four Kate Hickman goals. The Irish battled back to cut the lead to 6-5 at halftime. Notre Dame eventually took the lead, 8-7, in the second half on three consecutive goals by Mary Carpenter (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.), Brittany Fox (Jr., Annapolis, Md.) and Jackie Bowers (Sr., Springfield, Pa.) only to see Vanderbilt rally to take the lead, 9-8, with just under seven minutes left in the game. Caitlin McKinney (Fr., Lafayette Hill, Pa.) sent the game to overtime with her second goal of the afternoon with 5:32 left on the clock. In the overtime period, Vanderbilt’s Jennifer Tapscott scored the only goal, just 2:22 into the extra session for the 10-9 win. McKinney led the Irish attack with two goals and two assists. Fox had a career-high three-goal, four-point afternoon and Carpenter added a career-best two goals. Heather Ferguson (Fr., Newtown Square, Pa.) had the other Irish goal. Goalkeeper Carol Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) had 12 saves for the Irish.


The 16th-ranked Dukes held the Irish to just five goals on March 13th to hand Notre Dame a 10-5 loss in Harrisonburg, Va. James Madison jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first half and the Irish were never able to get closer than four goals in the loss. Senior Lindsay Shaffer (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) led the Irish with two goals while Mary McGrath (Jr., Bryn Mawr, Pa.) equaled a career-high with three points (1g, 2a) in the game. Brittany Fox and Kaki Orr (So., Darien, Conn.) scored Notre Dame’s other goals in the game. Carol Dixon had 10 saves in the Notre Dame goal as the Irish fell to 1-4 on the year. Kelly Berger led James Madison with four goals and one assist in the game.


In two seasons at Notre Dame, Brittany Fox had scored just two goals. She surpassed that mark in one game this season when she had a career-high three-goal and four-point game in the 10-9 overtime loss at Vanderbilt on March 9. In four games this year, Fox already has five goals and one assist for six points to rank fourth on the team in scoring.


The March 9, 10-9 overtime loss at Vanderbilt was the eighth overtime game the Irish have been involved in during the program’s nine-year history. Notre Dame is 3-5 in overtime in those eight games. The longest overtime game was on April 12, 2002 when the Irish fell to Duke, 10-9, in three overtimes.


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 four goals this season on nine shots.


Junior attack Mary McGrath has proven to be a key “energy” player for the Irish during her career. Since joining the Irish in 2002-03, she has played in 35 games without making a start. In that time, she has scored 22 goals with 12 assists for 34 points. In four games this year, McGrath has two goals and three assists of the bench for five points. In the March 13 loss at James Madison, McGrath equaled her career high with three points (1g, 2a) to lead the Irish in scoring versus the Dukes.


Junior Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) saw her six-game scoring streak snapped in the loss to Vanderbilt. During her six-game streak, she had 15 goals and five assists for 20 points. Freshman Caitlin McKinney now has the longest active streak as she has scored in all five games this year (10g, 4 a) to lead the team with 14 points. The only other active streak for the Irish belongs to Brittany Fox who has scored in three straight games (5g, 1a). Meghan Murphy also has a three-game streak (6g, 1a) that will be put on hold due to a season-ending knee injury versus Cornell.


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 has had back-to-back two goal games versus Northwestern and Cornell for the first four goals of her Irish career. In five games this season, Orr now has five goals on 10 shots.


Junior attack standout Crysti Foote has picked up right where she left off last season in the goal-scoring department. Through the first five games of the 2005 season, Foote is second in scoring 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.


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.


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 (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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 five games, she is 1-4 with a 11.57 goals-against average and a .449 save percentage.


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.


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 five games, Bowers has three goals and four assists for seven points.


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.


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.