Sophomore Ansley Stewart combines with Jillian Byers and Gina Sioscia to give Notre Dame a potent trio at attack.

Irish Return To BIG EAST Tournament To Face Syracuse In Opening Semifinal Game On April 24

April 22, 2009

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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• The Game: #11/#12 Notre Dame (12-4/5-2) vs. #8/#6 Syracuse (12-3/6-1)

• Date/Time/Site: Fri., April 24, 2009 • 5:30 p.m. • Multi-Sport Facility • Washington, D.C.

• Internet: Follow the BIG EAST Women’s Lacrosse Tournament on the BIG EAST website at Both semifinal games will be streamed live on line at for $7.95 per day.

• The Game: The BIG EAST Championship Game Winner of Notre Dame-Syracuse game vs. Winner of Georgetown-Louisville game

• Date/Time/Site: Sun., April 26, 2009 • 1:00 p.m. • Multi-Sport Facility • Washington, D.C.

• Television: The BIG EAST Championship game will be televised live by CBS College Sports with Jason Knapp and Sheehan Stanwick Burch calling all the action.

• Internet: Follow the BIG EAST Women’s Lacrosse Tournament on the BIG EAST website at

TOURNAMENT TIME: The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to the BIG EAST Tournament for the third consecutive year and will open play on Friday, April 24 against the Syracuse Orange. The game will be played at Georgetown’s Multi-Sport Facility at 5:30 p.m. The second game of the tournament will feature top-seeded Georgetown against fourth-place finisher Louisville in a game that will begin 45 minutes following the conclusion of the first semifinal game. The Irish bring a 12-4 overall record into the tournament and were 5-2 in the conference, closing the regular season on April 18 with a 20-5 win over Connecticut. Syracuse enters the tournament with a 12-3 mark and tied for first with Georgetown as both teams were 6-1 in the league. The Hoyas took first after defeating the Orange in the lone regular-season meeting. Syracuse brings a four-game winning streak into the tournament and closed out the conference schedule with a 15-6 win at Rutgers on April 18. Georgetown brings an 11-4 record into the weekend and was 6-1 in the BIG EAST. The Hoyas will face the Louisville Cardinals in the second semifinal game. Louisville, in its first season in the BIG EAST, is 9-5 overall and finished with a 3-4 mark in the league. The Cardinals clinched the final playoff spot by winning at Loyola (Md.), 13-12 on April 18. That put them in a three-way tie for fourth with Loyola and Rutgers with Louisville taking fourth place due to wins over the Greyhounds and the Scarlet Knights in the regular season.

BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: The BIG EAST Championship game will be played on Sunday, April 26 at Georgetown’s Multi-Sport Facility with the opening draw set for 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised live by CBS College Sports with Jason Knapp and Sheehan Stanwick Burch handling the play-by-play and color commentary. Georgetown won the first BIG EAST Tournament title in 2007 while Syracuse won in 2008.

NOTRE DAME’S BIG EAST TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Notre Dame has appeared in each of the first two BIG EAST Tournaments and is 0-2 with a pair of semifinal losses to Georgetown each season. In 2007, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, the Irish trailed 11-6 with 14 minutes left before scoring five of the last six goals in a 12-10 loss to the Hoyas. Caitlin McKinney `08 led Notre Dame with five goals in the game while Jillian Byers (Sr., Northport, N.Y.) in the loss. In 2008, the Irish hosted the tournament and due to construction on campus, played the games at historic Notre Dame Stadium. This meeting went to three overtimes with Georgetown taking a 15-14 sudden-death win. The Irish led 10-6 at halftime only to see the Hoyas go ahead, 13-12, with 4:21 left. McKinney got the tying goal with 1:17 on the clock to send the game to overtime. Gina Scioscia (Jr., Summit, N.J.) and Jordy Kirr traded goals in the first overtime for a 14-14 score and it stayed that way until Georgetown’s Molly Ford scored with 46 seconds left in the third overtime to send the Hoyas to the title game. Shaylyn Blaney (So., Stony Brook, N.Y.) led the Irish with a career-high five goals with McKinney getting three in the game.

IRISH VERSUS TOURNAMENT TEAMS: Notre Dame’s two BIG EAST losses this season were close ones to Georgetown and Syracuse. On March 27, the Irish dropped a 14-12 decision to the Hoyas at the Loftus Sports Center after leading 8-5 at halftime. On April 11 at Syracuse, Notre Dame fell behind, 11-1, with 11:05 left in the first half and trailed 12-3 at halftime. In the second half, the Irish outscored the Orange, 10-2, but it wasn’t enough as they dropped a tough, 14-13 decision. On April 5, Notre Dame met Louisville for the first time ever, taking a 20-8 win in Kentucky. All-time, the Irish are 3-9 versus Syracuse and have lost three straight to the Orange. Against Georgetown, Notre Dame is 3-10 all-time, including back-to-back losses in the last two BIG EAST Tournaments. At Washington, D.C., the Irish are 1-6 all-time against the Hoyas. The lone win came on April 12, 2008, a 10-8 Notre Dame win. The Irish are 1-0 all-time against Louisville.

UCONN RECAP: Notre Dame closed out the BIG EAST regular season schedule and the 2009 home schedule on April 18 with a 20-5 win over Connecticut at Alumni Field. Jillian Byers led the Irish in the win, setting a Notre Dame and BIG EAST single-game record with 12 points (7g, 5a). She was followed on the score sheet by Gina Scioscia with five points (2g, 3a); sophomore Kaitlin Keena (Vienna, Va.) had a career high three goals and four points; freshman Maggie Tamasitis (Boyertown, Pa.) had three goals with Shaylyn Blaney adding two and Kailene Abt (So., Huntington, N.Y.), Ansley Stewart (So., Alexandria, Va.) and Maggie Zentgraf (Jr., Charlottesville, Va.) adding one goal each. The Irish led 10-0 at halftime and 14-0 before the Huskies got on the scoreboard with 22:09 left in the game. Notre Dame out shot Connecticut, 43-17, in the game. Senior Erin Goodman (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) played 46:28 minutes, giving up two goals while making six saves. Junior Amy Winik (Freehold, N.J.) played the final 13:32, giving up three goals with two saves. Connecticut’s goalkeepers combined for 15 saves in the contest.

RECORD-SETTING DAY: Senior attack standout Jillian Byers set a Notre Dame and BIG EAST single-game record with 12 points in Notre Dame’s 20-5 win over Connecticut on April 18. Byers equaled a career high with seven goals while setting personal bests in assists (5) and points (12) in the win. Byers had two goals and one assist in the first half and then had a hand in nine of Notre Dame’s 10 second-half goals, getting five goals and four assists – an Irish record for points in a half. The previous Notre Dame mark was 11 points and held by Crysti Foote `06, who had nine goals and two assists on Feb. 24, 2006 versus California. The previous BIG EAST record of 11 points in a conference game was held by Kate McHarg of Loyola who had 11 points in a win over Rutgers (3/12/06) and Katie Rowan of Syracuse who did it against Georgetown (4/5/08).

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: No surprise here as Jillian Byers was named BIG EAST offensive player of the week as she recorded 11 goals with five assists in games versus Vanderbilt and Connecticut. In the 18-11 loss at Vandy, Byers led the Irish with four goals. She followed that with her record-setting 12-point game versus the UConn Huskies. This marks the second time this season that she received the award (March 8) and she also made the BIG EAST honor roll on three other occasions.

THE RANKINGS: Three of the four teams in this weekend’s BIG EAST Tournament come into the week ranked in both the IWLCA coaches’ poll and the Inside media poll. Notre Dame’s opening opponent, Syracuse, is ranked eighth in the IWLCA poll while Inside has the Orange sixth in the nation. Georgetown is ranked seventh in the IWLCA poll and eighth by Inside The Irish continue to be ranked, but they fell this week from ninth to 11th in the IWLCA and 12th by Inside Louisville is not ranked by either poll but is receiving votes in both national polls.

ROAD LOSSES: After starting the season with a 4-0 record in road games, Notre Dame’s road record has fallen to 4-2 after losses at Syracuse and Vanderbilt. The Irish are now 4-2 on the road and 1-0 on neutral fields in games played away from Notre Dame. Following the BIG EAST Tournament, they will close out the regular season on the road at Cornell on Saturday, May 2.

STREAKY IRISH: Five members of the Notre Dame lineup go into the BIG EAST Tournament with point-scoring streaks:

Jillian Byers - 16 games (64g, 18a, 82 pts)Shaylyn Blaney - 16 games (36g, 3a, 39 pts)Gina Scioscia - 14 games (39g, 29a, 68 pts)Kailene Abt - 9 games (19g, 6a, 25 pts)Maggie Tamasitis - 5 games (8g, 5a, 13 pts)

Byers has 14 games this season with three or more goals while Scioscia and Blaney each has eight with three or more.

SCORING BARRAGE: Through the first 16 games of the season, Notre Dame has scored 253 goals for an average of 15.81 per game. That leads the BIG EAST and is fifth in the nation. Prior to this season, Notre Dame’s top scoring season came in 2006 when the Irish averaged 13.84 goals per game. The Irish scored 263 goals that year in 19 games. They need just 10 more to reach that mark.

SUPER SOPHOMORES: The Irish have gotten strong play from their sophomore scorers this season. The group of five – Shaylyn Blaney (36g, 3a), Kailene Abt (32g, 7a), Ansley Stewart (24g, 10a), Kaitlin Keena (13g, 12a) and Jackie Doherty (5g, 10a) have accounted for 110 goals and 42 assists for 152 points. The five have 110 of the team’s 253 goals (43.5%), 42 of 115 assists (36.5%) and 153 of 368 points (41.6%) this season.

NO BREAKS FOR GOODMAN: Senior goalkeeper Erin Goodman became Notre Dame’s all-time winningest goalkeeper in the 16-13 win over Loyola on March 29. The win was the 32nd of her career and moved her past Jen White `03, who recorded 31 in three seasons as the starting goalkeeper. Goodman has now started 52 consecutive games in her career and owns a 35-17 record for a .673 winning percentage. Besides the win mark, Goodman also ranks among the top goalkeepers in several different categories:


Senior goalkeeper Erin Goodman will make her 53rd consecutive start when the Irish face Syracuse in the BIG EAST Tournament.


Single SeasonGP - t1st (19) - 2008Wins - t3rd (12) - 2008, 2009Minutes - 1st (1,117:21) - 2008Saves - 4th (172) - 2008SV% - 9th (.454) - 2008GAVG - 7th (10.74) - 2008
CareerGP - 2nd (54)Wins - 1st (35)Minutes - 2nd (3,066:18)Saves - 2nd (442)GAVG - 3rd (10.61)

ALL-TIME BIG EAST LEADER: Jillian Byers finished the 2009 BIG EAST seven-game regular season with a conference record 31 goals to go with 11 assists for 42 points. The 42 points also broke the previous league record of 40 set in six games by Sheehan Stanwick in 2001. Byers’ 42 points is the second most in a BIG EAST season as Katie Rowan of Syracuse finished with 47 this year. For her career, Byers is the all-time BIG EAST leader in goals (78) and is second all-time in points (101) to Rowan’s 134.

All-time BIG EAST Goal Leaders1.  Jillian Byers, ND (2006-09)           782.  Katie Rowan, SU (2006-09)             693.  Leigh-Ann Zimmer, SU (2001-04)        674.  Coco Stanwick, GU, 2004-07)           635.  Tracy Mullaney, UConn, (2002-05)      62
All-time BIG EAST Point Leaders 1. Katie Rowan, SU (2006-09) 1342. Jillian Byers, ND (2006-09) 1013. Leigh-Ann Zimmer, SU (2001-04) 944. Coco Stanwick, GU, 2004-07) 905. Crysti Foote, ND, (2003-06) 77

TEWAARATON NOMINEE: Notre Dame senior captain Jillian Byers is one of 25 nominees for the 2009 Tewaaraton Trophy that is presented annually to the top male and female collegiate lacrosse players in the nation. The award, the most coveted and prestigious award a varsity lacrosse player can receive is a symbol of excellence in college lacrosse. Nominees were selected by coaches across all three divisions. This marks the second time in Byers’ career that she has been named a nominee as she and teammate, Caitlin McKinney `08, were nominated last season. Byers currently leads the Irish in goals and scoring with 64 goals and 82 points through the first 16 games of the season. She leads the BIG EAST in goals and is fourth in the nation with 4.00 goals-per-game. Byers is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in goals (243), points (307) and draw controls (145) and is seventh all-time in assists (64).

NCAA LEADER: Jillian Byers goes into Friday’s BIG EAST semifinal game with Syracuse, leading the conference with 64 goals and is second in points with 82. She is tied for first nationally with the 64 goals with Sarah Dalton of Boston University and Lauren Dykstra of Lehigh. Her 82 points rank her fourth nationally. For her career, Byers is the NCAA’s all-time active leading goal scorer with 243 career goals. That ranks her 11th on the all-time goals scored list. Her 12-point game versus Connecticut gave her 307 career points to rank her third among active players and 19th on the all-time point list. She is the 22nd player in NCAA women’s lacrosse history to record 300 points in her career.

Active NCAA Goal Leaders1.  Jillian Byers, ND (2006-09)           2432.  Sarah Dalton, BU (2006-09)            2203.  Katie Rowan, SU (2006-09)             2174.  Hilary Bowen, NU, 2006-09)            212    Mandy Friend, Rich., (2006-09)        212
Active NCAA Point Leaders 1. Katie Rowan, SU (2006-09) 3682. Hannah Nielsen, NU (2006-09) 3583. Jillian Byers, ND (2006-09) 3074. Mandy Friend, Rich., (2006-09) 3035. Hilary Bowen, NU, (2006-09) 292

SECOND FIDDLE: Junior attack standout Gina Scioscia has become an offensive force for the Irish this season as she has surpassed her career high in points (55, set last season) and now has 75 (43g, 32a) on the season to rank second to Jillian Byers. She is currently third in the BIG EAST in scoring with 75 points behind Byers (82) and Syracuse’s Katie Rowan who has 84 points. Her 43 goals tie her for sixth in the conference while her 32 assists rank second to Rowan’s 45. In two games last week, the playmaking wizard had four goals and six assists, getting two goals and three assists in each game versus Vanderbilt and Connecticut. In 2008, Scioscia had 20 goals and 35 assists for 55 points, all career highs at the time. That came after a freshman year that saw her get just eight points on four goals and four assists. The 47-point improvement was the most ever for a Notre Dame player from from one season to the next. On March 17 versus Rutgers, Scioscia had a career-high eight-point game, scoring twice with six assists. The six assists tied a Notre Dame single-game record. On March 29 versus Loyola, she had a career-high six-goal game in the 16-13 win over the Greyhounds. Scioscia has one three-point game, three games with four points, five games with five points, three with six points, one seven-point game and one with eight this season. Scioscia is 12th among active NCAA players with 71 career assists.

2009 NCAA WOMEN’S LACROSSE RPI: (Through games of April 19):

1.   Northwestern (15-0)2.   North Carolina (13-3)3.   Maryland (16-0)4.   Pennsylvania (13-0)5.   Duke (11-4)6.   Syracuse (12-3)7.   Georgetown (11-4)8.   Notre Dame (12-4)9.   Vanderbilt (9-4)10.  Virginia (10-6)11.  Princeton (11-2)12.  Dartmouth (7-5)13.  Penn State (7-7)14.  Cornell (8-5)15.  Boston University (11-3)16.  Old Dominion (11-3)17.  Ohio State (11-4)18.  Stanford (10-4)19.  Fairfield (14-2)20.  Loyola (Md.) (10-5)

ABT TO SCORE: Sophomore midfielder Kailene Abt is quickly becoming a major scoring threat for the Irish in her second season. Already this year, the Huntington, N.Y., native is tied for third in scoring with career highs in goals (32), assists (7) and points (39). She picked up her third game this season with four goals in a game in the loss at Vanderbilt. She recorded a career-high six-point game in Notre Dame’s 20-4 win over California, scoring four goals and two assists. The four-goal game tied a career high set earlier this season against Ohio State. Over the last nine games, Abt has 19 goals and six assists for 25 points.

CAREER YEARS: Through the first 16 games of the season, several Irish players have already achieved career seasons. Kailene Abt has career bests with 32 goals, seven assists and 39 points after a getting seven goals with two assists for nine points as a freshman. Sophomore Ansley Stewart has career bests in goals (24), assists (10) and points (34). Sophomore Kaitlin Keena has moved past her career bests of nine goals and nine assists set last season as she now has 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points. Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.) has career highs in assists (10) and points (15) after getting six goals and one assist for seven points in 2008. Maggie Zentgraf has career highs with six goals and seven points after getting one goal and two assists last season.

KARDIAC KIDS: Trailing 11-1 with 11:05 left in the first half, thoughts of a Notre Dame comeback for a win weren’t out of the question in the April 11 loss at Syracuse. Prior to that game, Notre Dame trailed by as many as six goals in a game and rallied in the second half for a come-from-behind win. Although they came up one goal short in the loss at Syracuse, the Irish have lived on the edge all season.

3/29 vs. Loyola (MD): For the third time this season, Notre Dame fell behind in a game during the first half, trailed at halftime and then went on to win the game in the second half against Loyola (Md.). In the game the Irish fell behind by four goals in the first half at 6-2 and 7-3 before rallying to cut the lead to 8-7 at halftime in favor of the Greyhounds. After giving up the first goal of the second half, to trail 9-7, the Irish scored five consecutive goals for a 12-9 lead on the way to the 16-13 win. Other come-from-behind wins include:

3/10 vs. James Madison (at Orlando, Fla.): The Irish trailed 5-2 with over 18 minutes left in the first half before they rallied to trail just 9-7 at halftime. They then opened the second half with four consecutive goals for an 11-9 lead. The closest that the Dukes would get was 11-10 as Notre Dame pulled out a second close win.

3/3 at Dartmouth: Irish gave up the first six goals of the contest and trailed 8-2 late in the first half before coming alive. They scored three late goals in the opening half and then rolled off eight more in the second before Dartmouth responded for a total of 11 consecutive goals. Bouncing back from the six-goal deficit was the largest deficit that the Irish have ever recovered from.

VERSUS THE RANKED: Notre Dame’s loss to Vanderbilt dropped the Irish to 4-4 versus teams ranked in the IWLCA poll when they face the Irish. The Irish own wins over #16 Stanford, #13 Dartmouth, #17 James Madison and #13 Loyola. The losses have come to #1 Northwestern, #6 Georgetown and #9 Syracuse.

AN EVEN DOZEN: Notre Dame’s 12 wins this season mark the fifth time in the program’s history that the Irish have had 12 or more wins in a season and the first time they’ve done it in back-to-back campaigns. Last year’s team was 12-7 on the year to go with this season’s 12-4 mark. Notre Dame has had 12 or more wins in 2002 (13), 2004 (12), 2006 (15), 2008 (12) and 2009 (12). Since the start of the 2006 season, the Irish are 50-21 (.704).

HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne: Tracy Coyne is in her 13th season at Notre Dame and her 22nd year in collegiate lacrosse. Coyne brings a 236-107 (.688) career record into this week’s games. On Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008, she recorded her 100th career win at Notre Dame with a 16-4 win over Duquesne. As the only head coach in the Notre Dame program’s history, Coyne is 122-81 (.601). She has guided the Irish to each of the first three BIG EAST Tournaments. A 1983 Ohio University graduate, Coyne recorded her 200th career win at the end of the 2006 season with a 16-8 win over Cornell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. She has guided Notre Dame to four NCAA tournament appearances (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008) in the last seven seasons, including the school’s first-ever NCAA finals appearance in 2006. In her first 22 years of coaching, Coyne was 23-5 in two seasons at Denison (1988-89), 91-21 in seven years at Roanoke (1990-96) and 121-79 in this, her 13th season at Notre Dame. 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. Coyne also has coached on the international level as the head coach for the Canadian women’s lacrosse national team from 1999-2005. In June of 2005, she led Team Canada to a fourth-place finish at the 2005 World Cup, her second, fourth-place finish (2001) as Canada’s field boss. Coyne is 3-9 all-time against Syracuse; 3-10 versus Georgetown and 1-0 against Louisville.

SECRET WEAPON: Freshman midfield/attack Maggie Tamasitis (Boyertown, Pa.) continued her strong freshman season with her second three-goal game of the season in the win over Connecticut. She now has seven games with three or more points on the year. Tamasitis has come off the bench in all 16 games and leads the freshmen class in scoring with 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points. Her 16 assists rank third on the team in scoring. She picked up career-high four point games in back-to-back wins against Cincinnati and Louisvile (Apr. 3 and 5). Against the Bearcats, Tamasitis had two goals and two assists for four points. Versus the Cardinals, she had a career-high three-goal game with an assist for four points.

BLANEY-MANIA: Sophomore midfielder Shaylyn Blaney did her best to bring the Irish back against Syracuse on April 11, equaling a season best with four goals in the game. Included in the four-goal game were three goals in Notre Dame’s unanswered six-goal run in the second half that cut the lead from 13-5 to 13-11 with 7:21 left in the game. She has now scored at least one goal in 15 of the team’s 16 games this season, including three four-goal games on the year. She is tied for third on the team in scoring with 39 points and third with 36 goals scored. Thirteen of her 36 goals this season have come off free-position shots. Blaney is coming off a freshman year that saw her score 43 goals with nine assists for 52 points. That was the second- best total for a Notre Dame freshman, trailing just Jill Byers’ 78-point campaign (52g, 24a) in 2006. Her 43 goals were the eighth best single-season output for the Irish. She already has 79 goals and 12 assists for 91 points in her career. The 77 goals rank her eighth all-time at Notre Dame and the 91 points are 10th on the all-time list. She also is ninth all-time with 78 draw controls in less than two full seasons with the Irish.