May 26, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team has announced its team award winners for the 2009 season that ended with a 16-5 overall record and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals. In voting done by the players, senior attack player Jillian Byers (Northport, N.Y.) was selected as the team’s Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player. Fellow senior, defender Beth Koloup (Phoenix, Md.) was awarded the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award while senior Shannon Burke (Timonium, Md.) was named the winner of the team’s 2002 Award as the top defensive player. Sophomore Ansley Stewart (Alexandria, Va.) was named the team’s Most Improved Player and sophomore Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.) was selected as the team’s Unsung Hero.
Byers adds to her long list of honors with the team’s most valuable player award as she closed out a brilliant career at Notre Dame in 2009. As a senior, she led Notre Dame in scoring with career highs in every category – goals (83), assists (28), points (111), draw controls (55), ground balls (34) and caused turnovers (26). Her goal and draw control marks were Notre Dame single-season records. She finished her Irish career as the school’s all-time leader in goals (262), points (336) and draw controls (154).
A four-time unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection, Byers was named the 2009 BIG EAST co-attack player of the year. This season she set BIG EAST Conference records for goals (31) and points (42) in the seven-game conference season. On April 18, in her final conference game, she set the BIG EAST record for points in a game (12), scoring seven goals with five assists. A three-time, second team IWLCA All-American, Byers is finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy that goes to the top collegiate lacrosse player in the nation. That award will be announced on May 28 with All-American honors also to be announced in the coming week.
Senior Shannon Burke was selected as the team’s top defensive player. She led the Irish with 60 ground balls and 44 caused turnovers.
For her career, Byers 262 career goals rank her sixth all-time on the NCAA’s all-time goals list and her 336 points put her in 10th place on that list. She is the only player in Notre Dame history to score 50 or more goals and 65 or more points in four consecutive seasons.
Koloup was chosen as the winner of the team’s Rockne Scholar-Athlete award after turning in a 3.306 grade-point average while graduating with degrees in Spanish and Political Science on May 17. A three-time monogram winner in lacrosse, Koloup has been a starter on the Notre Dame defense for two seasons. As a senior, she had career highs in ground balls (31) and caused turnovers (13) while scoring three goals with one assist in 21 games from her spot on defense. For her career, Koloup played in 49 games, making 39 starts. She scored four goals with two assists while grabbing 58 ground balls, 46 draw controls and causing 25 turnovers.
In 2009, the women’s lacrosse program started a new award to honor its top defensive player – the 2002 Award – that recognizes members of the class of 2002 who continue to hold many of the program’s top defensive awards. Burke was named the winner of the first award as she proved to be one of the top defensive players in the nation. A 2009 first team all-BIG EAST selection, Burke led the Irish with career highs in ground balls (60) and caused turnovers (44), breaking the mark of one of the members of the class of 2002 – Kathryn Lam – who had 36. A four-time monogram winner and a three-year starter on defense, Burke also added to the Notre Dame attack as she scored three goals with four assists for seven points. A candidate for All-American honors in 2009, Burke played in 70 career games, making 57 starts. She scored 11 goals with seven assists for 18 points. She finished third on the all-time ground ball list with 139, third on the all-time draw control list with 124 and second in caused turnovers with 106, just one off the school record of 107 held by class of 2002 member Tina Fedarcyk.
Sophomore Ansley Stewart was named Notre Dame’s most improved player for 2009.
Stewart was selected by her teammates as the team’s most improved player in 2009 as she finished fifth on the team in scoring with 30 goals and 12 assists for 42 points from her spot at attack. As a freshman in 2008, Stewart saw action in just two games, getting one shot on goal. This season, she stepped into the high-scoring attack lineup, starting all 21 games on the way to her 42-point season. Stewart’s 42-point improvement from her freshman to sophomore year is the third largest in the program’s history.
Jackie Doherty was selected as Notre Dame’s 2009 Unsung Hero. The sophomore midfielder had 53 groundballs, 36 draw controls and 21 caused turnovers in her first year as a starter.
Rounding out the team’s award winners was Doherty who was selected as the team’s unsung hero by her teammates. The tough, tenacious midfielder excelled at both ends of the field, as she was able to shut down a top offensive opponent on one play and lead a scoring rush on the next. In her first year as a starter, the sophomore had career highs in goals (9), assists (12) and points (21) on offense and ground balls (53), draw controls (36) and caused turnovers (21). Her 53 ground balls were second best on the team and the seventh-best single-season total for the Irish. Doherty was fourth on the squad in both draw controls and caused turnovers.
Notre Dame set a school record with 16 wins on the way to a 16-5 record this season. The Irish made their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and third in the last four years, falling to North Carolina in the quarterfinals. They were ranked sixth in both the IWLCA coaches’ poll and the Inside Lacrosse poll.