Feb. 17, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program is a secret no more. Coach Tracy Coyne’s squad, coming off it’s best season ever in 2002, heads into this year ranked in the top-10 of two national polls while two of her players have received preseason all-American recognition, a first for the women’s lacrosse program.
Notre Dame comes into the season ranked seventh in the nation in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Poll (IWLCA). Inside Lacrosse Magazine has the Irish ranked fifth in it’s preseason poll and has named midfielder Danielle Shearer (Sr., Hampstead, Md.) a first-team all-American and goalkeeper Jen White (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) a second-team preseason all-American.
Shearer, who led the Irish in scoring with 39 goals and 20 assists for 59 points last season was a second-team all-American last season along with the graduated Kathryn Lam making the duo the first two all-Americans in the program’s history. She was also a first team all-BIG EAST selection and the BIG EAST’s midfielder of the year.
White was a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection as a junior turning in a 13-5 record and a 7,49 goals-against average and a .545 save percentage.
In the BIG EAST, the Irish were picked to finish second in the coaches’ preseason poll behind Georgetown. The Hoyas, the defending BIG EAST champion received 36 points and six first-place votes to Notre Dame’s 29 and one first-place vote. Last season, the Irish finished second in the conference with a 5-1 record as the lone loss came to Georgetown.
Shearer and White were also unanimous selection to the preseason all-BIG EAST team.
Coyne and her squad look forward to the challenge of the coming season.
“It’s a great compliment to our program and the hard work that the players have put in to be ranked so high in the preseason,” says Coyne, the only coach in the program’s seven-year history.
“It’s also a new challenge for this year’s team. A lot of the expectations for this team are based on what we did last year. They have to use the experiences and take the lessons that they learned last season and go a step further and incorporate those things into what this team does for this year.”
Notre Dame is coming off the finest season in the program’s six-year history as the Irish were 13-5 overall and 5-1 in the BIG EAST. They advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time, defeated Ohio State in the first round, 11-7, and then lost to eventual national champion Princeton, 11-5, in the quarterfinals. The Irish finished the year with their highest ranking ever – 7th in the final IWLCA poll.
The Irish open the season, weather permitting at the preseason Loyola Tournament in Baltimore, Md., on Sun., Feb. 23. The regular season opener comes a week later on Sun., March 2 when they travel to Ithaca, N.Y. for a 1:00 p.m. game versus the Cornell Big Red.
Preseason IWLCA/Brine Poll
Team Points Last Year
1. Princeton (4) 189 12. Duke (4) 187 93. Virginia (2) 184 44. Georgetown 173 25. Loyola 146 56. Maryland 136 87. Notre Dame 135 78. Vanderbilt 124 109. Cornell 121 610. North Carolina 114 3
Preseason Inside Lacrosse Magazine Poll
1. Duke2. Princeton3. Virginia4. Georgetown5. Notre Dame6. Loyola7. Vanderbilt8. Cornell9. Ohio State10. Maryland
BIG EAST Preseason Lacrosse Poll
Team Points Last Year
1. Georgetown (6) 36 17-2/6-0 1st2. Notre Dame (1) 29 13-5/5-1 2nd3. Syracuse 28 10-6/3-3 3rd4. Connecticut 21 9-7/3-3 4th5. Virginia Tech 13 6-10/1-5 7th6. Boston College 10 8-9/1-5 6th Rutgers 10 7-9/2-4 5th
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Melissa Biles, Georgetown, Sr., DKristin Checksfield, Rutgers, Sr., DGloria Lozano, Georgetown, Jr., MTracy Mullaney, Connecticut, So., ADanielle Shearer, Notre Dame, Sr., MWick Stanwick, Georgetown, Sr., ASam Sybert, Virginia Tech, Sr., MJess Trombley, Syracuse, Sr., MKim Wayne, Syracuse, Sr., MJen White, Notre Dame, Sr., GKJackie Jovakin, Boston College, So., MLeigh-Ann Zimmer, Syracuse, Jr., A
Preseason Offensive Player of the YearLeigh-Ann Zimmer, Syracuse, Jr., A
Preseason Defensive Player of the YearMelissa Biles, Georgetown, Sr., D