Feb. 20, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame women’s lacrosse players Jillian Byers (Sr., Northport, N.Y.) and Shaylyn Blaney (So., Stony Brook, N.Y.) have been named to the Tewaaraton Trophy “Watch List ” for the 2009 season.
The Irish duo is among a group of 45 players that the women’s selection committee has named to their preseason watch list. The players on the list were nominated by coaches from all three divisions and are early-season hopefuls for the prestigious award. The Trophy is presented each year to the top male and female lacrosse players.
Both Byers and Blaney were both preseason all-BIG EAST selections prior to the start of the season. This marks the second straight year that Byers has been named to the “Watch List.” As a junior, she selected as a nominee midway through the season. Blaney becomes the sixth Notre Dame player to be named to the watch list in the history of the 13-year old program.
One of Notre Dame’s team captains this season, Byers has been one of the catalysts of the Notre Dame attack in each of her first three seasons. A three-time IWLCA second team All-American, she is coming off a 2008 season that saw her lead the Irish in goals (67) and points (81) while setting a school record with 52 draw controls. The Northport, N.Y. native has been a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection in each of her first three seasons. In 2008, she ranked 14th in the nation in points and tied for seventh in goals. She is the only Notre Dame player to score 50 or more goals in a season three times and also have 66 or more points in a season in three consecutive years. Byers became Notre Dame’s all-time goal-scoring leader with 179 goals in just three seasons. Her 81-point season was the second most in one season at Notre Dame. She enters the 2009 season ranked first in goals (179), third in points (225) and seventh in assists (46) at Notre Dame. She has been selected as a preseason all-BIG EAST selection by the conferences’ coaches for the 2009 campaign.
Blaney burst on the scene a year ago for the Irish as a freshman, finishing fourth on the team in scoring with 52 points on 43 goals and nine assists. Her 43 goals and 52 points were the second-best totals for a Notre Dame freshman, trailing just Byers marks of 54 and 78 that were set in her rookie year of 2006. Blaney was selected as a first team IWLCA all-West/Midwest Regional selection while also taking second team all-BIG EAST honors following the 2008 season. She was selected to the BIG EAST all-tournament team after scoring a career-high five goals in the semifinal loss to Georgetown. For the year, she had eight games with four or more points while grabbing 26 ground balls, 43 draw controls and 22 caused turnovers.
The duo started the season with multi-goal games in the season-opening win against Duquesne on Feb. 14. Byers had three goals in the 22-7 win while Blaney opened her season with a four-goal game.
Eleventh-ranked Notre Dame opens its home schedule this weekend with games on Fri., Feb. 20 versus top-ranked Northwestern at 7:00 p.m. That game will be played at the Loftus Center. On Sunday, Feb. 22, the Irish will play host to Ohio State at the Loftus Center at 1:00 p.m.