May 5, 2009
Washington, D.C. – Notre Dame senior standout Jillian Byers (Northport, N.Y.) has been named one of five finalists for the 2009 Tewaaraton Trophy that is presented annually to the top male and female collegiate lacrosse players in the country.
The award, the most coveted and prestigious honor a varsity lacrosse player can receive, is a symbol of excellence in college lacrosse. The Trophy will be presented at the ninth annual Tewaaraton Awards Banquet presented by the Tewaaraton Award Foundation in conjunction with the University Club of Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 28, 2009 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Joining Byers on the list of five finalists are: Carolyn Davis (Sr., Midfielder, Duke), Amber Falcone (Sr., Defender, North Carolina), Caitlyn McFadden (Jr., Midfield, Maryland), Hannah Nielsen (Sr., Midfielder, Northwestern).
“It’s a great honor to be considered among the top players in the nation. I never thought that I would make that list. All the finalists are such great players,” said Byers.
By being selected for the award, the BIG EAST co-attack player of the year joins former Irish standout Crysti Foote `06 as the only Notre Dame women’s lacrosse players to make the list of finalists. Foote also was selected in her senior season of 2006.
“I’ve always looked up to Crysti and always wanted to be like her,” explained Byers.
“I never thought I could fill her shoes but now I am following in her footsteps. I can’t believe that I’m reaching some of the levels she did when she played here. It’s very exciting and a great honor.”
Byers has erased many of Foote’s offensive marks that she set between 2003-06. The talented attack player comes into this Sunday’s NCAA first round game versus Vanderbilt with 74 goals and 26 assists for 100 points, all career highs. The 74 goals ties Foote’s single-season record and the 100 points makes Byers just the second player in the program’s history to score 100 or more points in a season. The 74 goals and 100 points rank Byers second in the nation in both categories. She was a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection for the fourth consecutive season.
A total team player, the Northport, N.Y., native excels in all aspects of the game. She leads the Irish with 50 draw controls (which is two off her record set in 2008) while she is fourth with 33 ground balls and second with 25 caused turnovers on the year. Versus Connecticut, on April 18, Byers set a Notre Dame single-season record with 12 points (7g, 5a) in a victory against Connecticut.
In helping the Irish to their first-ever BIG EAST championship, she scored six goals and added six assists in two wins over Syracuse (16-11) and Georgetown (12-10) and was selected to the BIG EAST all-tournament team.
A three-time IWLCA second team All-American, Byers has scored 253 goals with 72 assists for 325 career points. She ranks first all-time at Notre Dame in goals, points and draw controls (149) and is fourth in assists.
On the national level, she is currently the nation’s active leading goal scorer while being 14th in assists and third in points. She is seventh on the NCAA’s all-time goals list with 253 and 13th all-time with 325 points.
“I’m thrilled for Jill. She has truly distinguished herself this season as one of the nation’s best players,” said head coach Tracy Coyne.
“She has never put pursuing a personal goal ahead of the team’s success. She is so team-oriented. It’s a great accomplishment for her get the recognition while at the same time the team is having a great year. Jill is very deserving of this honor.”
A Film, Television and Theatre major at Notre Dame, Byers will graduate from Notre Dame on Sunday, May 16th.