March 19, 2010
By Amanda Bremer
Sports Information Student Assistant
A three-sport athlete in high school, it was clear that Kailene Abt was physically gifted. In her senior season she served as captain of her basketball, soccer and lacrosse teams. For Abt, one sport stood above the rest: lacrosse.
“Lacrosse grew to become a passion of mine,” Abt says. “I knew it would help me get into good academic colleges so I thought about that when I started pursuing just one sport.”
The women’s lacrosse team is hoping a combination of Abt’s skill and passion will help fill the void left by former Irish standout Jill Byers. Byers rewrote the record books in her four years at Notre Dame, graduating as the most prolific player in school history. She finished as the school’s all time leader in games played, goals, points, and draw controls.
“We lost a huge player in Jill Byers, and we all need to score more goals to make up for her loss,” Abt says.
It looks as though Abt will be able to fill the void at midfield.
“I think that is a contribution I can help make,” Abt says.
In her time with the Irish she has continuously improved her game. In her freshman campaign she recorded seven goals, two assists, 10 groundballs, 20 draw controls, and seven caused turnovers. Abt was able to improve every aspect of her game in her sophomore season. She recorded an impressive 46 goals, nine assists, 22 draw controls, and 14 caused turnovers.
Abt attributes the increase in production to a confidence boost and experience.
“A lot of it has to do with confidence and opportunity. Freshman year I got some opportunities, but my confidence was still building,” Abt recalls.
Abt finished third on the team in scoring, only behind Byers and current teammate Gina Scioscia. Abt was selected to the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team, recording seven points in two games to help the Irish to the tournament title.
Abt and the Irish are looking to improve on last season’s BIG EAST Championship and NCAA tournament selection.
“This is one of the most talented teams we’ve ever had, so we are really excited. That will fuel our season,” Abt says.
Abt will have plenty of help filling Byers’ shoes. The Irish will boast a strong offensive front for the 2010 season, with the combination of Abt, and senior captains Scioscia and Shaylyn Blaney. The trio combined for 10 of the Irish’s 13 goals in the season opener against Hofstra, a 13-12 win. In the home opener against Duquesne, a 15-10 win, Abt led the team with four goals, with Scioscia and Blaney adding two goals each.
Abt acknowledges that while there are many talented players on the roster, they see the need to work together.
“It’s taking the role you are given and doing it to the best of your ability to help the team. It’s not just one person; it’s going to be a team effort,” Abt says. While the team is not short on talent, they aren’t short on chemistry either. “We have a special bond on the team. We’ve had the fall to bond and get used to playing with one another,” Abt recalls.
In addition to being a scoring leader, Abt sees herself as a mentor to younger players.
“I have to encourage the freshmen and sophomores to reach their full potential,” Abt says.
While filling the role of Byers may be impossible to do, look for Kailene Abt to make important contributions to the team. Whether it is providing an offensive boost or assisting another play, it is clear that she will be vital to the Irish for the 2010 season.
— ND —