Sophomore Caitlin McKinney and the Notre Dame women's lacrosse team open the BIG EAST schedule in Florida on Thursday, March 16 vs. Loyola (Md.)

No. 14/11 Irish Head South For Home Game Versus No. 19/13 Loyola At CSTV Spring Fling In Wellington, Fla.; Close Out Week With Visit To #1/#1 Northwestern on Sunday.

March 14, 2006

Notre Dame, Ind. –

Complete Release in PDF Format
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

• The Game: #14/#11 Notre Dame (6-0/0-0) vs. #19/#13 Loyola (Md.) (3-2/1-0)

• Date/Site/Time: Thur., March 16, 2006 – 7:00 p.m. – Village Park Fields – Wellington, Fla.

• Broadcast Information: Game televised live by College Sports Television (Channel 610 DirecTv). Announcers: Jason Knapp and Sheehan Stanwick Burch.

• The Game: #14/#11 Notre Dame (6-0/0-0) at #1/#1 Northwestern (5-0/0-0)

• Date/Site/Time: Sun., March 19, 2006 – 1:00 p.m.(CST) – Lakeside Field – Evanston, Ill.

IRISH OPEN BIG EAST SCHEDULE VERSUS LOYOLA: The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team will put its 6-0 record on the line this week when the Irish travel to Wellington, Fla., for a “home game” and their BIG EAST season opener versus the Loyola Greyhounds, the conference’s newest member. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools in women’s lacrosse. The Irish and the Greyhounds will be participating in the 2006 “Spring Fling” at the Village Park Sports Complex – the nation’s largest women’s lacrosse spring training venue. Notre Dame and Loyola are part of a televised doubleheader by College Sports Television (CSTV) on Thur., March 16. The Irish-Greyhound game will take place at 7:00 p.m. with Colgate and George Washington playing at 9:30 p.m. Jason Knapp and Sheehan Stanwick Burch will provide the commentary. The Irish are coming off a 2-0 week with wins over Lehigh (20-4) and James Madison (12-11) to double their win total of last season (3). Loyola is 3-2 on the year and 1-0 in BIG EAST play after knocking off Rutgers, 17-10, last Sunday in Baltimore, Md. The Greyhounds two losses this season have come to national powers North Carolina (12-4) and Princeton (12-7). They own wins versus Delaware, Maryland-Baltimore County and Rutgers. The Irish are ranked 14th in the IWLCA poll and 11th in the Inside Lacrosse poll. Loyola is 19th in the IWLCA poll and 13th in the Inside Lacrosse poll. Following the spring-break trip to Florida, things don’t get easier for the Irish as they return north to face top-ranked Northwestern (5-0) on Sunday, March 19 in Evanston, Ill.

NOTRE DAME VERSUS LOYOLA: The two teams meet for the first time ever in Wellington, Fla., on Thursday (3/16). The Greyhounds are playing in their first season in the BIG EAST after being named associate members in Dec. of 2004. They replace Boston College as the conference’s sixth team, allowing the BIG EAST to keep its automatic NCAA tournament berth. Loyola brings a strong tradition to the BIG EAST and just two years ago, was ranked No. 3 in the nation and participated in the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds have advanced to the NCAA Championship in nine of the last 10 seasons and have earned 12 berths all-time.

NOTRE DAME VERSUS NORTHWESTERN: These two teams will tangle for the sixth time in the last four years (series includes one NCAA tournament game in 2004). Northwestern has a 3-2 edge in the first five games and has won the last three meetings. At Evanston, the Wildcats are 2-1 against the Irish, including a pair of wins (9-5 and 10-8 in NCAAs) in 2004. The Irish lost last year’s meeting, played at the Loftus Center at Notre Dame, by an 18-11 score. The last Irish win versus the Wildcats came on April 26, 2003 at Moose Krause Stadium by a 13-9 score. Notre Dame’s only win at Northwestern came on April 23, 2002, an 11-3 win.

HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne: Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne is in her 10th season as the head coach of the Irish and is the only coach in the program’s Division I history. Coyne owns a 78-60 (.565) record at Notre Dame and is 192-86 (.691) in her 19-year coaching career. Her 2006 Irish squad has started the season with a 6-0 record, quite a turnaround from last year’s 3-12 overall mark and 1-4 record in the BIG EAST. The Irish lost seven games by three goals or less, including four, one-goal decisions. The year before, 2004, Coyne led the Irish to a 12-5 overall record and second place in the BIG EAST with a 4-2 record. She was selected the 2004 BIG EAST coach of the year. Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in the program’s history, dropping a 10-8 decision at Northwestern. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native led Denison (1988) and Roanoke (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996) to the NCAA Division III tournament during stops at those schools. A 1983 graduate of Ohio University, Coyne has coached on the international level as the head coach for the Canadian women’s lacrosse national team since 1999. Last year, she led Team Canada to a fourth-place finish at the 2005 World Cup, her second fourth-place finish (2001) as Canada’s field boss. Coyne is 0-0 versus Loyola and 2-3 in her career versus Northwestern.

TV TRIVIA: Notre Dame’s game versus Loyola is the second national televised game for the Irish in the program’s 10-year history. The first came last year on May 7 at Moose Krause Stadium, a 14-10 loss to Ohio State. Did you know that CSTV color analyst Sheehan Stanwick Burch faced the Irish twice in her playing days at Georgetown?? On April 5, 2000, she led the Hoyas to a 14-4 win over the Irish in Washington, D. C. with four goals and an assist. The following year, she appeared at Moose Krause Stadium on April 22, 2001, helping Georgetown to a 17-7 win with two goals and two assists.

JAMES MADISON RECAP: The Irish battled back from a 7-3 halftime deficit to pull out a 12-11 win over the James Madison Dukes on Sunday, March 12. Crysti Foote (Sr., Suffern, N.Y.) led Notre Dame with three goals and two assists and made the defensive play of the game as time ran out. Meghan Murphy (Jr., Centennial, Colo.) added two goals and an assist while Jillian Byers (Fr., Northport, N.Y.) scored three goals in the game. Caitlin McKinney (So., Lafayette Hill, Pa.) and Kaki Orr (Jr., Darien, Conn.) scored twice in the game. The Irish jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Byers. The Dukes would score six straight goals (four by Lynlea Cronin) to take a 6-2 lead. Murphy and JMU’s Maria Bosica traded goals for the 7-3 score after 30 minutes. In the second half, Foote scored twice in the first 1:14 to cut the lead to 7-5 and Byers made it 7-6 at 25:06. Kelly Berger broke the Irish run with a goal for JMU to make it 8-6. Notre Dame again went on a three-goal run with McKinney scoring twice and Orr putting the Irish ahead with a free-position goal at 18:32. Julie Stone halted that run to tie the game at 9-9 before the Irish got goals from Orr, Murphy and Foote to make it 12-9. Stone and Berger scored twice for the Dukes in a 35-second span to make it 12-11. JMU got control of the draw and Cronin came down the right side ready to shoot when Foote stepped in front of her to intercept the ball and the scoring bid to seal the Notre Dame win. Carol Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) made eight saves for the Irish while Livvy King had eight for the Dukes.

LEHIGH RECAP: Notre Dame scored early and often in its 20-4 win over Lehigh on Wednesday, March 8. The Irish scored the first six goals of the game and 12 of the first 13 on the way to the 16-goal win. Freshman Jillian Byers led the Irish attack with a career-best five-goal, four-assist game. Crysti Foote added three goals and four assists and Caitlin McKinney had four points on three goals and an assist. Kaki Orr, Meghan Murphy and Brittany Fox (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) each scored twice in the game. Alicia Billings (Fr., Potomac, Md.), Caitlin Lucas (So., Baldwin, N.Y.) and Heather Ferguson (So., Newtown Square, N.Y.) added single goals as 10 different players got on the scoresheet for the Irish. Carol Dixon and Erin Goodman (Fr., Cortlandt Park, N.Y.) each played 30 minutes in goal, giving up two goals and making two saves each.

GOAL-SCORING RAMPAGE: Through the first six games of the 2006 season, Notre Dame has scored 102 goals for a 17.00 goals-per-game average. The Irish record for goals-per-game in a season is 13.56 (nine games) and was set in the program’s first season, 1997. The school record in a 15-game season is 13.33 and was set in 1999. Last season, the Irish scored 145 goals in 15 games for a 9.67 goals-per-game mark.

FAST START: Notre Dame’s 6-0 start is the best for the Irish since starting the 2004 season with a 10-game winning streak. The Irish finished that year with a 12-5 overall record.

TERRIFIC TRIO: Notre Dame’s high-scoring trio of Crysti Foote, Jill Byers and Caitlin McKinney has had the hot hand for the Irish in the first six games of the season. The threesome has now combined for 65 goals and 37 assists for 102 points in those games. Foote leads the way with 27 goals and 16 assists. Byers is second with 23 tallies and 10 assists for 33 points while McKinney has 15 goals and 11 assists for 26 points. Byers has two game-winning goals and Foote has one on the season.

LARGE MARGIN: Notre Dame’s 20-4 win over Lehigh was the third-largest margin of victory in the program’s 10-year history. The Irish own a 19-goal win over Ohio (22-3 in 2000) and an 18-goal win against Denver (20-2 in 2001).

BYERS BEWARE: Freshman attack standout Jillian Byers scored eight goals and added four assists in two games last week. In the 20-4 win over Lehigh, she set a Notre Dame freshman record for points in a game after recording nine points (5g, 4a) versus the Mountain Hawks. Byers had five goals and an assist in the first half and then set up three goals in the second half of the game. Byers nine-point game also tied an Irish record for points in a home game, matching the nine points recorded by Kerry Callahan `99 (6g, 3a) on March 24, 1997 versus Stanford and Lael O’Shaughnessy `01 (6g, 3a) on March 28, 1999 vs. Connecticut. She followed that with three goals in the win versus James Madison. On the year, Byers has 23 goals and 10 assists for 36 points in six games. The Irish record for points in a season is 41.

Freshman Scoring Leaders:
1. Courtney Calabrese (1998) 38- 3-41 Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998) 27-14-413. Caitlin McKinney (2005) 28-12-404. Crysti Foote (2003) 27-11-385. Jillian Byers (2006) 23-10-33

CHART CLIMBING: When Crysti Foote scored just 34 seconds into the game with Ohio University (March 2), marked the 100th goal of her Notre Dame career, making her just one of four players in school history with 100 goals. Going into the game against Loyola, Foote currently ranks third in goals (114), fourth in assists (52) and third in points (167). The school record for goals is 130 and held by Danielle Shearer `03; the record for assists is 68 and held by Lael O’Shaughnessy `01 and the point mark is 196 and belongs to Shearer. The school record for points in a season is owned by Meredith Simon `04 who had 46-28-74 in her senior year. In six games, Foote has 27 goals and 16 assists for 43 points. Her career best came last season when she had 34 goals and 16 assists for 50 points. She has alread tied her career high with 16 assists.

BIG EAST HONOR ROLL: Crysti Foote was selected to the BIG EAST honor roll for the week ending March 12. In two games, Foote scored six goals and added six assists for 12 points on the week. She was named BIG EAST offensive player of the week in each of the first two weeks of the season.

IRISH STREAKS: Several Notre Dame players have scoring streaks going into the game with Loyola. Some carry over from last season, the others just started in 2006:

Crysti Foote – 16-game streak (53-28-81)

Caitlin McKinney – 9-game streak (23-12-35)

Meghan Murphy scored in three straight games last season before going out with a knee injury on March 6, 2005 and has scored in all six games this year for a nine-game streak (14-6-20).

Jill Byers – 6 games (23-10-33)

Brittany Fox – 3 games (5-2-7)

Kaki Orr – 2 games (4-2-6)

Current Loyola assistant coach, Danielle Shearer `03 holds the Notre Dame record by scoring in 36 consecutive games between 4/25/01 and 5/1/03, getting 85 goals and 51 assists for 136 points in her streak. The streak was still active when her collegiate career ended.

TIME OFF: Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon has now played in 38 straight games for the Irish since taking over the goalkeeping duties in the 2004 season. Until last Wednesday versus Lehigh, Dixon had missed just 13:20 of playing time (playing 2, 158:24 of a possibler 2,172:04) in two-plus seasons. Versus Lehigh, Dixon sat out the entire second half (30:00 minutes) with freshman Erin Goodman seeing her first career action. For her career, Dixon is now 21-17 with a 9.81 goals-against average and a .511 save percentage. On the year, she is 6-0 with a 9.95 goals against and a .500 save percentage.

BEST IN THE NATION: Notre Dame’s freshman class was rated No. 1 in the nation by Inside Lacrosse magazine in its November, 2005 issue. The story had this to say about the 10-player class: “Coming off a disappointing 3-12 season, the Fighting Irish have high hopes for 2006 with Jill Byers (Northport, N.Y.) leading a powerful class that includes immediate contributors Jane Stoeckert (Mendham, N.J.), Mary Veith (Silver Springs, Md.) and Alicia Billings (Potomac, Md.). Goalie Erin Goodman (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) adds strength for the future.” As part of the story, the magazine’s list of “Blue Chip” recruits listed Jill Byers and Jane Stoeckert among its top 10 incoming freshmen.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: Notre Dame’s freshman class has lived up to its early-season billing in 2006. Jill Byers has led the way with 23 goals and 10 assists for 33 points in six games, including a sudden-death overtime game winner versus Stanford and the game winner against Lehigh. Jane Stoeckert has three goals and three assists for six points, collecting the game-winning goal against Cornell and then setting up the game winner versus James Madison. Alicia Billings has three goals and an assist on the year and has been a force in the midfield. Shannon Burke (Baltimore, Md.) has seen action on defense in three games as has Kelly Gaudreau (Annapolis, Md.). Annemarie McGrath (Wayne, Pa.) has played in two games and Beth Koloup (Phoenix, Md.), Lauren deMello (Manlius, N.Y.) and Erin Goodman each saw their first action versus Lehigh.

FOR STARTERS: Freshman Jill Byers didn’t take long to adapt to the college game after an outstanding high school career at Northport (NY) High School. It took less than two minutes (1:59) for her to get her first career assist and then less than six minutes to score her first two career goals. In her first game versus California, the lightning-quick Byers set Irish records for goals in a first game by a freshman (5) and points in a first game with 8. She finished her first weekend as a collegiate player with 10 goals and 3 assists for 13 points. She was selected by as their player and rookie of the week for Feb. 28.

MURPHY ON THE ATTACK: Junior Meghan Murphy moved from midfield to attack this season after recovering from season-ending knee surgery last season. She has eight goals and five assists in her first six games this season. She equaled a career high with four points (2g, 2a) in the win over James Madison.