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No. 3 Irish Go To Connecticut To Face Huskies In BIG EAST Action

March 31, 2004

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IRISH TRAVEL TO CONNECTICUT: The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team travels to Storrs, Conn., to face the Connecticut Huskies this weekend, Saturday, April 3, in a 12:00 noon game. The Irish take a 7-0 overall record and a 2-0 BIG EAST mark into the contest after winning a pair of home games last weekend versus Virginia Tech (18-11) and Boston College (17-7). Going back to the final four games of the 2003 season, Notre Dame has now won a school-record 11 in a row. The 7-0 start is also the best in school history. Connecticut comes into the week with a 2-5 overall record and an 0-1 mark in the BIG EAST. The Huskies play host to Massachusetts on March 31 before facing the Irish on April 3. They also host Northwestern on April 4. Following the weekend, the Irish return home to host Ohio University on Tuesday, April 6 at 3:00 p.m.

IRISH VERSUS CONNECTICUT: Notre Dame and Connecticut have met five times in the series history with the Irish holding a 4-1 edge in the games played. At Storrs, the teams are 1-1. Last season, the Irish hosted Connecticut at Moose Krause Stadium and took a 15-7 win over the Huskies. The lone Irish loss in the series came on April 8, 2000 with the Huskies taking a 17-7 win at Morrone Stadium on the Storrs campus.

HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne: Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne is in her eighth season with the Irish and is the only coach the program has ever known. Coyne owns a 64-43 (.598) record at Notre Dame and is 178-69 (.721) in her 17-year coaching career. She is 4-1 versus Connecticut since the start of the BIG EAST. In 2003, she led the Irish to an 8-7 record and a 4-2 mark in the BIG EAST, good for third in the league standings. In 2002, Coyne led the Irish to their first-ever NCAA tournament bid as Notre Dame advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion, Princeton, 11-5. 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. She led the team to the medal round at the 2001 World Cup and will serve as head coach of Team Canada again for the 2005 World Cup.

VIRGINIA TECH RECAP: Jackie Bowers (Jr., Springfield, Pa.) scored a career-high five goals and Meredith Simon (Sr., Flemington, N.J.) had seven points (four goals, three assists) to lead the Irish to a BIG EAST season-opening win over Virginia Tech, 18-11, at the Loftus Sports Center. Abby Owen (Sr., Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) added three goals and Lauren Fischer (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) had two goals to pace the Irish attack. Notre Dame took leads of 4-1 and 8-4 in the first half and then broke the game open with five goals in a four-minute span early in the second half to take a 13-5 lead on the way to the 18-11 final score. Carol Dixon (Jr., Pennsauken, N.J.) made 11 saves in the win for the Irish as they outshot Virginia Tech, 34-27, in the game.

BOSTON COLLEGE RECAP: Meredith Simon and Crysti Foote (So., Suffern, N.Y.) each scored four goals and Lauren Fischer had a goal and a career-high three assists to lead Notre Dame to a 17-7 win over Boston College on Sunday afternoon at the Loftus Center. Abby Owen and Kristen Gaudreau (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) added two goals each while the Irish also got single goals from Kassen Delano (Sr., Alexandria, Va.), Mary McGrath (So., Bryn Mawr, Pa.), Jess Mikula (Jr., Chester, Md.) and Jackie Bowers. The Irish jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game before Boston College cut the lead to 5-2 with a pair of goals. Notre Dame again scored the next five goals to build a 10-2 lead on the way to the 17-7 win. The Irish outshot Boston College by a 33-18 margin. Carol Dixon made seven saves in picking up her seventh straight win on the season.

SIMON AND KINNIK NAMED BIG EAST PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: For the second time this season, senior midfielder Meredith Simon has been named BIG EAST offensive player of the week. Simon was named co-offensive player of the week for the week ending March 8. In two wins last week versus Virginia Tech and Boston College, Simor recorded eight goals and three assists for 11 points. She also had six ground balls and eight draw controls in the two wins. Versus Virginia Tech, Simon had her second seven-point game of the year (four goals and three assists) with six ground balls and three draw controls. Versus Boston College, she added four goals and five draw controls in the win. Andrea Kinnik (West Chester, Pa.), a senior defender, was selected as the league’s co-defensive player of the week for the first time as she recorded six ground balls, three draw controls and caused three turnovers in the wins versus Virginia Tech and Boston College. Kinnik also set up Notre Dame’s first goal of the game in the 17-7 win over Boston College. She leads Notre Dame with 22 ground balls on the year and is third with 11 draw controls.

AND THE BEAT GOES ON: Notre Dame can look back on the end of the 2003 season as a jump start for the 2004 campaign. The Irish ended the season with four straight wins to improve from 4-7 on the year to 8-7 overall. Throw in the seven-game winning streak to start this year, and the Irish have now won 11 straight games going into this weekend’s game at Connecticut. The previous longest winning streak for the Irish was six games from 3/13/01 to 3/31/01.

IRISH ON THE NATIONAL SCENE: Notre Dame figures prominently in the national statistics this week:

Individuals:
Points per game: Meredith Simon, 8th, 4.71 ppg
Goals per game: Meredith Simon, 11th, 3.29 gpg
GAVG: Carol Dixon, 15th, 8.03 GAVG
Save Pct: Carol Dixon, 20th, .537 save pct.

Team:
Goals per game: 1st, 14.71 gpg
Team Defense: 14th, 8.14 opponent gpg
Margin of Victory: 5th, +6.57 gpg
Ground Balls: 17th, 26.29
Draw Controls: 5th, 13.57
Caused Turnovers: 10th, 11.43

SCORING STREAKS: Meredith Simon continued her scoring streak that has now reached 18 games, including the final 11 from last season. Abby Owen and Lauren Fischer have scored in every game this season. Here are the current Irish scoring streaks going into the Connecticut game.

Meredith Simon – 18 games (45g, 17a, 62 pts)
Abby Owen – 7 games (20g, 5a, 25 pts)
Lauren Fischer – 7 games (14g, 6a, 20 pts)
Kassen Delano – 6 games (7g, 4a, 11 pts)
Jackie Bowers – 3 games (6-2-8)
Crysti Foote – 2 games (6g, 1a, 7 pts)
Kristen Gaudreau – 2 games (2g, 1a, 3 pts)
Mary McGrath – 2 games (2g, 0a, 2 pts)

CENTURY MARK FOR SIMON: With 23 goals and 10 assists for 33 points through the first seven games of the season, Meredith Simon now has 86 goals and 31 assists for 117 career points in her career. Her 86 goals move her into third on the all-time goal list past Kerry Callahan (83 goals). Her 31 assists rank her fifth all-time and her 117 points is the fourth-best point total in the history of the program.

CAREER YEAR: You thought that midfielder Abby Owen had a breakout season in 2003 when she had 15 goals and 10 assists for 25 points??? Well, in 2004, through the first seven games of the season, Owen has already scored 20 goals with five assists for 25 points. She has four games this season with four points and three games with three points on the year. She had a career-high four-goal game versus Stanford on Feb. 29. She was named Inside Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 29.

HIGH-SCORING IRISH: Notre Dame leads the nation in scoring with 14.71 goals per game through the first seven games of the season. That’s the all-time best scoring mark for the Irish. The previous best is 13.56 goals per game and that came during the 1997 season, the first year that the program existed.

FIVE FOR BOWERS: Just when you thought that the Irish didn’t have enough goal scorers in the lineup, Jackie Bowers joined the attack versus Virginia Tech. All the junior attack player did was rack up a career-best five goals in the win. For the weekend versus Virginia Tech and Boston College, Bowers had six goals and one assist for seven points. On the year, Bowers has seven goals and four assists for 11 points. All are career highs. Bowers had three goals and one assist for four points in limited action last season.

SCORIN LAUREN: Senior attacker Lauren Fischer has started her final season with the Irish on an offensive roll. Through seven games, Fischer has 14 goals and six assists for 20 points to rank third in team scoring. Fischer’s three-assist game on March 28 versus Boston College is a career high. Her four-point game versus Cornell (Mar. 7) was the second of her career and is a career high. She picked up her second three-goal game of the season when she scored three times in the win over James Madison. She has had three-goal games four times in her career. She is well on her way to passing her career-bests in goals (18), assists (6) and points (24) that were established last season.

VERSUS THE BEST: Through seven games this season, Notre Dame has faced teams ranked in the top 20 in four of them and has won them all. All-time, Notre Dame is now 13-27 versus teams that were ranked in the top 20. Among Notre Dame’s wins this season versus ranked teams are victories over #2 Duke and #6 James Madison. Those two wins came against the highest-ranked teams the Irish have ever beaten. The previous highest-ranked team Notre Dame beat was Yale (7th-ranked) in 2001 and in 2002, they downed 7th-ranked Syracuse. In 2003, the Irish were 3-7 versus teams ranked in the top 20.

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN: When the Irish opened the 2004 season at Cal-Berkeley, Carol Dixon became the first goalkeeper to start a game for the Irish besides Jen White (’03) since the final game of the 2000 season. White started 48 consecutive games for Notre Dame, between 2001-2003. Dixon served as White’s backup the previous two seasons and saw action in five games last year, playing 121 minutes with a 8.93 goals-against average and a .571 save percentage. She was 0-0 on the year. This season, Dixon has acquitted herself quite well as she has a seven-game winning streak to start the season and has an 8.03 goals against average and a .537 save percentage. She ranks second in the BIG EAST with the 8.03 goals-against average and is third with the .537 save percentage. Her goals against is the 15th best in the nation and the save percentage is tied for 20th. Dixon was named the BIG EAST co-Defensive Player of the Week for the week ending February 29.

SLAMMING THE DOOR: Through seven games this season, Notre Dame’s defense has given up just 57 goals for an 8.14 goals-against average. The best goals against in the program’s previous seven seasons was 7.49 and that came during Notre Dame’s best season ever, 2002, when the Irish went 13-5 and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals.

GOING ON THE OFFENSIVE: Notre Dame’s defense has even joined in on the goal scoring this season. Going into the Connecticut game, Irish defenders have nine goals and two assists on the year. Kristen Gaudreau (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) leads the defense with five goals and an assist for six points. Andrea Kinnik has three goals and an assist on the year and Jess Mikula (Jr., Chester, Md.) has one goal.

ON THE RIGHT FOOTE: Sophomore midfielder Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) got back on the scoreboard last weekend versus Virginia Tech and Boston College. After going two games without a point, Foote had six goals and an assist in the two BIG EAST wins. For the year, Foote has 10 goals and four assists to rank fourth on the team in scoring with 14 points. As a freshman, she finished third on the team in scoring with 27 goals and 11 assists for 38 points. Foote played in all 15 games, starting the final six of the season. In those six games, she racked up 18 goals and eight assists for 26 points. She ended the year with an eight-game scoring streak with 22 goals and nine assists for 31 points. During her streak, Foote had six-point games versus Georgetown (4g, 2a) and Davidson (3g, 3a). She also had a four-goal game versus Vanderbilt to close the year. Following the season, Foote became the first Notre Dame women’s lacrosse freshman to be named to the Brine/IWLCA all-Mid-Atlantic region team.

THE CAPTAINS: Serving as captains for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team in 2004 will be seniors Andrea Kinnik (West Chester, Pa.) and Meredith Simon (Flemington, N.J.). For both players are first-year captains for the Irish.

NEW KIDS: Freshman midfielder Meghan Murphy (Fr., Centennial, Colo.) has stepped right into the Notre Dame lineup and has played like a veteran through the first seven games of the season. Murphy had a career-high three goals and four points in the win over Cornell (Mar. 7), just her third game in an Irish uniform. For the season she has six goals and one assist for seven points and is seventh on the team in scoring. Fellow freshman defender Meaghan Fitzpatrick (Farmingdale, N.Y.) has seen action in her first seven games, coming off the bench as a defensive reserve. Sophomore Brittany Fox (So., Annapolis, Md.) scored her first career goal in the win over Cornell in her second career game. Junior midfielder Maura Costello (Manhasset, N.Y.) and sophomore defender Katie Killeen (Manhasset, N.Y.) both saw their first action for the Irish women’s lacrosse team versus Cornell. Kristin Hopson (Fr., Rosemont, Pa.) saw her first action versus Virginia Tech while Megan O’Shaughnessy (Fr., Englewood, Colo.) and Kaki Orr (Fr., Darien, Conn.) saw their first career action versus Boston College.

KINNIK FOR THE DEFENSE: Senior Andrea Kinnik had a breakout season in 2003 for the Irish. She led the team with 44 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers while tying for fifth with 20 draw controls. Her defensive skills were recognized in the postseason when she was named first-team Brine/IWLCA all-Mid-Atlantic Region and third-team All-America by womenslacrosse.com. She already has scored three goals this season and leads the team with 22 ground balls, is third with 11 draw controls and tied for third with 10 caused turnovers.

THE LONGEST GAME: Notre Dame’s overtime win versus California was the seventh overtime game in the program’s history. The Irish are now 3-4 in games that go beyond regulation time. On April 13, 2003, Notre Dame played the longest game in its history, a double-overtime loss to Stanford (14-13) that became the longest game in Notre Dame history as the two team’s battled for 72 minutes (60 regulation minutes and four three-minute overtime stanzas). The previous long game came in 2003 versus Duke as the Irish played 71:45 before losing a 10-9 decision. That game ended in sudden-death as the winning goal was scored with just 15 seconds left in the fourth three-minute overtime.

CLOSE ONES: Notre Dame’s 12-11 overtime win on Feb. 27 was the 15th one-goal game in the program’s history. The Irish are now 7-8 in those games. During the 2003 season, Notre Dame was 1-3 in one-goal games with two of the losses coming in back-to-back overtime contests.

GREAT GOALS: Notre Dame ended the 2003 season on the right note by setting a school record for goals in an away game when the Irish scored 22 at #15 Vanderbilt (22-11) in the season finale. The 22-goal outburst broke the previous road mark of 20 set at Gannon (20-10) and equaled the school record of 22 set in a 2000 home win over Ohio University (22-3). The 22 goals were the most scored versus a ranked team, surpassing the mark of 15 set earlier in the season versus Connecticut and Georgetown (ot).

PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATIONS: The Irish were picked in BIG EAST coaches voting to finish third in the BIG EAST this coming season behind Georgetown and Syracuse. The coaches also named Meredith Simon and Andrea Kinnik to their preseason all-BIG EAST team. Inside Lacrosse Magazine ranks the Irish 16th in the nation in their preseason poll.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Two members of the Notre Dame lacrosse team have family ties to the program and two others have ties to the men’s lacrosse program. Junior goalkeeper Carol Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.) got to play two seasons with her sister, Angela, who graduated in May of 2003. The duo gave Notre Dame its second set of sisters to play on the women’s lacrosse team, joining Amy and Mara Grace who played in the first year of the program. Freshman midfield/attack player, Megan O’Shaughnessy (Englewood, Colo.) is the cousin of Irish scoring great Lael O’Shaughnessy, a 2001 graduate. Senior Meredith Simon follows in her brother Eric’s footsteps. A 2003 graduate, Eric served as one of the captains of the 2003 men’s lacrosse team while Meredith is a co-captain of the women’s team in 2003. Sophomore defender Lena Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) is the niece of men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan and the granddaughter of former Notre Dame athletic director Gene Corrigan.