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No. 3 Notre Dame Returns To BIG EAST Action With Visits From Virginia Tech And Boston College

March 24, 2004

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  • Notre Dame puts nine-game winning streak on the line with two weekend home games.

IRISH MOVE UP IN NATIONAL POLLS: The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team comes into this weekend’s games with Virginia Tech and Boston College, ranked third in the nation, the highest ranking ever achieved in the eight-year history of the program. The ranking comes on the heels of a pair of wins versus #2 Duke and #6 James Madison during Spring Break in Florida. This week, the Irish open the BIG EAST schedule with a pair of home games at Moose Krause Stadium. On Friday, March 26, the Irish will battle Virginia Tech at 7:00 p.m. On Sunday, March 28, the Irish will face Boston College in a 1:00 p.m. game. This week’s games are the first for the Irish since their 9-7 win over James Madison on March 14. Virginia Tech comes into the weekend with a 3-2 record and a 1-1 mark in BIG EAST play.

IRISH VERSUS VIRGINIA TECH: Notre Dame and Virginia Tech have met three times in the all-time series with the Irish winning all three contests. At Blacksburg, Va., Notre Dame is 2-0. At Notre Dame, the Irish have a 1-0 record. The two teams met last season at Virginia Tech with the Irish taking a 16-13 win.

IRISH VERSUS BOSTON COLLEGE: Notre Dame and Boston College have met five times in the all-time series with the Irish winning all five games. At home, Notre Dame is 1-0 versus the Eagles and 3-0 at Chestnut Hill, Mass. The two teams have met once on a neutral field with the Irish winning that game in Fairfax, Va. Last season, the Irish eked out a 13-12 win against the Eagles at Boston College.

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 62-43 (.590) record at Notre Dame and is 176-69 (.718) in her 17-year coaching career. She is 3-0 versus Virginia Tech and 5-0 in her career versus Boston College. 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.

DUKE RECAP: Notre Dame’s senior class accounted for all 11 Irish goals on the way to an 11-9 upset of second-ranked Duke at the Disney World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. on March 10. Duke was the highest-ranked team that the Irish have ever beaten. Kassen Delano (Alexandria, Va.) and Abby Owen (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) paced the Notre Dame attack with three goals each in the win. Meredith Simon (Flemington, N.J.) added two goals while Lauren Fischer (Pittsburgh, Pa.) had a single goal in the win. The defense also chipped in with goals from Andrea Kinnik (West Chester, Pa.) and Kristen Gaudreau (Annapolis, Md.). Goalkeeper Carol Owens (Jr., Pennsauken, N.J.) made a career-high 12 saves in the win. The win was the first-ever for the Irish versus Duke as the Blue Devils had recorded six straight wins in the series.

JAMES MADISON RECAP: The Irish ran their season-opening winning streak to five straight with a come-from-behind 9-7 win over sixth-ranked James Madison on March 14 at Disney’s World of Sports Complex. Coupled with four wins at the end of last season, the Irish have now won a program-record nine-straight games. Lauren Fischer led the Irish versus James Madison with three goals while Abby Owen and Meredith Simon had two goals and two assists each in the win. Notre Dame twice had to rally from four-goal deficits as the Irish trailed 4-0 and 7-3 in the game and took the lead for the first time with 4:30 left in the game. With the Irish trailing 7-3 in the second half, freshman Meghan Murphy (Centennial, Colo.) got the Irish on the board at 11:47. Fischer added her second of the game to make it 7-5 and Kassen Delano cut the lead to 7-6 with 7:55 left in the game. Fischer’s third goal knotted the score at 7-7 with 5:22 left. Simon put the Irish ahead to stay with 4:30 left and Owen closed the scoring with 1:59 left in the game. Carol Dixon made seven saves in the game for her fifth consecutive win.

MORE BIG EAST HONORS: For the third straight week, the Irish had a player receive honors from the BIG EAST conference. Senior midfielder Abby Owen was selected as the BIG EAST Co-offensive player of the week for her play in Notre Dame’s wins over Duke and James Madison. For the week, Owen had five goals and two assists for seven points in the Irish wins over Duke and James Madison. Owen scored three goals in the 11-9 win over Duke and then added two goals and two assists in the 9-7 win over James Madison. On the year, Owen has 15 goals and three assists for 18 points in five games. She also received honorable mention player of the week honors from Inside Lacrosse Magazine.

NINE STRAIGHT: 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 five-game winning streak to start this year, and the Irish have won nine straight games going into the weekend with Virginia Tech and Boston College. The previous longest winning streak for the Irish was six games from 3/13/01 to 3/31/01.

CENTURY MARK FOR SIMON: With 15 goals and seven assists for 22 points through the first five games of the season, Meredith Simon now has 78 goals and 28 assists for 106 career points. Her 78 goals move her past Natalie Loftus ’02 into fourth on the all-time goal list. Her 28 assists rank her fifth all-time and her 106 points is the fifth-best point total in the history of the program.

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.

OWEN’S BEST: Senior Abby Owen had a career-high four goals and four points in the win at Stanford. She added another four-point game in the win over James Madison. Owen leads the team with three game-winning goals this season (California, Stanford and Duke). Already this season, Owen is second on the team in scoring with 15 goals and three assists for 18 points. She has already equaled her career-high for goals in a season with 15 set last season. She was named Inside Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 29.

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 is already 5-0 with a 7.65 goals-against average and a .552 save percentage. She was named the BIG EAST co-Defensive Player of the Week for the week ending February 29.

ON THE RIGHT FOOTE: Sophomore attack standout Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) got her Notre Dame career off on the right foot as a freshman as 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. Foote has four goals and three assists for seven points in her first five games this season.

SCORING STREAKS: Meredith Simon continued her scoring streak that carried over from the final 11 games of last season. Crysti Foote saw her 11 game scoring streak (26g, 12a, 38 pts.) snapped by Duke on March 14.

Meredith Simon – 16 games (37g, 14a, 51 pts)
Abby Owen – 5 games (15g, 3a, 18 pts)
Lauren Fischer – 5 games (11g, 2a, 13 pts)
Kassen Delano – 4 games (5g, 2a, 7 pts)

SCORIN LAUREN: Senior attacker Lauren Fischer has started her final season with the Irish on an offensive roll. Through five games, Fischer has 11 goals and two assists for 13 points to rank third in team scoring. Her four-point game versus Cornell 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.

NEW KIDS: Freshman midfielder Meghan Murphy has stepped right into the Notre Dame lineup and has played like a veteran through the first five games of the season. Murphy had a career-high three goals and four points in the win over Cornell, just her third game in an Irish uniform. For the season she has six goals and one assist for seven points and is fourth on the team in scoring. Fellow freshman defender Meaghan Fitzpatrick (Farmingdale, N.Y.) has seen action in her first five games, coming off the bench as a defensive reserve. Sophomore Brittany Fox 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.

SLAMMING THE DOOR: Through five games this season, Notre Dame’s defense has given up just 39 goals for a 7.65 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.

VERSUS THE BEST: Through five games this season, Notre Dame has faced teams ranked in the top 20 in four of them and has won them all. The Irish had 10 games in 2003 versus teams that were ranked in the top 20. Against those teams, the Irish were 3-7. All-time, Notre Dame is now 13-27 versus teams that were ranked in the top 20. So far this season, Notre Dame is 4-0 versus teams ranked in the top 20. The 2001 season marked the first time the Irish beat a ranked team as they defeated #17 Delaware on March 31 in Nashville, Tenn. Notre Dame’s wins over #2 Duke and #6 James Madison are against the highest ranked teams the Irish have ever beaten. The highest-ranked team the Irish have ever beaten was Yale (7th-ranked) in 2001 and in 2002, they downed 7th-ranked Syracuse.

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 She already has scored three goals this season and leads the team with 16 ground balls, is third with eight draw controls and fourth with seven 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.