Senior attack Heather Ferguson and her Notre Dame teammates open the 2008 season on Friday versus Canisius in a 5:00 p.m. game at the Loftus Center.

Notre Dame Women's Lacrosse Opens 12th Season With Home Games Versus Canisius And Duquesne

Feb. 14, 2008

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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• The Game: #12 Notre Dame (11-6/3-2 in BIG EAST) vs Canisius (5-11/2-5 in MAAC)

• Date/Time/Site: Friday., Feb., 15, 2008 • 5:00 p.m. • Loftus Sports Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

• The Game: #12 Notre Dame (11-6/3-2 in BIG EAST) vs Duquesne (7-10/2-5 in Atlantic 10)

• Date/Time/Site: Sunday., Feb., 17, 2008 • 12:00 noon • Loftus Sports Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

• All Notre Dame home women’s lacrosse games can be seen live via video streaming at; follow the Irish via GameTracker on

A NEW SEASON: Notre Dame opens the 2008 season this weekend with a pair of games that will be played indoors at the Loftus Sports Center. On Friday, Feb. 15, the Canisius Golden Griffins will provide the opposition in a game that will start at 5:00 p.m. The Irish then close the weekend on Sunday, Feb. 17 by hosting the Duquesne Dukes at 12:00 noon. This is the 12th season for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program. Head coach Tracy Coyne’s squad was 11-6 overall last season and went 3-2 in BIG EAST conference play to finish fourth in the league standings. On the year, the Irish finished the season ranked 13th in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA) poll. The first IWLCA poll of the year has not yet been released, but the Irish were ranked 12th in the Lacrosse Magazine preseason poll. Both games this weekend will have live video streaming and can be seen on the Notre Dame website at

THE IRISH ALL-TIME: This weekend’s games open the 12th season in the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program’s history. The Irish come into the weekend with a 98-70 (.583) all-time record. That includes a 49-24 (.671) home mark and a 38-40 (.487) road mark. Notre Dame is 11-6 all-time on neutral fields. All-time, the Irish are 9-2 in season opening games.

HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne: Tracy Coyne is in her 12th season at Notre Dame and her 21st year in collegiate lacrosse. Coyne brings a 212-96 (.688) career record into this weekend against Canisius and Duquesne. The 1983 Ohio University graduate will be looking for her 100th career win at Notre Dame this season as she begins the year with a 98-70 (.583) mark with the Irish. The veteran coach recorded her 200th career win at the end of the 2006 season with a 16-8 win over Cornell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. She has guided Notre Dame to three NCAA tournament appearances (2002, 2004, 2006), including the school’s first-ever NCAA finals appearance in 2006. In her first 20 years of coaching, Coyne was 23-5 in two seasons at Denison (1988-89), 91-21 in seven years at Roanoke (1990-96) and 98-70 in 11 seasons at Notre Dame. 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. Coyne also has coached on the international level as the head coach for the Canadian women’s lacrosse national team from 1999-2005. In June of 2005, 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 2-0 all-time against Canisius and is 3-0 versus Duquesne in her career.

IRISH TO HOST 2008 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT:Notre Dame will play host to the 2008 BIG EAST Tournament, April 25-27 with the games to be played at Notre Dame Stadium. The conferences top four teams will meet in the historic stadium in two semifinal games on Friday, April 25. Game one begins at 5:30 p.m. with the second game starting 45 minutes after the end of game one. The championship game is set for Sunday, April 27 with the time to be determined. This will be the first women’s varsity event ever held in Notre Dame Stadium.

NOTRE DAME VERSUS CANISIUS: The Irish and the Golden Griffins have met twice in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 2-0 edge. The first meeting came on March 25, 2006 at Moose Krause Stadium where the Irish won an 18-2 decision. Last season, the two teams met at Canisius on March 10 with Notre Dame winning, 18-8.

IRISH VERSUS THE DUKES: Notre Dame and Duquesne have met three times in the all-time series with the Irish winning all three meetings. Notre Dame is 2-0 at home and 1-0 at Pittsburgh. The first meeting came in 1997 with the Irish winning 15-4 at Duquesne. The second meeting came in 1998, on March 24 at Notre Dame. The Irish won that contest 17-9. The two teams did not meet again until last season on April 1 with Notre Dame taking a 15-7 win at Moose Krause Stadium.

TOP-RANKED PLAYERS: Senior midfielder Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) and junior attack standout Jillian Byers (Northport, N.Y.) have been ranked among the top 20 players by Inside Lacrosse magazine in its preseason edition. McKinney, a two-time All-American was ranked as the 14th best player in the country. Byers, also a two-time All-American, was ranked as the ninth-best player in the nation by the magazine. Both players also have been selected as unanimous preseason all-BIG EAST selections in voting by the league’s coaches.

THE CAPTAINS: Seniors Caitlin McKinney and Becky Ranck (Radnor, Pa.) have been selected team captains for the 2008 season. McKinney was second on the team in scoring last year with 44 goals and 21 assists for 65 points and was a second team IWLCA All-American. Ranck is the leader of the Notre Dame defense and a three-time monogram winner during her career. She has played in 47 career games with 46 ground balls, 29 draw controls and 54 caused turnovers in her career.

STREAKS: Three members of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team enter the season with impressive scoring streaks. Caitlin McKinney owns the Irish record with her 39-game point streak (94g, 44a) that started during the 2005 season. Junior Jillian Byers starts the season with a 17-game point-scoring streak that covers the entire 2007 season. Byers had 58 goals and eight assists for 66 points in her streak. Junior Jane Stoeckert (Mendham, N.J.) finished the 2007 season with a 15-game streak, scoring 21 goals and 15 assists for 36 points.

TOP CLASS: Notre Dame’s freshman class ranks among the best in the nation. Among the group, six of the players were selected as high school All-Americans. Leading the way is three-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American Shaylyn Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.). She is joined as a first team All-American by Kailene Abt (Huntington, N.Y.) from the New York region and Lauren Fenlon (Dayton, Md.) and Kaitlin Keena (Vienna, Va.) from the Potomac region. Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.) from the Baltimore region and Ansley Stewart (Alexandria, Va.) from the Potomac region were honorable mention selections.

WELCOME BACK: Head coach Tracy Coyne welcomed a new assistant coach to her staff during the summer, but she is no stranger to Irish women’s lacrosse fans. Former Notre Dame standout Meredith Simon `04 (Flemington, N.J.) joined Coyne’s staff on July 18 after three seasons at Towson University. Simon replaces another former Irish player, Alissa Moser `02, who was married over the summer and is now attending law school. With the Irish, Simon will work with the Irish attack on a daily basis while assisting with recruiting and team travel in addition to the day-to-day office operations. While at Notre Dame as a player (2000-04), Simon became the school’s first-ever, first-team IWLCA All-American as she set a then-Notre Dame single-season scoring mark with 74 points on 46 goals and 28 assists while leading the Irish to the NCAA tournament in 2004. During that season, Simon also became the first Notre Dame player to be a Tewaaraton Trophy nominee as the top player in the nation. A two-time first team All-BIG EAST selection (2003, 2004), Simon was the BIG EAST co-attack player of the year in 2004. A team captain as a senior, Simon finished her Notre Dame career ranked first in games played (64), third in goals (109), fourth in assists (49), third in points (158), fourth in ground balls (123) and third in draw controls (91). She ended her career with the fifth-longest point-scoring streak in the program’s history as she scored in 28 straight games, recording 68 goals and 35 assists for 103 points between March 25, 2003 and May 13, 2004. During her career, Simon was a member of Notre Dame’s first two NCAA tournament teams in 2002 and 2004.

USA…USA…USA: Notre Dame freshman Shaylyn Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) helped the U.S. Under-19 team win the gold medal at the Under-19 World Championships this past summer. The three-time U.S. Lacrosse high school All-American scored 16 goals with one assist for 17 points in six games to help the U.S. team to the gold medal. Blaney became the first Notre Dame player to play on the Under-19 team since Kelly McCardell `03, was a member of the 1999 Under-19 team. Fellow freshmen Kailene Abt (Huntington, N.Y.) and Lauren Fenlon (Dayton, Md.) were alternates for the Under-19 team.

SISTER ACTS: Notre Dame has had eight sets of sisters in the program’s 12-year history and has one sister duo on this year’s team. In fact, this year’s sister tandem are twins – seniors Heather and Lindsey Ferguson (Newtown Square, Pa.). Three other members of this year’s team have sisters who played at Notre Dame. Senior Julie Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) was preceded by her sister, Crysti `06 while junior Lauren deMello (Manlius, N.Y.) was preceeded by her sister Meghan `06 and sophomore Maggie Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) follows her sister, Lena `07. Other sister duos to play for the Irish include: Kelly and Kristen Gaudreau `04, Carol `06 and Angela `03 Dixon and Mary `06 and Annemarie McGrath. The sisters that started the tradition are Amy (`98) and Mara (`98) Grace who played in 1997 and 1998.

BIG EAST SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Senior midfield/attack standout Caitlin McKinney has been selected as Notre Dame’s female BIG EAST/Aeropostale Scholar-Athlete Award winner. She received the honor along with baseball player Brett Lilley and will receive a $2,000 award toward graduate studies. McKinney owns a 3.522 grade-point average with a double major in sociology and film, television and theatre at Notre Dame. A two-time IWLCA All-American, McKinney was selected to the IWLCA academic honor roll following the 2007 season.

RECORDS WATCH: Senior Caitlin McKinney and junior Jillian Byers will continue their assaults on the Notre Dame record books this spring. The dynamic duo continues to move up the goals, assists and points lists. Here’s where they rank to start the season:

Goals1.  Crysti Foote (2003-06)          1612.  Danielle Shearer (2000-03)      1303.  Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998-01)    1224.  Caitlin McKinney (2005- )       1145.  Jillian Byers (2006- )          1126.  Meredith Simon (2001-04)        1097.  Kerry Callahan (1997-99)         838.  Natalie Loftus (1999-02)         769.  Courtney Calabrese (1998-99)     6910. Alissa Moser (1999-02)           67Assists1.  Crysti Foote (2003-06)           762.  Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998-01)     683.  Danielle Shearer (2000-03)       664.  Kerry Callahan (1997-99)         635.  Caitlin McKinney (2005-)         556.  Meredith Simon (2001-04)         497.  Natalie Loftus (1999-02)         338.  Jillian Byers (2006- )           329.  Kathryn Perrella (1998-00)       2610. Eleanor Weille (2000-03)         25Points1.  Crysti Foote (2003-06)          2372.  Danielle Shearer (2000-03)      1963.  Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998-01)    1904.  Caitlin McKinney (2005- )       1695.  Meredith Simon (2001-04)        1586.  Kerry Callahan (1997-99)        1467.  Jillian Byers (2006- )          1448.  Natalie Loftus  (1999-02)       1099.  Lauren Fischer (2001-04)         85    Alissa Moser (1999-02)           85

CAREER YEAR: Junior midfielder Jane Stoeckert turned in the best year of her career for Notre Dame in 2007 as she finished fourth in scoring with 21 goals and 15 assists for 36 points, career highs in all three categories. For her career, Stoeckert has played in 36 games and has 32 goals, 24 assists and 56 career points.

VERSUS THE BEST: Notre Dame’s 2008 schedule features six teams that have been ranked by Lacrosse magazine in their preseason poll that was released in December. The Irish are scheduled to face #1 Northwestere, #3 Duke, #5 Syracuse, #11 Georgetown, #13 Vanderbilt and #19 Rutgers this season.

DOUBLE-DIGIT WINS: With 11 wins during the 2007 season, Notre Dame recorded back-to-back double-digit win seasons for the second time in the program’s history and the first time since winning 10 in 2001 and 13 in 2002. Over the last two seasons, Notre Dame has a 26-10 (.722) record.

MAKING THE STOPS: Junior goaltender Erin Goodman (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) took over the reins in goal last season for Notre Dame, compiling an 11-6 overall record and a 10.32 goals-against average and a .444 save percentage. She finished just one win behind Carol Dixon `06 for the most wins by an Irish goalkeeper in her first year as a starter as Dixon had 12 in 2004. Goodman set a BIG EAST record on March 25, 2007 when she held Loyola (Md.) to just one goal in an 11-1 Irish win, setting the league mark for the fewest goals given up in a game. Goodman had three games on the year with a career-best 14 saves – vs. Cornell (13-7 win), vs. Yale (9-7 win) and against Loyola (11-1 win).

ALL-AMERICANS: The 2007 season saw two members of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team acheive All-American status. Then junior Caitlin McKinney and then-sophomore Jillian Byers were both named second team IWLCA All-Americans. For both players it marked the second time in their careers that they achieved All-American status. Both players also became the first two players in Irish history to be named to the Inside Lacrosse and All-American teams twice in their careers. Byers led the Irish in scoring with 58 goals and eight assists for 66 points while McKinney was second with 44 goals and 21 assists for 65 points. In 2006, Byers was a second team pick while McKinney took third team honors. They are the eighth and ninth IWCLA All-Americans at Notre Dame.

2006 - Crysti Foote (first team)2006 - Jillian Byers (second team)2006 - Caitlin McKinney (third team)2005 - Crysti Foote (third team)2004 - Meredith Simon (first team)2004 - Andrea Kinnik (second team)2004 - Abby Owen (third team)2003 - Jen White (third team)2002 - Kathryn Lam (second team)2002 - Danielle Shearer (second team)

NEW KIDS: Head coach Tracy Coyne announced in December that six high school lacrosse players had signed national letters-of-intent to attend Notre Dame in the fall of 2008. Joining the Irish next fall are:

Name                        Pos.   Ht.Hometown/High SchoolAmy Bernier                 M/A    5-10Strafford, PA/ConestogaKelly Driscoll              D      5-6Andover, MA/AndoverFlannery Nangle             M/A    5-5Auburn, NY/AuburnJordy Shoemaker             D/M    5-7Andover, MA/AndoverMegan Sullivan              M      5-6Winchester, MA/WinchesterMaggie Tamasitis            M/A    5-3Boyertown, PA/Boyertown

HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame finished the 2007 season with a 6-3 record at home. The Irish were 3-2 on the year at the Loftus Sports Center and 3-1 in games played at Moose Krause Stadium. In 2006, the Irish were 9-0 at home and are now 15-3 between the Loftus Center and Moose Krause Stadium over the last two years.

OVERTIME NUMBERS: During the first 11 seasons of the women’s lacrosse program, Notre Dame has played a total of 13 overtime games and is 6-7 in those games. Last year, the Irish were 2-0 in overtime, taking a triple-overtime win versus James Madison (10-9) in the season opener on Feb. 18. In the second game of the year, on Feb. 24, at home, Notre Dame pulled off a 12-11 double overtime win against Stanford. In one-goal games, the Irish are 7-3 over the last two seasons and 14-17 in the program’s history.