Nov. 1, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A new era begins for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program in 2001 with the arrival of BIG EAST women’s lacrosse competition. Starting their fifth season at the varsity level under head coach Tracy Coyne, the Irish did not lose a senior to graduation from last year and welcome the arrival of another strong freshman class.
“For the first time, we have a team returning that has a significant amount of playing time,” says Coyne, the head coach of the 2001 Canadian World Cup team.
“This is the first year where we have key players returning in every position and have depth and experience. There is more competition at every position and more talented players overall.”
After finishing with a 5-10 record last season, the Irish return such players as all-region selections Lael O’Shaughnessy on attack and Kathryn Lam at defense. Senior Tara Durkin was among the nation’s top goalkeepers last year. The experience and growth of the program was evident in the fall practice season.
“We played our most competitive fall schedule ever,” says Coyne.
“We are excited about how we did against top competition. Fall practice gave us the opportunity to do early evaluation of areas where we need work and to have the freshmen get a chance to taste what the season will be like in the spring.”
The dawn of BIG EAST women’s lacrosse competition in 2001 will be particularly gratifying for Coyne, a driving force among the coaching community for the inclusion of women’s lacrosse under the BIG EAST Conference umbrella. Notre Dame’s six-game BIG EAST schedule features home games against Georgetown, Connecticut and Rutgers and road games at Virginia Tech, Boston College and Syracuse. The Irish played every team but Virginia Tech last year.
“This is the beginning of a wonderful opportunity to be part of the BIG EAST Conference and to represent Notre Dame in the conference,” says Coyne, who led seven teams to conference championships in nine season before coming to Notre Dame.
“Our goal is to win the initial championship but there are lot of great teams in the conference. This will give our teams national recognition. The BIG EAST could be one of the dominant conferences in the country.”
The freshman class won’t be the only new addition set to impact the Irish women’s lacrosse team, as head coach Tracy Coyne welcomes a new assistant coach to her staff. World Cup veteran Danielle Gallagher brings a wealth of international experience to the program. The 1989 graduate of William & Mary has been a member of two championship U.S. World Cup teams and is in training for her third in 2001.
“Danielle has fabulous lacrosse credentials and has experienced the game on so many levels,” says Coyne.
“She is going to bring news ideas and a fresh perspective and will be a tremendous influence on our team. She is competing for a berth on her third World Cup team and will be a positive role modal for the team.”
“Notre Dame is a growing program in a growth area of the country,” says Gallagher.
“It is great to see Tracy doing what she is doing with program. Good things are definitely in store for the program. I’ve known Tracy for years so it will be fun to work with her. She knows what she wants out of the players and has goals and a vision for the program.”
Gallagher was a two-time All-American with the Tribe. Her knowledge of the game and ways to score will provide a boost to Notre Dame’s scoring efforts.
“I saw them play once last year and would really like to help them develop a killer instinct on attack, teach certain attack skills and helping them go to goal more and be smarter,” says Gallagher, who served as assistant coach at Colorado College for the 1999 season.
“My expectations will be high and will be placed upon the kids.”
Gallagher’s arrival at Notre Dame also should help the Manhasset, N.Y., native prepare for the upcoming World Cup in addition to helping the Irish develop into one of the country’s top programs.
“Coaching at Notre Dame will be good for me because of the World Cup this summer,” says Gallagher. “It will be great to be around the team, play all the time and at the excellent facilities that Notre Dame has. It will be great preparation for me for the World Cup.”
Gallagher’s preparation for the World Cup will give one the United States’ rival to the north a first-hand look at the competition, as Coyne serves as head coach of the Canadian team.
“When we are Notre Dame, we will be Notre Dame coaches,” says Gallagher. “I won’t look at her as the Canadian coach, although we definitely will razz each other a little bit. It is great that she is coaching Canada because it is helping lacrosse grow worldwide.”