Junior Jillian Byers will look to add to her career-best 67 goals when the Irish face Northwestern in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tenth-Ranked Notre Dame Returns To Face Northwestern In Opening Round Of NCAA Tournament

May 8, 2008

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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• The Game: #10/#9 Notre Dame (12-6) at #1/#2 Northwestern (17-1)

• Date/Time/Site: Sun., May 11, 2008 • 1:00 p.m. (CDT) • Lakeside Field • Evanston, Ill.

• Internet: The Notre Dame – Northwestern game will be available via gametracker at the Notre Dame website – und.com.

BACK TO THE TOURNAMENT: The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to the NCAA Tournament this week as the Irish will travel to Evanston, Ill., to face the tourney’s top-seeded team – the Northwestern Wildcats – in first-round action on Sunday, May 11. The game will be played at Northwestern’s Lakeside Field with the opening draw set for 1:00 p.m. (CDT). This is Notre Dame’s first NCAA appearance since 2006 when the Irish advanced all the way to the Final Four in Boston. Overall, this is Notre Dame’s fourth NCAA appearance. The Irish finished the 2008 season with a 12-6 overall record and were 4-1 in the BIG EAST, good for second place. The Irish lost in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament, dropping a 15-14 triple overtime game to Georgetown on April 25. They come into the week ranked 10th in the IWLCA poll and ninth by Inside Lacrosse. Northwestern is 17-1 on the season and has won three consecutive NCAA titles. The Wildcats finished first in the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) and last weekend won their sixth-consecutive league crown with a 14-3 win over Vanderbilt in the title game. Northwestern enters the tournament tied for first in the nation with Penn in the IWLCA poll and is ranked second by Inside Lacrosse.

IRISH VERSUS WILDCATS: Sunday’s game will be the ninth meeting between Notre Dame and Northwestern in women’s lacrosse since the series began in 2002. It is the second time the two schools have met in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament. The Wildcats own a 6-2 edge all-time and have won six straight games since the 2004 campaign. In the NCAA Tournament, Northwestern is 1-0 versus Notre Dame. The two teams met this season on April 9 in Evanston with the Wildcats handing the Irish a 16-2 loss. The two goals scored by Notre Dame were the fewest ever for the Irish in a single game in the program’s history.

EVEN YEAR VISITORS: Notre Dame has now made the NCAA Tournament four times in the program’s 12-year history and four times in the last seven years, advancing in the even years – 2002, 2004, 2006 and now, 2008. The Irish are 3-3 in six tournament games, including 3-0 at home, 0-2 on the road and 0-1 on neutral fields.

2002 NCAA TOURNAMENT:                       2004 NCAA TOURNAMENT
5/9/02 - at Notre Dame 11, Ohio State 7 5/13/04 - at Northwestern 10, Notre Dame 85/12/02 - at Princeton 11, Notre Dame 5
2006 NCAA TOURNAMENT:5/14/06 - at Notre Dame 16, Cornell 85/20/06 - at Notre Dame 12, Georgetown 95/27/06 - vs. Dartmouth 14, Notre Dame 8 (at Boston, Mass.)

CORNELL RECAP: Jillian Byers (Jr., Northport, N.Y.), Shaylyn Blaney (Fr., Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Jane Stoeckert (Jr., Mendham, N.J.) combined for 11 of Notre Dame’s 15 goals on May 3 afternoon to lead the Irish to a crucial 15-11 win over No. 15 Cornell at Alumni Field. The game proved to be a showdown for one of the last spots in the NCAA Tournament as the Irish made the field while the Big Red did not. Byers led the way with a six-point game (5g, 1a) with Blaney adding four points (3g, 1a) and Stoeckert three goals on the afternoon, including goals 32 seconds a part with just over 10 minutes left to put the Irish ahead to stay. Alicia Billings (Jr., Potomac, Md.), Gina Scioscia (So., Summit, N.J.), Kaitlin Keena (Fr., Alexandria, Va.) and Kailene Abt (Fr., Huntington, N.Y.) added single goals in the win. Courtney Farrell paced Cornell with three goals while Noelle Dowd and Katherine Simmons added two goals apiece. Tissy O’Connor, Libby Johnson, Charlotte Schmidlapp and Halsey Diakow had solo goals for the Big Red. The Big Red out shot the Irish, 28-27 in the game. Erin Goodman (Jr., Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) finished with nine saves, including seven in the first half. Kristen Reese had eight saves for Cornell.

HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne: Tracy Coyne is in her 12th season at Notre Dame and her 21st year in collegiate lacrosse. Coyne brings a 225-102 (.689) career record into the NCAA Tournament game versus Northwestern. On Sunday, Feb. 17, she recorded her 100th career win at Notre Dame with the 16-4 win over Duquesne. As the only head coach in the Notre Dame program’s history, Coyne is 110-76 (.589). A 1983 Ohio University graduate, Coyne recorded her 200th career win at the end of the 2006 season with a 16-8 victory over Cornell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. She has guided Notre Dame to four NCAA tournament appearances (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008), 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 109-76 in 12 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 3-3 in her previous three NCAA appearances and is 2-6 all-time against Northwestern.

BIG EAST TRIO: The BIG EAST Conference has three teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Joining the Irish are fifth-seeded Syracuse and sixth-seeded Georgetown. The Orange, who won the BIG EAST Tournament will play host to Towson while Georgetown hosts Duke on Sunday afternoon.

BIG EAST TOURNAMENT RECAP: Notre Dame played host to the 2008 BIG EAST Tournament, held at Notre Dame Stadium on April 25 and 27 with the tournament featuring Syracuse, Georgetown, Rutgers and the Irish. In the opening semifinal game, Syracuse handed Rutgers a 22-7 loss. In the nightcap, Notre Dame and Georgetown hooked up for a thriller with the Hoyas prevailing, 15-14, scoring the winning goal at 71:14. The Irish jumped out to 8-1 and 9-2 leads in the opening half only to see Georgetown cut the margin to 10-6 at halftime. The Hoyas would score five of the first six goals in the second half to tie the score at 11-11 with 18:51 left. Jillian Byers scored with 11:21 left to give the Irish a 12-11 lead only to see Mary Beth Brophy and Jordy Kirr score the next two goals for a 13-12 Hoya lead. Caitlin McKinney scored on a free-position shot with 1:17 left to tie the game at 13-13. In the first overtime, Gina Scioscia scored first at 2:52 only to be answered by Kirr at 2:37. From there, the defenses and goalkeepers took over, holding the game scoreless until 46 seconds remained in the second sudden-death period when Molly Ford scored her fourth of the game for the game winner. Shaylyn Blaney led the Irish with a career-high five goals. McKinney added three goals and an assist and Scioscia scored once with four assists for a five-point night. Jane Stoeckert had two goals and one assist while Byers, Heather Ferguson (Sr., Newtown Square, Pa.)and Shannon Burke (Jr., Baltimore, Md.) had one goal each. The two teams each took 33 shots on goal. Erin Goodman had 14 saves in the game. In the championship game on Sunday, the Syracuse Orange defeated Georgetown, 12-6, to win their second consecutive BIG EAST title.

THE LONGEST GAME: Notre Dame’s overtime sudden-death loss to Georgetown on April 25 was the second-longest game in the program’s history as the team’s played 71:14 before deciding a winner. The teams played the two regulation, three-minute periods, one full sudden-death period and 2:14 of a second sudden death before Molly Ford scored for the Hoyas with 46 seconds left. The longest game in the program’s histor came on April 12, 2002, when the Irish played 71:45 in a 10-9 loss at home to the Duke Blue Devils.

TEWAARATON TROPHY NOMINEES: Notre Dame senior midfielder Caitlin McKinney and junior attack Jillian Byers were among 18 women’s lacrosse players nominated for the Tewaaration Trophy that is awarded to the top player in the nation each year. Neither player advanced to the group of five finalists. The dynamic duo joined Crysti Foote `06 and Meredith Simon `04 as Irish players nominated for the award. Byers leads Notre Dame in scoring with 67 goals and 14 assists for 81 points while McKinney has 38 goals and 25 assists from her spot in the midfield. Earlier this season, both players went over 200 points for their careers with McKinney ranking second and Byers third. Byers is the school’s all-time goal-scoring leader with 179. McKinney became Notre Dame’s all-time assist leader versus Georgetown and now has 80 for her career.

A LACROSSE SCHOOL: Notre Dame sports not one but two lacrosse programs that will be participating in the NCAA Tournament this weekend. The Irish men’s lacrosse team is seeded sixth in the men’s tournament and will play host to Colgate on Sunday, May 11 at Alumni Field. The game will televised on ESPNU. The men are 13-2 and were champions of the Great Western Lacrosse League. This marks the second time in the history of the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs that both teams are in the NCAA Tournament at the same time. The first time came in 2006. Notre Dame is one of seven schools this season to have both a men’s and women’s team in the NCAA Tournament. The other six are: Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Duke and Colgate.

BIG EAST HONORS: Senior midfielder Caitlin McKinney and Irish head coach Tracy Coyne were among the major award winners at the BIG EAST postseason banquet held on April 24. McKinney was named the BIG EAST midfielder of the year. The speedster is second on the team in scoring with 38 goals and 25 assists for 63 points and ranks fifth in the conference this season. She is the third Notre Dame midfielder to be named the conference’s midfielder of the year, joining Danielle Shearer `03 in 2002 and Abby Owen `04 in 2004. Coyne was selected as BIG EAST coach of the year for the third time in her 12 seasons at Notre Dame. She guide the Irish to the No. 2 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament and an 12-6 overall and 4-1 mark in the conference. She was also named coach of the year in 2004 and 2006.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Freshman Shaylyn Blaney and senior Caitlin McKinney were selected to the BIG EAST all-tournament team for their play in the 15-14 triple-overtime loss to Georgetown. Blaney led the Irish with a career-high five-goal game while McKinney chipped in three goals and added an assist for four points in the contest.

DOING HER PART: Going into this weekend’s games, Jillian Byers has had her hand in a major portion of Notre Dame’s offensive attack. Among teams participating in the NCAA Tournament, she is tops among players in percentage of team’s goals scored. Byers has scored 27.3% of Notre Dame’s goals this season (67 of 245). She leads Georgetown’s Ashby Kaestner (27.1% – 48 of 177) and Towson’s Hillary Fratzke (25.6% on 59 of 230). Byers’ 67 goals ties her for second in the nation. Only Fairfield’s Kristen Coleman with 68 has more goals. She is tied with Navy’s Erin Rawlick with 67.

MORE MCKINNEY HONORS: Senior midfielder Caitlin McKinney was named a recipient of Notre Dame’s Francis Patrick O’Connor Award. The University has presented this award in the name of O’Connor, a former student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame. Pat was the son of William “Bucky” O’Connor, who played guard for the Notre Dame football team in the 1940’s. The O’Connor Award honors male and female student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspirations to their respective teams. To be considered, student-athletes must possess those qualities attributed to Pat O’Connor: caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience. The award is one of the top honors a Notre Dame student-athlete can win.

200-POINT CLUB: Senior Caitlin McKinney and junior Jillian Byers became the second and third players in Irish history to go over 200 points in their careers this season. McKinney goes into the Northwestern game with 152 career goals and 80 assists for 232 points to rank second on the all-time list. Byers has 179 goals and 46 assists for 225 career points to rank third overall. Crysti Foote `06 is the all-time leader with 237 career points.

LIGHTING IT UP: With five goals versus Cornell, junior Jillian Byers now has 10 games this season with four or more goals. Byers has 62 goals on the season and is just the second Notre Dame player to score 60 or more goals in a year as she joins Crysti Foote `06 who had 74 in 2006. Byers is the only Irish player to score 75 or more points in a season twice and have three seasons of 66 or more points. Her three 50+ goal seasons are a first for any Notre Dame player. Her current mark of 81 points moves her into second on the single-season point list as she past her freshman mark of 78 points. Only Foote with 114 points in 2006 has scored more points in one season.

LEADER OF THE PACK: With one assist in the loss to Georgetown during the BIG EAST Tournament, Caitlin McKinney became Notre Dame’s all-time assist leader, passing Crysti Foote `06. She has now picked up 80 assists in her career. Notre Dame’s all-time career assist leaders:

Assists1.  Caitlin McKinney (2005-)        802.  Crysti Foote (2003-06)          763.  Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998-01)    684.  Danielle Shearer (2000-03)      665.  Kerry Callahan (1997-99)        636.  Meredith Simon (2001-04)        497.  Jillian Byers (2006- )          468.  Gina Scioscia (2007-)           399.  Heather Ferguson (2005-)        3410. Natalie Loftus (1999-02)        33

VERSUS NO. 1: With Northwestern having a share of the top spot in the IWLCA rankings, the Wildcats become the fifth team that Notre Dame has faced while ranked No. 1 in the nation. They are 0-4 in those games. The last time the Irish faced a top-ranked team was on April 9 when they dropped a 16-2 decision to Northwestern. They have faced Northwestern three times as a No. 1 team with Princeton being the fourth team ranked No. 1 when the Irish faced the Tigers in the 2002 NCAA Tournament.

VERSUS THE BEST: Notre Dame’s win over #15/#14 Cornell on May 3 improved the Irish to 3-4 this season against ranked teams. The wins have come at Georgetown and Duke along with Cornell while the losses came to Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Northwestern and Syracuse on the year. Notre Dame’s 2008 schedule featured five teams that are in this year’s NCAA Tournament – Northwestern, Syracuse, Georgetown, Vanderbilt and Duke.

THE PLAYMAKER: Sophomore Gina Scioscia continued her impressive season with a goal and two assists in the win over Cornell. As a freshman in 2007 she recorded just eight points on four goals and four assists. This year, she has 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points, a 44-point improvement over her rookie year. Scioscia’s 35-assist season is the second-best single-season assist mark in the program’s history. She has nine games this year with two or more assists. In just two seasons, Scioscia now has 37 career assists and that ranks her eighth all-time at Notre Dame.

Single Season Assists1.  Crysti Foote (2006)         402.  Gina Scioscia (2008)        353.  Kerry Callahan (1999)       324.  Meredith Simon (2004)       28    Lael O'Shaughnessy (2001)   286.  Danielle Shearer (2003)     267.  Caitlin McKinney (2008)     258.  Jillian Byers (2006)        249.  Caitlin McKinney (2006)     22    Lena Zentgraf (2007)        22

RECORD SETTER: In Notre Dame’s 12-8 win over Duke, junior attack standout Jillian Byers became Notre Dame’s all-time leading goal scorer with three goals against the Blue Devils. She came into that game tied for first with Crysti Foote `06 who had 161 in her career. Byers, who now has 67 goals on the season, has 179 for her career. Foote reached her goal mark in 66 career games. Byers set the new standard of 164 goals in 48 career games. The Top 10:

Goals1.  Jillian Byers (2006- )          1792.  Crysti Foote (2003-06)          1613.  Caitlin McKinney (2005- )       1524.  Danielle Shearer (2000-03)      1305.  Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998-01)    1226.  Meredith Simon (2001-04)        1097.  Kerry Callahan (1997-99)         838.  Natalie Loftus (1999-02)         769.  Courtney Calabrese (1998-99)     6910. Alissa Moser (1999-02)           67

RIGHT TO THE POINT: Caitlin McKinney and Jillian Byers became the second and third players in Irish history to go over 200 points in their careers and currently rank second and third on the all-time list. Joining them in the top 10 is senior Heather Ferguson (Newtown Square, Pa.) who is now ninth all-time with 55 goals and 34 assists for 89 career points.

Points1.  Crysti Foote (2003-06)          2372.  Caitlin McKinney (2005- )       2323.  Jillian Byers (2006- )          2254.  Danielle Shearer (2000-03)      1965.  Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998-01)    1906.  Meredith Simon (2001-04)        1587.  Kerry Callahan (1997-99)        1468.  Natalie Loftus  (1999-02)       1099.  Heather Ferguson (2004- )        8910. Lauren Fischer (2001-04)         85    Alissa Moser (1999-02)           85

THE ROOKIE: Not to be outdone by the elder statesmen on the team, freshman midfielder Shaylyn Blaney has quietly putting together a solid rookie season. Blaney is tied for third on the team with 52 points, scoring 43 goals with nine assists. Her 43 goals are the eighth-best single season total and the second most by a freshman behind Jillian Byers (54 in 2006). Her 52 points are the 11th best and Notre Dame and second best freshman total behind Byers’ 78-point freshman year in 2006. Blaney has 10 games this season with three or more goals and leads the team with four game winners.

Irish Rookie Leaders1.  Jillian Byers (2006)            54-24-782.  Shaylyn Blaney (2008)           43-9-523.  Courtney Calabrese (1998)       38-3-41    Lael O'Shaughnessy (1998)       27-14-415.  Caitlin McKinney (2005)         28-12-406.  Crysti Foote (2003)             27-11-38

STREAK BUSTERS: The two goals scored by Notre Dame in the 16-2 loss at Northwestern on April 9 were the fewest ever scored by the Irish in a game in the program’s 12-year history. That game also saw the end of two long scoring streaks for the Irish. Caitlin McKinney was held off the scoresheet for the first time since April 16, 2005, a span of 51 games that saw her score 124 goals and 61 assists for 185 points. Jillian Byers also saw her 30-game goal and point streak stopped versus the Wildcats. She had 120 goals and 19 assists for 139 points in that span. McKinney’s 51-game streak was the second-longest streak in the nation.

OVERTIME NUMBERS: Notre Dame’s overtime loss to Georgetown on April 25 was the second overtime game of the year for the Irish as they also lost to Syracuse on March 13. Notre Dame has now played in 15 overtime games in the program’s 12-year history and is 6-9 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.