Notre Dame's dynamic duo of Jillian Byers (4) and Caitlin McKinney (1) have been selected to the 2008 IWLCA All-American Team.

Women's Lacrosse Returns To NCAA Tournament

May 5, 2008

Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 when the Irish face the top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats. The game will be played on Sunday, May 11 at Lakeside Field with the opening draw set for 1:00 p.m. (CDT).

For ticket information, contact the Notre Dame ticket office at 574-631-7356.

The Irish enter the tournament ranked 10th in both the IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse polls and are 12-6 on the season. Northwestern is the tournament’s top seed with a 17-1 record and are six-time winners of the American Lacrosse Conference, winning the title last weekend with a 14-3 win over Vanderbilt. This will be the ninth meeting in the all-time series between the two schools and the second meeting in NCAA Tournament play.

The two teams met in the opening round of the 2004 Tournament with Northwestern taking a 10-8 win on May 13, 2004. This season, the two teams met on April 3 at Northwestern with the Huskies handing Notre Dame one of its worst losses ever, a 16-2 decision. The two goals scored in that game were the fewest the Irish have ever scored in the 12-year history of the program.

Northwestern leads the all-time series, 6-2, and the Wildcats have won six straight in the series that started in 2002. The Irish took the first two meetings in the series. At Evanston, Ill., the Irish are 1-4 all-time.

“After missing the NCAAs in 2007, it’s great to be back in the tournament,” said Irish head coach Tracy Coyne after watching the selection show with her team.

“We’re very excited to face Northwestern again. We have tremendous respect for their program and all their recent success. We plan to play a much more competitive game than our first meeting this season.”

This is Notre Dame’s fourth NCAA appearance and the first since advancing to the NCAA finals in 2006. In 2002, the Irish were the eighth seed and played host to Ohio State in the opening game. They downed Ohio State at Moose Krause Stadium, 11-7, before falling to the top seed, Princeton, 11-5, in the quarterfinals. In 2004, Notre Dame traveled to Northwestern for an opening round game and dropped a 10-8 decision to the Wildcats. In 2006, Notre Dame played its first two tournament games at home, defeating Cornell (16-8) and Georgetown (12-9) to advance to the Final Four in Boston. There, the Irish lost in the semifinals to Dartmouth, 14-8.

Notre Dame’s 12 wins this season mark the first time in the program’s history that the Irish have won 10 or more games in three consecutive seasons (the Irish were 15-4 in 2006 and 11-6 in 2007). They were 6-2 on the road this season, including wins over nationally ranked Duke (12-8) and Georgetown (10-8).

The winner of the Notre Dame-Northwestern game will advance to the second round of the tournament versus the winner of the Vanderbilt-Princeton game on Saturday, May 17th. Princeton is the No. 8 seed in the tournament.

2008 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament
First Round Games (Sunday, May 11)

Notre Dame (12-6) at #1 Northwestern (17-1)
Vanderbilt (13-5) at #8 Princeton (12-4)
Towson (13-5) at #5 Syracuse (16-2)
North Carolina (12-6) at #4 Virginia (14-3)
Temple (13-6) at #3 Maryland (17-2)
Duke (11-7) at #6 Georgetown (12-6)
New Hampshire (13-5) at #7 Boston University (17-2)
Colgate (11-9) at #2 Pennsylvania (14-1)
Second-Round Games (Saturday, May 17)
Eight first round winners advance to campus sites

NCAA Semifinals ( Friday, May 23 at Towson, Md.)
NCAA Finals (Sunday, May 25 at Towson, Md.)