March 5, 2003
- Irish fall to #11 after 13-5 opening loss to #6 Cornell.
THE GAME: Notre Dame will look to find the winning combination this weekend when the Irish travel to Providence, R.I. to face the Brown University Bears in on Sunday, March 9. The game will begin at 1:00 p.m. at Brown’s Stevenson Field. The Irish opened the season on March 2 at ninth-ranked Cornell where they dropped a 13-5 decision to the Big Red. The loss dropped the Irish from seventh to 11th in this week’s IWLCA rankings. Brown comes into the game with an identical 0-1 record after the Bears dropped their season opener to Northwestern by an 11-10 score last weekend. This will be the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame in women’s lacrosse. The game is the second of three this season for the Irish versus teams from the Ivy League. Notre Dame will face Yale on Tuesday, March 18 at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Following the Brown game, the Irish travel to Athens, Ohio on Tuesday, March 11 for a meeting with the Ohio University Bobcats. Game tiem is 4:00 p.m.
IRISH VERSUS BEARS: Sunday’s game marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools in women’s lacrosse.
HEAD COACH TRACY COYNE: Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne is in her seventh season with the Irish and is the only coach the program has ever known. Coyne owns a 49-37 (.570) record at Notre Dame and is 163-63 (.721) in her 15-year coaching career. She led the Irish to their first-ever NCAA tournament bid in 2002 and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion, Princeton, 11-5. She is 0-1 in her career versus Cornell. 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 leading the Canadian women’s lacrosse national team to the medal round at the 2001 World Cup in England.
OPENING DAY LOSSES: Notre Dame’s 13-5 loss to Cornell on March 2, marked the first season-opening loss for the Irish in the seven-year history of the program. The game was also the first season opener for Notre Dame versus a nationally ranked team. The Irish are now 6-1 in season openers.
CORNELL RECAP: Cornell snapped a 4-4 tie late in the first half and ran off nine unanswered goals on the way to the 13-5 win over the Irish. Meredith Simon (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) gave the Irish a 1-0 lead at 23:19 of the first period. Cornell scored twice before freshman Mary McGrath (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) tied the game at 2-2 with her first collegiate goal at 12:57. A pair of Big Red goals made it 4-2 before Danielle Shearer (Sr., Hampstead, Md.) and Eleanor Weille (Sr., Garden City, N.Y.) evened the score at 4:53. Cornell’s Lindsay Steinberg broke the tie with 49 seconds left in the first half for a 5-4 lead. The Big Red ran off the first eight goals of the second half to open a 13-4 lead before Shearer got her second of the game with just four seconds left for the final of 13-5. Notre Dame was outshot in the game by a 34-26 margin. Jen White (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) made 15 saves in the Irish loss.
RECORD SETTING SEASON: The 2002 women’s lacrosse season will go down as the finest season in the program’s six-year history. Going into the NCAA quarterfinals at Princeton, the Irish have set program-bests for wins (13), for BIG EAST wins (5) and for the highest ranking (7th) that the program has ever achieved. The Irish have also set records for lowest goals against (7.49), save percentage (.545) and ground balls (516). Notre Dame also won its first game at home versus a ranked team when the Irish defeated 7th-ranked Syracuse, 12-7, on April 3. The Irish also won their first-ever NCAA tournament game when they defeated Ohio State on May 9 by an 11-7 score.
A LOOK AT THE IRISH: Notre Dame returns seven starters and 11 monogram winners from its 2002 team. The Irish must replace five four-year starters including their top three defenders in Tina Fedarcyk, Maureen Henwood and Kathryn Lam and midfielders Natalie Loftus and Alissa Moser. Among Notre Dame’s top returnees are senior midfielder Danielle Shearer, who is the team’s top returning scorer after a 39-goal, 20-assist campaign last season. Seniors Kelly McCardell (West Chester, Pa.) and Elizabeth Knight (Baltimore, Md.) are the leaders of the defense while Angela Dixon (Sr., Pennsauken, N.J.) and Lauren Fischer (Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) are the top returnees at attack. All-American candidate Jen White (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) played all 18 games last season and set school records for wins (13), goals-against average (7.49) and save percentage (.545).
2003 SCHEDULE: Notre Dame’s 2003 schedule features seven games versus teams ranked in the preseason IWLCA poll. They are: Duke (#2), Georgetown (#4), Vanderbilt (#8), Cornell (#9), Ohio State (#11), Yale (#13) and Syracuse (#14). For the first time in the program’s history, the Irish come into a season ranked in the top 10, as they were picked seventh in the IWLCA poll and fifth by Inside Lacrosse Magazine.
THE SAVER: With 15 saves in the Cornell game, Jen White has become Notre Dame’s all-time save leader with 314 passing Carrie Marshall (’98-’01) who had 309 in her Irish career. She is also the school’s all-time leader in games played (39) and goals-against average (8.91). As a junior, White was 13-5 with a 7.49 goals against average and gave Notre Dame the seventh-best defense in the nation. A first-team all-BIG EAST selection, White led the Conference in goals-against average and save percentage. She set a BIG EAST record when she limited Rutgers to just two goals in Notre Dame’s 9-2 win on April 28. For the season, the Irish all-America candidate was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week three times (March 17, April 1, April 28).
THE SCORER: Danielle Shearer picked up where she left off a year ago by getting three points (2g, 1a) in the loss at Cornell. The senior all-American candidate has now scored two or more points in 12 straight games dating back to last season. She had two or more points in 17 of 18 games a year ago and currently has a 22-game scoring streak that dates back to April 25, 2001. Shearer is currently ranked second all-time in goals at Notre Dame (97), third in assists (41) and third in points with 138. The school records in each category are held by 2001 graduate Lael O’Shaughnessy who had 122 goals and 68 assists for 190 career points. Shearer needs 26 goals, 27 assists and 53 points to become the all-time leader in each category.
SIMON SAYS: Meredith Simon, Notre Dame’s top postseason scorer last May (5g, 2a, in two games) also got the season off to a fast start with a goal and two assists versus Cornell. A clutch scorer late in games a year ago, Simon had a career-high 28-goal, six-assist season to finish fourth on the team in scoring. In the NCAA tournament, she turned in a career-best five-point game (3g, 2a) in Notre Dame’s first-round win over Ohio State (11-7) and then followed up with two goals in the 11-5 loss at Princeton.
NOT WASTING ANY TIME: Freshman Mary McGrath wasted little time getting on the scoresheet for the Irish as she scored her first collegiate goals versus Cornell with 12:57 left in the first half to tie the game at 2-2.
VERSUS THE IVYS: The Irish were 1-2 versus teams from the Ivy League last season. Notre Dame lost a 10-9 game to Cornell, defeated Yale 11-8 and then lost to Princeton, 11-5, in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Princeton. With last weekend’s loss to Cornell, the Irish are now 6-8 all-time versus teams from the Ivy League
VERSUS THE BEST: Last season, the Irish were 4-5 in games versus ranked teams. With the loss to #9 Cornell (March 2), the Irish are now 6-21 all-time versus teams in the national 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. The Irish then won at #7 Yale on April 16, 2001 for their first win over a top 10 team. The highest ranked team the Irish have ever beaten was Yale (7th-ranked) in 2001 and last season at home when they downed 7th-ranked Syracuse (April 3, 12-7).
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Two members of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse program have been selected to Inside Lacrosse Magazine’s preseason all-American teams. Midfielder Danielle Shearer was a first-team selection while goalkeeper Jen White was chosen to the second team. Shearer, along with graduated defender Kathryn Lam were the first two all-Americans in Notre Dame history last season as both were chosen to the second team. Shearer was the BIG EAST midfielder of the year as she led Notre Dame with 39 goals and 20 assists for 59 points. White was a first-team all-BIG EAST selection along with Shearer as she set school records for wins (13), goals-against average (7.49) and save percentage (.545) in her junior year.
THE CAPTAINS: The Irish will have three new players serving as captains this season. Seniors Elizabeth Knight (Baltimore, Md.), Kelly McCardell (West Chester, Pa.) and Danielle Shearer will serve as the team’s captains this season.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Lacrosse runs in the Simon family as junior Meredith Simon is joined at Notre Dame by brother, Eric, who is a member of the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse program. The senior is one of three team captains in the 2003 season.
NEW ASSISTANTS: Irish head coach Tracy Coyne added two new assistants to her staff during the summer. Brooke Crawford, a 1999 graduate of North Carolina where she was a three-time all-American on defense. She served as an assistant last season at George Mason and prior to that was at the University of Connecticut for two seasons. Jen Newitt, a 2002 graduate of Dartmouth where she led the Big Green in scoring with 39 goals and 18 assists on the way to all-American honors. Crawford will work with the defense while Newitt handles the offense.
MORE NEW FACES: Notre Dame added 11 new faces to its roster with one of its biggest recruiting classes ever. The 11 freshmen are:
THE LONGEST GAME: Notre Dame’s heartbreaking 10-9 loss to 7th-ranked Duke (April 12) in three overtimes goes down as the longest game in the history of the women’s lacrosse program. The total time for the game was 71:45 as Duke got the winning goal with 15 seconds left in the third overtime period. In that game the Irish trailed 8-6 and got goals from Maureen Henwood and Meredith Simon with 1:40 left to send the game to overtime. Simon’s goal came with 19 seconds left in the game. The Irish have played three overtime games in their history and are 2-1 in those games.
BIG SHOES TO FILL: Coach Tracy Coyne and her coaching staff will be looking to replace two key midfielders lost to graduation. Natalie Loftus (first team all-BIG EAST) and Alissa Moser (second-team all-BIG EAST) combined for 56 goals and 19 assists last season. Loftus had a career-high 40 points on 27 goals and 13 assists and Moser had career-bests in goals (29), assists (6) and points (35). Notre Dame’s heartbreak. The Irish will be looking for seniors Anne Riley (Marblehead, Mass.) and Eleanor Wielle (Garden City, N.Y.) and freshman Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) to fill those shoes.
TEAM USA: Notre Dame is represented on the U.S. National Developmental Team by four players. Current Irish standout Danielle Shearer is the only active team member on the squad. She is joined by defender Kathryn Lam (’02) who is a two-year member of the team. Current Irish assistant coaches, Brooke Crawford and Jen Newitt, are also team members.