July 27, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse assistant coach Sarah Dalton is returning to the Irish staff in 2014 and will be joined by James Madison associate head coach Katie Linnertz, third year head coach Christine Halfpenny announced Friday.
Dalton coached with Halfpenny at William & Mary for two seasons and at Notre Dame in 2012, while Linnertz coached Dalton for two seasons at Boston University in 2008 and 2009 when the latter was putting up All-American numbers with the Terriers.
The two new assistants will team with Halfpenny to lead Notre Dame into the Atlantic Coast Conference after the Irish finished 25-10 with two NCAA Championship appearances in Halfpenny’s first two seasons at the helm of the 17-year program.
Dalton replaces Jill Byers, who is returning to her hometown of Newport, N.Y., to work towards a masters in education while mentoring young lacrosse players in the area to help prepare them for the college game.
Linnertz replaces Jake Marmul, who after a year at Notre Dame is returning to his hometown of Detroit to use his coaching experience in order to help grow the game of lacrosse by introducing the sport to inner city youth and high school students.
“First I would like to thank both Jill (Byers) and Jake (Marmul) for all of their efforts last season,” said Halfpenny. “They have both made decisions to follow respective passions while also being close to their families and hometowns. We wish them well and are excited to see the great impact they make in their chosen paths.
“With this change I couldn’t be more excited about the new staff that we will be bringing to Notre Dame to embark upon uncharted territory in the ACC. The ACC is an incredible fit for Notre Dame athletics and in particular our lacrosse program. It’s the best of the best from top to bottom. That includes not only the institutions and players but the coaching staffs that compete against each other. The addition of Katie Linnertz and the return of Sarah Dalton will position our team to compete for conference and national titles.”
Dalton makes her return to the Golden Dome after a year away from coaching where she worked for the national nonprofit organization College for Every Student, which is committed to raising the academic aspirations and performance for underserved youth in low income communities.
With the Irish in 2012, the Cornwall, Vt., native oversaw Notre Dame’s offensive unit as the Irish finished 13-5 and qualified for both the BIG EAST and NCAA Championships. Under Dalton’s tutelage, the Irish finished 14th in the country in points (348) and 15th in scoring offense (13.39). She also helped coach second team All-American Maggie Tamasitis, who placed second in the country in assists (59), third in assists per game (3.28), 11th in points per game (4.56) and 13th in points (82).
“I am beyond excited to be able to return to Notre Dame and work with Chris and Katie,” said Dalton. “In my year away from the sidelines I really missed working with the student-athletes daily and competing on a national level. Notre Dame has quickly become home to me and I’m looking forward to this coming year as we enter the ACC where we’ll quickly look to compete for conference and national championships.”
Prior to Notre Dame she served as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at William & Mary for two years under Halfpenny.
Over her two-year stint at William & Mary, Dalton helped guide the Tribe to two of the most productive seasons offensively in the program’s history, as the team’s points and goal totals ranked among the school’s single-season top-10 lists in each of the two campaigns under her direction.
With a better understanding of the offensive structure, 2011 was a banner year for the Tribe in terms of offensive efficiency as they scored 12.53 goals per game (213 goals/17 games), bettering the previous season’s total. With the help of a drop in turnovers by 12%, the team’s shot percentage (goals/shot attempts) was the highest conversion rate (.465) for the program since the turn of the century.
Individually, a number of Tribe players also benefited from Dalton’s tutelage, as six Tribe attackers earned all-conference honors over the past two seasons. In 2011, Taelor Salmon was honored as the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year, while Ashley Holofcener garnered second-team all-league honors. In 2010, Mary Zulty earned all-region and all-conference accolades, while Kyrstin Mackrides was selected to the CAA All-Rookie Team.
In her first season assisting with W&M’s midfielders in 2011, Dalton helped a number of Tribe standouts achieve tremendous success. Grace Golden was honored as the CAA Player of the Year and was one of three W&M midfielders who garnered all-conference distinction. One of the most productive players in the program’s history, Golden was also selected as an All-American by three organizations following her senior season.
“Having Sarah Dalton back on staff is exciting as she brings experience with coaching the current team and great knowledge regarding our incoming freshmen class that she helped recruit in her first year at ND,” said Halfpenny. “The reaction that the team had regarding Sarah’s return speaks volumes to the level of coach that she is and to her overall character. She brings passion, purpose and enthusiasm to the office and field every day, which directly translates to our players. We expect Sarah to pick up where she left off, guiding our offense to a high shooting percentage and an overall creative and potent offensive unit. I couldn’t be happier to join forces again as we enter a new chapter in the ACC.”
A four-year starter at Boston University from 2006-09, Dalton finished her collegiate career as the most decorated player in the program’s history. Selected to the U.S. Developmental Team for two consecutive years (2008-09), Dalton was a three-time Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-American, earning first-team honors each of her last two seasons. Additionally, she garnered first-team all-region distinction during her final three seasons and was chosen as the America East Conference Player of the Year twice. Along the way, she helped lead the Terriers to four America East Conference championships and trips to the NCAA Championship all four years.
Dalton finished her outstanding collegiate career with a school record 247 goals, 284 points and 191 draw controls. As a senior, she led the nation with 91 goals – fifth most in NCAA history – shattering her own previous BU single-season record of 71 goals. In addition to being recognized by the IWLCA, the BU team captain also garnered All-America honors from WomensLax.com and WomensLacrosse.com.
Dalton’s long list of accolades also includes being named to the America East All-Conference Team three times, as well as to the All-Rookie team as a freshman. A two-time AEC All-Tournament Team selection, she was tabbed as the event’s Most Outstanding Player as a senior after establishing league records with six goals in the championship game and 11 in the tournament. Dalton also earned the BU Terrier Pride Award in 2009 and was chosen as the Vermont Female Athlete of the Year. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology in 2009.
Linnertz joins the Irish coaching staff after three seasons at James Madison (2011-13) as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator. While with the Dukes, Linnertz helped JMU win the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Championship to secure an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship. She helped mentor four all-CAA defenders, including Cally Chakrian, who twice earned a spot on the IWLCA All-South second team and was named the 2012 CAA Defensive Player of the Year.
The 2007 George Mason alum helped the Dukes’ defense rank in the top 30 nationally for scoring defenses in all three seasons, including a No. 9 ranking during the aforementioned 2011 season. In addition to her on-the-field coaching duties, Linnertz was the recruiting coordinator, the director of camps, clinics and fundraising and planned the travel for the team during the season among many other tasks.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to join the University of Notre Dame and the women’s lacrosse program,” said Linnertz. “It’s a privilege to be affiliated with such a prestigious institution. I am anxious for our players to return to campus so we can start our journey towards accomplishing our goals on and off the field. Collectively, our staff’s experience and chemistry will prepare our players to make an immediate impact within the ACC. I look forward to consistently competing for conference and national titles at Notre Dame.”
Before coming to James Madison, Linnertz spent three seasons at Boston University (2008-10) as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator. While in Boston, Linnertz helped the Terriers to three America East championships and three appearances in the NCAA Championship. She coached four all-conference performers, three IWLCA All-North Region players in Rachel Collins, Corcoran Downey and Kelly Munroe and a developmental participant on the U.S. National Team in Munroe.
Similar to JMU, Linnertz coached the defense to impressive national rankings as all three squads were ranked in the top 20 for scoring defense, including a high of No. 8 in 2008. Linnertz also played a key role in the program’s recruiting and camps and clinics.
“Katie Linnertz joins the Notre Dame staff as one of the most experienced young assistants to come to South Bend in the history of our program as she has six years of Division I coaching experience after four years of playing at George Mason,” said Halfpenny. “She is a proven winner as seen by her team’s success at both BU and JMU. Katie has strong communication skills and brings high IQ to the defensive end. Her ability to scout opponents and assist in devising game plans will be advantageous to the program. We look forward to orienting her to our defensive style of play and are confident that she will make an immediate impact on our future success.”
As a four-year student-athlete at George Mason, Linnertz started 59 of 60 games for the Patriots at defense, totaling 104 ground balls and 93 caused turnovers in her career. A standout in the classroom, Linnertz earned a spot on the IWLCA National Academic Honor Roll twice before graduating in the spring of 2007 with a degree in government and international politics.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Linnertz will marry Brian Powell on August 10, 2013.