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    Notre Dame Set To Open 2005 Season At Ohio University

    FIGHTING IRISH Junior Crysti Foote(pictured) and senior Jess Mikula were selected to the BIG EAST coaches' preseason team.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Junior Crysti Foote(pictured) and senior Jess Mikula were selected to the BIG EAST coaches' preseason team.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Feb. 25, 2005

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    LET THE GAMES BEGIN: The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team opens the 2005 spring schedule on Sunday, Feb. 27 when the Irish travel to Athens, Ohio to face the Ohio University Bobcats in a 1:00 p.m. game at Peggy Pruitt Field on the Ohio campus. The game is the season opener for Notre Dame while Ohio plays its opener at home on Feb. 25 versus Duquesne. The Irish are coming off a 12-5 season in 2004 that saw them finish the year ranked ninth in the nation (IWLCA poll) and advance to the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last three years. Notre Dame was second in the BIG EAST with a 4-2 record. Ohio is coming off an 8-8 season and was 3-3 in the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC). Following Sunday's game, the Irish return home to open the home schedule on Thursday, March 3 versus the Northwestern Wildcats. That game begins at 4:30 pm. and will be played in the Loftus Sports Center.

    IRISH VERSUS BOBCATS: Notre Dame and Ohio University have met five times in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 5-0 series lead. The Irish are 3-0 at home and 2-0 in Athens in the first five meetings. The two teams met last season on April 6 at Notre Dame with the Irish taking a 13-8 victory at Moose Krause Stadium. The last time the two teams met in Athens was on March 11, 2003 with Notre Dame taking a 19-4 decision versus the Bobcats.

    HEAD COACH Tracy Coyne: Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne begins her ninth season as the head coach of the Irish and is the only coach in the program's Division I history. Coyne owns a 69-48 (.590) record at Notre Dame and is 183-74 (.712) in her 18-year coaching career. In 2004, she led the Irish to a 12-5 record and a 4-2 mark in the BIG EAST, good for second in the league standings. Coyne was also selected as the 2004 BIG EAST coach of the year. Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last three years where the Irish lost to Northwestern, 10-8, in a first-round tournament game. 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 as the head coach for the Canadian women's lacrosse national team. She led the team to the medal round at the 2001 World Cup and will serve as head coach of Team Canada again for the 2005 World Cup.

    BIG SHOES TO FILL: The Irish will look to replace seven graduated seniors in 2005, including four all-BIG EAST and three IWLCA All-American standouts. Lost to graduation are first team All-American, Meredith Simon, who set a school record for points in a season with 74 (46 goals and 28 assists). A first team All-BIG EAST selection, Simon was the co-Attack Player of the Year in the conference. Also lost from the offense was third team All-American Abby Owen who had 34 goals and 11 assists for 45 points. She was a first team All-BIG EAST player and the conference's Midfielder of the Year. The third All-American lost to graduation was defender Andrea Kinnik who was a first team All-BIG EAST choice and a second team All-American. Kinnik was the BIG EAST leader in ground balls and also led the Irish in that category along with caused turnovers. The fourth all-BIG EAST player who graduated was attack Lauren Fischer who was third in scoring with 28 goals and 13 assists for 41 points. Joining those four were midfielder Kassen Delano who was fifth in scoring with 20 goals and seven assists for 27 points, starting defender Kristen Gaudreau and attack Mia Novic.

    THE CAPTAINS: Serving as captains for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse team in 2005 will be seniors Carol Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.), Jess Mikula (Chester, Md.) and Lindsay Shaffer (Seneca Falls, N.Y.). Each player begins their first year as captains for the Irish.

    WELCOME BACK: Tracy Coyne welcomes back two of her former players as members of her coaching staff for the 2005 season. Returning as an assistant coach is 2002 graduate Alissa Moser who replaced former assistant Jen Newitt last August. Moser was a two-time captain and four-time monogram winner during her playing days. A native of North Wales, Pa., Moser finished her career tied for sixth in points (85), is seventh in goals (67) and is first in draw controls (126). She will work with the Notre Dame offense in 2005. Also joining Coyne's staff as a volunteer assistant is 2004 graduate Kristen Gaudreau. A two-time monogram winner, Gaudreau was a starter on defense in each of the last two seasons and helped lead the Irish to the second-best goals-against average (8.54) in the program's history last season. She returned to Notre Dame to work on her Master's Degree in accountancy.

    FOR OPENERS: Notre Dame goes into Sunday's regular-season opener with a 6-2 record all-time in season-opening games. The Irish are 6-2 in road openers and 5-3 in home openers in the first eight seasons of the women's lacrosse program.

    TOUGH SCHEDULE: Head coach Tracy Coyne likes to schedule strong competition. Last season, 10 of Notre Dame's games came versus team's ranked in the IWLCA top 20. In those 10 games, the Notre Dame was 6-4. The Irish opened the year with four consecutive wins versus ranked teams, beating No. 15 Stanford, No. 19 Cornell, No. 2 Duke and No. 6 James Madison. The wins over Duke and James Madison were the highest-ranked teams that the Irish have ever beaten. Following the four straight wins, the Irish lost three straight to No. 5 Georgetown, No. 11 Northwestern and No. 9 Johns Hopkins by a total of seven goals. They then closed the regular season with wins over No. 14 Syracuse and No. 11 Vanderbilt. Notre Dame's season came to an end in the NCAA tournament when the Irish fell to No. 8 Northwestern, 10-8. The previous best year for the Irish versus ranked teams was the 2002 season when the Irish were 4-5. All-time, the Irish are 15-32 versus top 20 teams. This season, the Irish will face seven teams ranked in the preseason top 20. The list includes: #3 Northwestern, #4 Duke, #6 Johns Hopkins, #12 Syracuse, #13 James Madison and #16 Vanderbilt.

    ALL-AMERICANS: Notre Dame had three players receive All-American honors in 2004, the most ever in the program's eight-year history. Leading the way was senior Meredith Simon who became the school's first-ever first team IWLCA All-American. She also was a second team Inside Lacrosse and womenslacrosse.com All-American. Defensive standout Andrea Kinnik took IWLCA second team honors and was a third team selection by both Inside Lacrosse magazine and womenslacrosse.com. Midfielder Abby Owen also took All-American honors as a third team selection by both IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse magazine.

    COACH OF THE YEAR: Head Coach Tracy Coyne was named the BIG EAST coach of the year following the 2004 season. For Coyne, this was her first BIG EAST coach of the year honor. She is no stranger to coach of the year honors as in 1990 she was selected as the NCAA Division III coach of the year at Roanoke and was the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) coach of the year in 1990 and 1995. Prior to her stint at Roanoke (1990-96), Coyne spent two years at Denison College (1988-89) where she was the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) coach of the year in 1988.

    FAMILY TIES: Five members of the Notre Dame lacrosse team have family ties to the program and one other has ties to the men's lacrosse program. Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon (Pennsauken, N.J.) played two seasons (2002 and 2003) with her sister, Angela, who graduated in May of 2003. Notre Dame's third and fourth sister acts arrived on campus in the fall when twins Heather and Lindsey Ferguson (Newtown Square, Pa.) joined the Irish along with fellow freshman Julie Foote (Suffern, N.Y.) who is the sister of junior attack standout Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.). The Dixon's, Ferguson's and Foote's give Notre Dame four sets of sisters to play on the women's lacrosse team, joining Amy and Mara Grace who played in the first year of the program. Sophomore midfield/attack player, Megan O'Shaughnessy (Englewood, Colo.) is the cousin of Irish scoring great Lael O'Shaughnessy, a 2001 graduate. Sophomore defender Lena Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) is the niece of men's lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan and associate athletic director Boo Corrigan, as well as, the granddaughter of former Notre Dame athletic director Gene Corrigan.

    FOOTE LOOSE: Junior attack standout Crysti Foote is Notre Dame's top returning scorer. As a sophomore, she scored 26 goals and added nine assists for 35 points in 17 games. She was a second team all-BIG EAST selection and was a second team IWLCA Mid-Atlantic Region selection. As a freshman, she finished third on the team in scoring with 27 goals and 11 assists for 38 points. Following her rookie season, Foote became the first Notre Dame women's lacrosse freshman to be named to the IWLCA first team all-Mid-Atlantic region team. After two seasons at Notre Dame, she already is 10th all-time in scoring with 53 goals and 20 assists for 73 points. She was selected as a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse Magazine and was selected as a preseason all-BIG EAST selection in voting by the coaches.

    NCAA APPEARANCES: Notre Dame has now made two appearances in the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament. In 2004, the Irish lost in the first round at Northwestern by a 10-8 score. In 2002, the Irish advanced for the first time, defeating Ohio State at Moose Krause Stadium, 11-7, before losing to top-ranked Princeton, 11-5, in the quarterfinals.

    PRESEASON HONORS: Two Notre Dame players were selected by BIG EAST coaches as preseason all-BIG EAST team members. Making the list are senior Jess Mikula (Chester, Md.) and junior Crysti Foote (Suffern, N.Y.). Both players were second team all-BIG EAST selections in 2004. Mikula recorded 33 ground balls and had 22 caused turnovers from here defensive position last season. Foote is Notre Dame's top returning scorer after getting 26 goals with nine assists for 35 points last season. She was also named a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse Magazine.

    GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Notre Dame set school records in 2004 with 206 goals and 297 points. The graduating class of Meredith Simon (46g, 28a), Abby Owen (34g, 11a), Lauren Fischer (28g, 13a), Kassen Delano (20g, 7a), Kristen Gaudreau (7g, 1a), Andrea Kinnik (4g, 2a) and Mia Novic (1g, 2a) accounted for 140 goals, 64 assists and 204 points. That means the 2005 Irish will have to replace 67.9% of their goals, 70.3% of their assists and 68.7% of their total points from last year.

    STREAKY IRISH: Notre Dame opened the 2004 season with 10 consecutive wins, the most ever for the Irish at the start of a season. Combined with wins in the final four games of 2003, Notre Dame put together a school-record 14-game winning streak. The streak went from 4/22/03 to 4/17/04. Prior to that, the longest winning streak the Irish ever had was a six-game streak from 3/13/01 to 3/31/01.

    SCORING STREAKS: Only one Notre Dame player enters the 2005 season in the midst of a scoring streak. Junior Crysti Foote has a three-game scoring streak, during which she has seven goals and one assist for eight points.

    HEIR APPARENT: Senior defender Jess Mikula looks to be the top replacement on defense to graduated All-American Andrea Kinnik. Mikula was a second team All-BIG EAST selection last season as she had 33 ground balls (second among defensive) players and recorded 22 caused turnovers (tied for second on the team). Mikula was a preseason all-BIG EAST selection this season and is one of the key performers on Notre Dame's veteran defensive squad.

    BOWERS POWERS: Senior attacker Jackie Bowers (Springfield, Pa.) will look to take up some of the scoring slack left by the departure of four graduated seniors on offense. As a first-year starter in 2004, Bowers finished sixth on the team in scoring with career highs in goals (14), assists (11) and points (25). She will team with Crysti Foote to give the Irish a strong 1-2 punch at attack.

    SLAMMING THE DOOR: Senior goalkeeper Carol Dixon took over in goal for the Irish in 2004 after serving as the team's back up in her first two seasons. In 2004, Dixon played all but 3:28 minutes on the year and turned in a 12-5 record with an 8.57 goals-against average and a .505 save percentage. She ranked 14th in the nation in goals-against average and that average was the second-lowest mark in the eight-year history of the program.

    CLOSE ONES: Notre Dame's five losses in 2004 came by a grand total of 10 goals. The Irish suffered one-goal losses to Johns Hopkins (13-12) and Rutgers (7-6) and a pair of two-goal losses to Georgetown (9-7) and Northwestern (10-8 in NCAA tournament). The worst Notre Dame loss of the season was a four-goal loss versus Northwestern in the regular season (9-5).

     

     

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