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Women’s Lacrosse: Talented squad gets ready for tough year

Joe Meixell | Friday, February 24, 2006

“Risk everything, regret nothing.”

That is the team motto for the Irish as they get ready to begin the 2006 season. Assistant coach Kateri Linville said No. 18 Notre Dame is optimistic for a breakout campaign.

“Based on our off-season training, our team is in very good shape.” Linville said. “Our stellar matches against Pennsylvania, George Mason and Georgetown are indicators that our hard work is paying off,”

Armed with a talented recruiting class and a core of experienced veterans, the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team is ready to erase bitter memories of last year’s 3-12 campaign.

“Winning the national championship is definitely our ultimate goal, as is establishing ourselves as a perennial powerhouse in the Big East,” Linville said.

Since last season, the Irish have upgraded their team in almost every aspect of the game.

Led by seniors Crysti Foote and Carol Dickson, Notre Dame hopes to erase the bitter memories of a season gone awry. It also needs to compete favorably with some of the nation’s top women’s lacrosse programs.

Foote is a major force in the midfield and is a huge leader for the attack position, while Dickson’s leadership and dexterity help her to anchor the team through her superior goalkeeping.

A core of standout returnees, including one All-American and three All-Big East award winners, along with the nation’s best recruiting class, has women’s lacrosse fans everywhere excited. The Irish’s intense schedule includes eight teams that finished the 2005 season ranked No. 20 or better including national champion Northwestern, is a testament to Notre Dame’s firm belief that it is an elite women’s lacrosse program.

While the losses of defensive players, Jess Mikula and Lindsay Shaffer will certainly be felt, a spectacular recruiting class, ranked No. 1 by “Inside Lacrosse Magazine,” gives the Irish a much-needed boost in every facet of the game. Freshmen midfielder Alicia Billings, midfielder Jane Stoeckert, attack Mary Veith and blue-chip midfielder Jill Byers are expected to be important parts in the Irish’s newly revamped offense. Erin Goodman gives Notre Dame depth at the goalie position.

“We’re excited to get Notre Dame back on the map as a lacrosse powerhouse,” Veith said. “We’re just going to do our part to establish a foundation for a dynasty.”

Irish head coach Tracy Coyne has made the most of the off-season, implementing rigorous practices and grueling conditioning sessions. Coyne’s coaching experience of nine years at Notre Dame, along with her international prowess as a two-time Canadian women’s lacrosse head coach, make her among the nation’s elite NCAA women’s lacrosse head coaches.