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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish come back to edge Rutgers

Eric Retter | Monday, April 24, 2006

Notre Dame senior Crysti Foote led the team with four goals and five assists as the Irish snapped their two game losing streak Sunday, topping Rutgers 13-8 in a rainy game at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey.

The No. 7 Irish had previously dropped back-to-back 11-10 contests to No. 1 Duke and No. 3 Georgetown before improving their record to 11-3 (3-1 Big East) with Sunday’s win over Rutgers.

“I was ecstatic about the win,” Notre Dame coach Tracy Coyne said. “I was really happy about the way we responded to a lot of the challenges they put out for us.”

The Irish got off to a quick start, with senior All-American candidate Crysti Foote scoring 48 seconds into the game, and recording an assist on freshman Jillian Byers’ goal 1:04 later.

Behind two goals from Katie Batiuk, the Scarlet Knights were able to tie it just as quickly, making the score 2-2 at 22:46.

Although the Irish increased their lead to 5-2 with goals from sophomores Mary Carpenter, Heather Ferguson and Caitlin McKinney – Foote picked up assists on two – Rutgers again fought back, scoring four unanswered goals to go into halftime with a 6-5 lead.

As the second half began, Foote took control offensively. The senior was involved in the first three goals of the half, scoring two goals after picking up an assist on Byers’ half-opening goal.

A candidate for the Teewaraton Trophy, which honors the nation’s best player, Foote has 55 goals and 29 assists this season, and is only four assists away from breaking Notre Dame’s single-season and career records.

Foote’s nine-point performance was her third of the season and made her the first Irish player to score more than 200 career points.

“The thing about Crysti [Foote]’s game is that she just accomplishes things you don’t even notice,” Coyne said. “She works hard creating opportunities for others. Whatever the defense throws at her, she can recognize whether it’s her time or someone else’s.”

Once Foote’s first goal of the half made the score 7-6, the Irish never relinquished the lead.

After Kathryn Lawrence’s goal 6:47 into the half again made it a one-point game at 8-7, Byers, who finished with three goals and two assists, scored with 22:16 left to play and ignited a Notre Dame offensive run. The Irish score five straight goals, increasing their lead to 13-7 while holding the Scarlet Knights scoreless for 16:59.

With games against No. 13 Syracuse and Vanderbilt remaining on the schedule, Notre Dame hopes to enter the postseason on a high note.

“Our goal this year is to finish on a winning record, and we can do that if we win our next two games,” Coyne said. “[However], that will be a tall order with two good teams left to play.”

Notre Dame will play Syracuse at home Saturday at noon.

Notes:

u Byers now holds the Notre Dame freshman record for goals scored. Her first goal of the game, which was her 39th of the season, pushed her over the mark. Byers currently has 41 goals with two games to play.