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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish drub Cornell to advance to NCAA quarterfinals 16-8 drubbing

Jay Fitzpatrick | Friday, May 19, 2006

Notre Dame is having the best season in the program’s ten-year history – and it’s not over yet.

The No. 7 Irish (14-3, 4-1 Big East) beat Cornell 16-8 behind a strong effort by attacks Crysti Foote and Jill Byers Sunday for the second time this season to improve to 14-3 and advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Byers and Foote combined for 12 points, netting four goals and two assists each against the Big Red. The Irish also benefited from 12 saves by senior goalie Carol Dixon.

Foote has scored over 100 points so far this season, shattering Notre Dame single-season records with 68 goals and 34 assists. She has also set school records in many other categories including career points, goals, assists and draw controls, and she ranks first in the country with a four goal per game average.

And her superb season has not gone unnoticed. She was named the Big East attack player of the year and was nominated for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy, given annually to the best amateur lacrosse players.

Foote was also one of the few college players chosen to participate in the 2005 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. Foote played under Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne for Team Canada, and led the Canadians to a fourth-place finish. By playing against the best players in the world this past summer, Foote honed her game for this season.

But as Foote’s college career is coming to an end with this tournament, another is just beginning in Byers, who has broken the Notre Dame freshmen records for goals, assists and points as the second-leading scorer on the team with 51 goals – the second highest total in Irish history only behind Foote – and 22 assists. Byers will be forced to lead this team after Foote’s graduation.

Overall, part of the success of the Notre Dame team has been coach Coyne – the only coach the program has ever had. Coyne was honored this season as the Big East coach of the year.

The Irish rode their fourth best scoring offense in the country at 14.29 goals per game to win their first seven games this season, including dramatic conquests over No. 18 Cornell 17-15 and No. 16 James Madison 12-11, in which they overcame a five point deficit.

Notre Dame’s only three losses on the year came against No. 1 Northwestern, No. 3 Duke and No. 4 Georgetown. The mid-April defeats to both the Blue Devils and the Hoyas came in back to back 11-10 heartbreakers, with the Georgetown loss suffered in double overtime.

Notre Dame will get a chance at a rematch against Georgetown Saturday in the NCAA quarterfinals.