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Women’s Lacrosse: Coyne builds solid program

Cory Bernard | Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It turns out the football team isn’t the only Irish squad that casts a national recruiting net. Irish coach Tracy Coyne has recruited effectively over the past several years, successfully stocking the cupboards in each class.

Boasting players from 12 states and England, Coyne gives some credit for this success on the recruiting trail to the spread of lacrosse to all parts of the country

“With each class, we have an even mix numbers-wise, and we have a good geographic mix as well, which I like,” she said. “It’s indicative of how lacrosse is spreading.”

Coyne and her staff changed their approach to recruiting to achieve a diverse roster.

“In 2005, we went 3–12, the next year we went to the final four,” Coyne said. “In between that time, my practice and recruiting philosophy changed.”

This turn-around from club team to successful varsity sport included the program’s first ever Big East championship in 2009, and continues as the 2011 Inside Lacrosse preseason media poll ranked Notre Dame 10th. Coyne recognizes the importance of such national exposure to recruiting.

“I think a part of you wants to be recognized, we always want to be one of the best in the country,” she said. “Kids playing lacrosse in junior high see that (preseason ranking) and they know about Notre Dame.”

With such success comes a higher standard, a fact Coyne said her staff is doing a better job communicating to high school seniors.

“We’ve been doing a good job letting them know, so when they get here they know what the expectations are,” she said of freshmen new to the program. “From a lacrosse standpoint, we are getting top players.”

A group of seven, six of whom have been regular contributors since their freshman year, the senior class is highlighted by team captains Shaylyn Blaney and Jackie Doherty.

“Both are exceptional players,” Coyne said of her senior captains. “More than that, though, those two represent the senior class’s commitment to the program.”

The rest of Notre Dame’s roster has also shown similar commitment to Irish lacrosse, Coyne said.

“We have a really good retention rate,” she said.