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Women’s Lax: Irish host Orange

Eric Retter | Friday, April 28, 2006

After a month on the road, No. 7 Notre Dame returns home for its final Big East game against No. 13 Syracuse Saturday at noon.

The Irish (11-3, 3-1 Big East) last played at home March 25, drubbing Canisius 18-2, and since have compiled a 3-2 record away from Moose Krause Stadium – including back-to-back 11-10 losses to No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Georgetown.

The team is looking forward to finally stepping out onto its home turf after the East Coast swing.

“It feels great,” Notre Dame coach Tracy Coyne said. “I think that its great to be at home, especially since we’re heading into a more difficult academic time so it’s just good to have the consistency of not having to worry about packing again for another away trip.”

Notre Dame will be led by senior attack Crysti Foote, the only Irish player to ever score more than 200 career points and a finalist for the Tewaarton Trophy recognizing the best women’s lacrosse player of the year.

Foote has tallied 84 points this season on 55 goals and 29 assists, and her total point and goal totals are already Notre Dame single-season records. Her mark of 55 goals on the season places her second nationally, and she is just four assists shy of breaking the Irish single-season mark.

Foote is joined on the offense by sophomore Caitlin McKinney and freshman Jill Byers. McKinney has 51 points on 32 goals and 19 assists, while Byers has 41 goals and 18 assists for 59 points. It’s the highest scoring trio in program history.

The Irish offense will face a similarly potent squad in Syracuse, which operates an up-tempo attack.

“They like to run and they’re very athletic,” Coyne said. “I think we’ve been preparing for that.”

In the eight meetings between the two teams, the Orange hold a 6-2 advantage, including last season’s 14-9 victory over the Irish at Syracuse. But Notre Dame is 2-1 at home against the Orange and excited for the competition.

“I think we’re at the stage in the season where … we welcome tough competition,” Coyne said. “We know that we’re going to get Syracuse’s best game. We’ve had a good, intense rivalry for years, and it’s always a good game.”