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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish face Vandy as NCAAs loom

Jay Fitzpatrick | Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Notre Dame will look to earn its best record in team history Sunday in a 12 p.m. game at Moose Krause Stadium against Vanderbilt.

The Irish (12-3, 4-1 Big East) are coming off an 11-10 victory against No. 13 Syracuse with a last second goal, and hope to continue winning in their last tune-up before the NCAA Tournament in May.

“At this stage, we are playing mainly for seeding and home field advantage,” Irish coach Tracy Coyne said. “We just need to bring our game.”

As always for the Irish, Coyne said the goal in the days leading up to a contest is to perfect various aspects of play in order to continue developing on the field on a game-by-game basis.

This week is a little different for Notre Dame, as Coyne is preparing her team not only for the Vanderbilt game, but also for the NCAA Tournament.

“We want to win it all,” Coyne said. “We are just five games away from playing in the championship game and we feel that if we keep playing our game we can do it.”

A win for the Irish would do more than just give them good positioning in the postseason tournament. It would also give them the best record in school history, something Coyne is very proud of her team for accomplishing.

This year’s team has already won nine more games than last season – in no small part to the addition of freshman Jill Byers and especially the outstanding play of senior attack Crysti Foote.

Byers has 41 goals and 20 assists going into Sunday’s game. She has also provided a passing option for Foote, leaving her frontline partner more space and less attention from opposing defenses so either can be a threat to score.

Foote has 60 goals, 29 assists, and 41 draw controls – all records for the Irish.

“Crysti is leaving as the best player ever to wear a Notre Dame lacrosse jersey,” Coyne said. “Her success is unparalleled – she has earned the right to be that player.”

Her incredible statistical effort combined with her fearless play and strong leadership on and off the field earned her a Tewaaraton award nomination this year. Coyne said she believes Byers should be a finalist for the award due to not only her play in college, but the fact that she is one of the few international-level players at the college level.

Byers played for Coyne as part of the Canadian World Cup team last year, leading Team Canada to a fourth place finish at the event.

“Foote is probably the most underrated player named for the Tewaaraton trophy this year,” Coyne said. “It will be very competitive, but I believe the number speak for themselves.”