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ND Women’s Lacrosse: Byers to lead team in season opener

Michael Bryan | Friday, February 23, 2007

Last year the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team went a perfect 9-0 at home – an achievement the team will try to reproduce this season, starting with Saturday’s home opener against No. 18 Stanford.Irish coach Tracy Coyne said the team doesn’t plan on the home winning streak ending any time soon. “We’re taking the streak very seriously,” she said. “We always have a lot of pride playing at home.”The No. 5 Irish (1-0), started the regular season last Saturday with a clutch 10-9 sudden-death overtime win over No. 12 James Madison. The Irish trailed most of game, and were just 19 seconds away from defeat when junior Caitlin McKinney netted an unassisted goal in the final moments of regulation. The Dukes took a 9-7 lead in the opening half of the six-minute overtime period after two goals by senior Kelly Berger. Notre Dame responded quickly in the second half of overtime, however, with an early goal by sophomore Jillian Byers. Then, with just nine seconds left in overtime, McKinney scored another clutch goal to tie the game at 9-8 and advance to sudden-death.Both teams played strong defense in the sudden-death overtime. With 16 seconds remaining senior Lena Zentgraf assisted Byers for the game-winning goal, the sixth of the game for Byers.Notre Dame was led by Byers six goals, and McKinney’s two clutch goals. Senior Meghan Murphy also added two goals in the winning effort.Coyne said the experience against James Madison will help the team going into the match with Stanford. “That game gave us confidence, and a motivation to start out fast,” Coyne said. “We always play a close game with Stanford and we expect another battle.”The Cardinal (1-2) started off the regular season with a tough 10-6 loss at Oregon. Stanford then rebounded against Saint Mary’s (Cali.) with a dominant 22-6 win.The Cardinal then dropped their home opener in a 14-8 loss to No. 2 Duke.In last year’s matchup at Stanford, the Irish rallied from a 9-4 deficit for a 12-11 double-overtime win.