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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish travel to Ohio State to take on rivals

Andy Ziccarelli | Friday, February 22, 2008

Last weekend marked two important events for Notre Dame. The Irish notched 22 goals in their 22-10 win over Canisius – a tie for the school record for most points scored in a home game. More importantly, Sunday’s 16-4 win over Duquesne marked the 100th victory in the history of the program, all of which have been under the direction of coach Tracy Coyne.

“Because I have been here since the beginning, I have a lot of fond memories of many games,” Coyne said. “I have a lot of people that I have shared these great wins with.”

Helping the program reach its milestone was the play of junior Jillian Byers. Byers was picked as a unanimous pre-season All-Big East player, and has received other accolades as well early this season. In the two games last weekend, Byers scored 11 goals, while also tallying 2 assists. Her play has been one of the reasons for the team’s success thus far.

“She is an awesome finisher,” Coyne said. “Jill understands how to work her defender and get herself open and the team has been great at been finding her so she can finish.”

Indeed, Coyne is quick to credit the teamwork that the Irish have displayed so far this season, beyond Byers scoring prowess.

“We had some really beautiful combination goals. It has definitely been a team effort,” Coyne said.

The team will take its first road trip of the year this weekend, traveling to Columbus to face Ohio State on Saturday. While the Buckeyes own a 6-5 lead all-time in the series, Notre Dame has won the last two meetings, including a 16-9 win last season.

“It is a rivalry,” said Coyne. “How can you not be excited to go play Ohio State?”

The game should be an aggressive one. Coyne expects to see a lot of pressure from the Buckeye defense, particularly against Notre Dame scoring threats like Byers. The Irish will need players to step up and put points on the board against Ohio State, who represents a considerable step up in competition from the first two games.

“We have to be ready to handle those types of situations,” said Coyne.

The Irish take on Ohio State in Columbus at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.