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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

Women's Lacrosse: MVP Goodman leads Irish to Big East crown

The Irish defeated Vanderbilt 19-13 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, and will face North Carolina this weekend in the tournament quarterfinals.

"Our success has been expected and unexpected," Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne said. "We had some key players choose to leave the program in the beginning of the year, which made us re-evaluate our direction. The seniors, in particular, have done an incredible job in doing that and a great job in bringing the team together."

Notre Dame (16-4) has had one of their most successful and record-setting seasons this year. Winning the Big East Championship for the first time was just a highlight for the 2009 Irish team.

Making an impact on the team over the last four seasons are the four Notre Dame seniors: co-captains Shannon Burke and Jillian Byers, defender Beth Koulup and goalkeeper Erin Goodman.

Leading the defense, Burke has a season 56 ground balls, 31 draw controls and 42 caused turnovers, a Notre Dame single-season record, as well as seven offensive points. Named to the All-Big East First Team with teammates Byers and sophomore midfielder Shaylyn Blaney,

Protecting the goal for Notre Dame is the record-breaking Goodman. Not only is she the all-time winningest goalkeeper for the Irish, but Goodman has also started in 55 consecutive games, playing the most minutes overall of any Irish goalkeeper. Goodman holds a career record of 38-17 for a .690 winning percentage, and was named this year's Big East MVP.

Byers is statistically the most successful player Notre Dame has ever seen. She is the all-time points leader, with 325 off of her 253 goals and 72 assists. Her 74 goals and 36 assists coming this season make her the second Irish player to ever score over 100 points in a season and are career highs. She leads the Big East in goals and point totals while ranking second nationally for points, and was named the league's co-attack of the year with Syracuse senior Katie Rowan. Byers is also the NCAA's all-time active leading goal scorer.

"Individually, they [the seniors] are all outstanding competitors," Coyne said. "Looking back on the last four years and all they have learned and become, they represent the Notre Dame family well, and are all great people. They have really raised the level of competitiveness of the program. Their legacy is always looking for ways to get better, all the time."

The Irish will face North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Saturday.