Byers Helps U.S. Go Undefeated at Champion Challenge

Assistant Coach Scores Five Goals vs. No. 1 Northwestern

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Yale assistant women's lacrosse coach Jillian Byers helped the US Lacrosse Women's National Team to a 5-0 performance this past weekend at the 2012 Champion Challenge at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Byers had a team-high five goals and an assist in the U.S.'s 18-1 win over defending NCAA champion No. 1 Northwestern in the finale Sunday. All told, the U.S. beat England, No. 2 Maryland twice and Northwestern twice over the weekend.

This was the seventh consecutive year for the Champion Challenge, which brought together the U.S. men's and women's national teams for a series of exhibition games and youth clinics. The U.S. women's team's first victory over Northwestern can be seen on ESPN3.

Byers, who is in her third season at Yale, is part of a core group of players aiming to represent the U.S. in the 2013 World Cup. She has been with the National Team since 2010, and was on the US Lacrosse Developmental Team for two years before that.

In addition to her work at the Champion Challenge, Byers also recently competed for the U.S. at the Stars and Stripes tournament Oct. 8-9. She had one goal in the U.S. team's 17-8 win over North Carolina on Oct. 8, then had a team-best three goals and two assists in the 14-7 win over Navy on Oct. 9.

Byers, who was a finalist for the Honda Sports Award and the Tewaaraton Trophy as the top college women's lacrosse player in 2009, joined the Yale staff in the summer of 2009. A four-time All-American as an attacker, she graduated from Notre Dame in May of 2009 as the Fighting Irish's all-time leading scorer. Her 262 career goals place her fourth in NCAA history. In 2010 she finished third in the voting for Notre Dame's female athlete of the decade for the 2000s.

Byers scored a team-record 83 goals in 2009, finishing second in the country in goals and third in points (111). She also set the Notre Dame single-season draw control record with 55. In addition to being the school's all-time leading scorer she also leads in points (336), draw controls (154) and games played (76).

Byers was Notre Dame's captain and MVP in 2009, leading the Fighting Irish to a 16-5 record, a Big East Tournament Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance, the third NCAA appearance in Byers' four years. The team advanced to the Final Four in 2006, the first round in 2008 and the second round in 2009. Overall Notre Dame was 54-22 during her tenure. 

Byers, who earned three second-team All-America honors and one first team honor in her career, was a unanimous first team All-Big East selection four times. She was named Big East co-attack player of the year her senior year, when she led the conference in goals (a record 31 in conference play) and was second in points (42). She became the Big East's all-time leading scorer with 78 career goals. Her 12 points in a win over UConn in 2009 (seven goals, five assists) set the Big East single-game record.

A native of Northport, N.Y., Byers attended Northport High, where she played basketball, lacrosse and soccer. She led all three teams to Suffolk County League titles all four years, captaining the lacrosse and soccer teams. She also played club lacrosse for the Long Island Elite Club Program the Yellow Jackets.

Byers and Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, are both extensively involved with US Lacrosse. Phillips has served as the chair of the US Lacrosse National Team selection committee. Among other accomplishments, she helped determine the players for the U.S. team that won the last World Cup.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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