Lam contributed to ND’s rise

WW-P graduate helps women’s lacrosse team reach NCAA quarterfinals

By: Justin Feil
   As the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team took a lap around Class of 1952 Stadium’s field, its final lap of the season after losing to Princeton University in the NCAA quarterfinals on Sunday, Kathryn Lam brought up the rear. Ironic it was, because four years ago the West Windsor-Plainsboro High graduate was one of the players that got the program off and running. She’s been in the forefront of the Fighting Irish’s improvement ever since then.
   "I remember in recruiting Kathryn, when she made her decision to come here, a lot of people were congratulating me," said Notre Dame head coach Tracy Coyne. "I don’t think I recognized how big a deal it was to get someone of Kathryn’s ability. It’s why we were able to become so successful."
   Sunday’s 11-5 loss to Princeton left the Fighting Irish 13-5 overall, the best record in Coyne’s five years at the helm. Notre Dame won their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, 11-7, over Ohio State on Thursday. That win enabled Lam to return home, but she would have liked a happier Homecoming. Sunday’s loss left her and her teammates with a tearful ending in a familiar setting for Lam.
   "It stings no matter where you are," said the Plainsboro resident who was Notre Dame’s first-ever member of the United States developmental squad. "It was nice to come here if it couldn’t be at Notre Dame."
   The loss ended what has been an incredible career for Lam. This year was her third straight season as a team captain, and the third straight season in which she was honored by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association to the Mid-Atlantic Region team.
   For the second straight season, Lam helped the defense to a new record for fewest goals allowed per game, and she had a team-high 55 ground balls, 13 more than the closest teammate. She was also again among team leaders in draw controls as well.
   "Kathryn is such an outstanding player and such an outstanding leader," Coyne said. "She’s very respected by her teammates and her peers. She raises expectations not just for herself but everyone around her. She’s had such an impact on our team. Down the road, we’re still going to reap benefits from having her."
   Lam helped bring the team to the NCAA tournament level. Last season was the first time that Notre Dame finished ranked, at 18th, but they were just outside of the postseason. This season, they began the year in the Top 20 and never left. Three times they won four straight games this season, and they had a 5-1 mark in the Big East. Lam and her classmates deserved much of the credit.
   "It’s definitely been an outstanding year," Coyne said. "When these seniors began, there were only 17 players on the team. When they were freshmen, they had to play a lot. A lot of them have been starting for three and four years. That experience was obvious today."
   Lam and Notre Dame made things difficult for the nation’s leading offense. For much of the game, Lam was charged with guarding Lauren Simone, Princeton’s top scorer. But with the Tigers seemingly constantly in possession of the ball, eventually the Fighting Irish couldn’t keep them out.
   For the Tigers, it was their 12th NCAA appearance. For the Fighting Irish, it marked the first time, but not the last, as Kathryn Lam’s influence will be felt as Coyne continues to shape the program. Lam’s just sorry she won’t be more of a part of it after Sunday’s loss.
   "It’s hard," she said. "It’s been the best four years of my life. I couldn’t ask for a better team than this group. Unfortunately we couldn’t pull it out today."