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August 2, 2010

Four Players with Ivy Ties Named to WLAX National Team

Courtesy of Brown Sports Information, Dartmouth Athletic Communications and Yale Sports Publicity

CATONSVILLE, Md. -- The Ivy League will once again be represented on the U.S. National Team in women’s lacrosse as current Brown star Paris Waterman and former Dartmouth standouts Colleen Olsen and Devon Wills and Yale assistant coach Jillian Byers have been named to the 36-member team, following this weekend’s final round of tryouts held at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Waterman is the first Brown player to be selected for Team USA since Kerri Whitaker (1996-98) and joins Suzanne Bailey (1991-93) and Anne Marie Van Hengel (1983) as the only Brown players to ever play for the U.S. Team. Olsen and Wills are two of 21 former Dartmouth players, along with head coach Amy Patton, that have been involved with the U.S. Team on a national level.

The current field of 36 players was narrowed down from more than 80 players after three days of scrimmaging and drills. The team consists of five goalies, seven defenders, 16 midfielders, and eight attackers.

“What we wanted to accomplish was gather 36 players that we felt made up the best group as opposed to looking at the most individual talent,” Team USA and Georgetown coach Ricky Fried said. “Who played well together, worked well and competed on a consistent basis? It was a competitive tryout, the most competitive I’ve seen in my four years here… We had some hard decisions to make, in a good way, and we feel lucky to have the group that we have for this year.”

A midfielder, Waterman had a breakthrough season in 2010, earning First-Team All-Ivy and First Team IWLCA North All-Region honors at the conclusion of the season. The Bears’ second-leading scorer in 2010 with 39 points (33g, 6a), Waterman also led the team with 33 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers and was second with 24 draw controls. A three-year starter, Waterman has started all 45 games she has played in during the past three seasons, missing just one game, the Bears’ very first game of her rookie season. She will enter her final season with 48 points (38g, 10a), 45 career caused turnovers, which ranks 14th all-time at Brown, 76 career ground balls, and 40 career draw controls.

Wills remains on the U.S. squad after earning championship game MVP honors at the 2009 FIL World Cup, which the US won with an 8-7 finals victory over rival Australia. Olsen was part of the US National program in 2009-10 as a member of the US Developmental Team. She is one of 13 members of the 2009 World Cup team to earn a spot on the 2010-11 squad.

Wills enters her eighth year as part of the US National program, having been on the Elite Team since 2007 after four years on the now defunct Developmental Team. Wills was a three time All-America and four-time All-Ivy honoree in goal for Dartmouth, leading the Big Green to back-to-back final four appearances in 2005 and 2006, including a spot in the national championship game as a senior in 2006. Wills served as an assistant coach for Dartmouth for two seasons and is currently an assistant at the University of Denver in her home state of Colorado.

Olsen, a defender, just completed an impressive career for Dartmouth, during which she earned All-Ivy and All-Northeast honors. She was twice named Academic All-Ivy and IWLCA All-Academic and was the 2009 winner of the Dartmouth Athletics Class of 1948 Scholar Athlete Award. As a senior captain Olsen helped Dartmouth rank as high as seventh nationally, ending the season with a scoring defense of 7.93, fifth best in the nation.

During her four years, Olsen started all 57 games she played for the Big Green, tallying 120 ground balls, 90 draw controls and 68 caused turnovers.

Byers’ journey to the national team roster began when she was selected to the US Lacrosse Developmental Team last year. It was the second straight year she made the roster for that team, which is designed as a feeder program for the national team. In addition to her time with the developmental team, earlier this year Byers had four goals and seven assists in two games for the U.S. Elite Team in the fifth annual Champion Challenge at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. Her spot on the national team was finalized after tryouts at UMBC this past weekend featuring more than 80 players. 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, 10th in NCAA history), 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 is the Big East's all-time leading scorer with 78 career goals. Her 12 points in an win over UConn in 2009 (seven goals, five assists) are a Big East single-game record.

The team competes for the first time on Columbus Day at the annual US Lacrosse Stars and Stripes event in Boston.