September 10, 2008

Phillips Finalizes Coaching Staff with Hiring of Talented Trio

Sept. 10, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse, announced her coaching staff on Wednesday, bringing a talented trio of former players from nationally ranked programs in for her first season in New Haven. Kendall McBrearty, Brigid Strain and Lauren Taylor '08 bring with them a combined 15 games of NCAA Tournament experience, 10 conference championships, four All-America selections and five selections to US National Team Trials. Their collegiate teams went a combined 166-71 (.700) during their tenures.

"I am extremely pleased to welcome Kendall McBrearty, Brigid Strain and Lauren Taylor to the Yale women's lacrosse staff," said Phillips, who enters her first season at Yale after leading Franklin and Marshall to a 93-24 (.795) record over the past six seasons, including the 2007 NCAA Division III National Championship. "The addition of these three energetic and talented individuals will not only bring their tremendous experience as players to Yale and have an immediate impact as our program develops but, more importantly, they will serve as excellent role models for our student-athletes."

McBrearty, who made a pair of appearances in the NCAA National Championship game with Virginia in 2005 and 2007, will work with Yale's goalkeepers. She was a third team All-American for the Cavaliers at that position last season, helping Virginia to its third straight ACC Tournament championship. The Cavaliers also won three regular season championships and went 65-17 (.792) while she was there.

Virginia with McBrearty
2005 17-5 (3-1 ACC) *!
2006 15-4 (4-1 ACC) *+!
2007 19-4 (3-2 ACC) +!
2008 14-4 (4-1 ACC) *+!
65-17 (14-5 ACC)
*: ACC Champs
+: ACC Tourney Champs
!: NCAAs

"Kendall enjoyed a brilliant playing career at the University of Virginia and is currently a member of the 2008-09 U.S. National Team," said Phillips. "I am excited to have a goalkeeping coach of Kendall's caliber. Our goalies and defense will benefit greatly from Coach K's experience and her passion for this sport."

A two-time MVP of the ACC Tournament, McBrearty led the league in goals-against average (7.25) and save percentage (.502) last year and was ranked third and sixth nationally in those categories, respectively. She was an All-ACC selection and was voted the team's MVP. McBrearty finished her career as one of the best goalkeepers in Virginia's history, ranking eighth with 331 career saves and ninth with a 7.60 goals-against average.

McBrearty was named to the US Developmental Team for 2007-08. She was recently selected to the U.S. National Team top 48 and is standing for selection for the U.S. World Cup team that will compete in June, 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic.

A 2008 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Women's Lacrosse team selection, McBrearty received her sociology degree this past spring. She was a part of Virginia's Student Athlete Mentor council her senior year and also was active in the community. McBrearty took part in the Pepsi 10k run for Special Olympics and the men's and women's lacrosse blood drive in each of the last four years.

A native of Alexandria, Va., McBrearty was a high school All-American and won four consecutive ISL titles at St. Stephens & St. Agnes School. Her twin sister, Kady, played lacrosse for Virginia Tech.

"I am grateful to Anne Phillips and Yale for giving me the opportunity to join their coaching staff and am excited to be coaching at such a prestigious institution," said McBrearty.

Strain, who made a pair of NCAA Elite Eight appearances and won a pair of CAA regular season and tournament championships with James Madison in 2004 and 2006, will work with the Bulldogs defense. She was second team All-CAA at that position last season, also earning a spot on the Virginia Sports Information Directors' Association All-State Lacrosse Team. Strain also took part in the IWLCA North/South Senior All-Star Game.

"Brigid immediately impressed me in the interview process with the attribute that this program will exemplify, and that is `Commitment to Excellence'," said Phillips. "Coach Strain has a tremendous work ethic and an impressive ability to analyze and teach the game."

JMU with Strain
2004 16-4 (7-0 CAA) *+!
2005 7-9 (2-5 CAA)
2006 15-5 (6-1 CAA) *+!
2007 13-5 (5-2 CAA)
2008 7-9 (3-4 CAA)
 

58-32 (23-12 CAA)
*: CAA Champs
+: CAA Tourney Champs
!: NCAAs

Strain led the Dukes in ground balls in 2007 with 28. She had 31 ground balls and 31 draw controls this past season, and her 16 draws in seven conference games tied her for fifth in the CAA in that category. Strain, who started 49 of 51 games over her final three seasons, also had 42 caused turnovers for her career. The Dukes went 58-32 (.644) while she was on the team.

Strain has been selected for U.S. National Team trials twice. She has worked numerous lacrosse camps in Virginia and also spent a summer playing lacrosse in Australia. Strain is also a tech representative for STX, Inc. in Baltimore.

Strain received her B.S. in kinesiology with a minor in business in 2007 and will receive her M.B.A. in athletic administration from JMU in December. She was a three-time CAA Commissioner's Academic Award winner.

Also a native of Alexandria, Strain attended Mt. Vernon. Her sisters, Cathleen and Shannon, played lacrosse at Longwood.

"I am thrilled to join the Yale community, as Yale is a highly respected academic and athletic institution," said Strain. "The opportunity to join head coach Anne Phillips' staff, and help bring this program to the highest level, is truly an honor."

Taylor's presence on the Yale sideline will likely cause more than a few double-takes from Bulldog opponents who thought they had seen the last of her in 2008. She is one of the most decorated women's lacrosse players in school history, having earned three All-America selections while leading the Bulldogs to a 43-22 record and one NCAA Tournament appearance over the past four seasons.

Yale with Taylor
2005 10-6 (4-3 Ivy)
2006 9-7 (3-4 Ivy)
2007 13-4 (6-1 Ivy) !
2008 11-5 (4-3 Ivy )
  43-22 (17-11 Ivy)
!:NCAAs

"I have come to know Lauren over the last few months and am excited to have her join this talented coaching staff," said Phillips. "I am looking forward to having her share her skill and tremendous knowledge of the game with a new generation of Yalies. She knows exactly what it is takes to succeed as a student-athlete at Yale. Her new role as coach will allow her to continue to contribute to the proud tradition of the Yale Women's Lacrosse program."

Taylor finished her career with 198 goals and 246 points, placing second to Tracy Ball '81 on Yale's all-time lists in both categories. She received the Nellie Elliot Award as the top senior female student-athlete at Yale last spring.

Taylor was a first team All-Ivy League selection for the fourth straight year in 2008, becoming just the fourth player in league history to accomplish that feat. She won the Barbara Bowditch Award as Yale's team MVP for the second straight time, leading the Bulldogs with 41 goals and 59 points. This was the fourth straight season she has led Yale in both of those categories.

Taylor, who was named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District for the second time this year, received her B.A. in history of science/history of medicine this past spring. She is part of a unique five-year academic program at Yale and will receive a Masters degree in public health from Yale in 2009.

Prior to Yale Taylor attended Manhasset High School.

"I am so excited to be given the opportunity to remain a part of this Yale program after helping to build it as a player," said Taylor. "I look forward to being able to continue to contribute to the team, albeit in a different capacity, this year."

The trio of assistants will complement what Phillips herself brings to Yale. While at Franklin & Marshall, where she set the school record for wins and winning percentage, Phillips coached 18 IWLCA All-Americans and six of F&M's top 10 all-time leading scorers. She took over a team that had gone 8-7 in 2002 and led the Diplomats to a 14-5 record and ECAC Championship in 2003. The team won another ECAC Championship in 2005, then made the NCAA Division III Elite Eight in 2006.

The Diplomats were ranked in the top 10 nationally in each of Phillips' years, but in 2007 they reached new heights. The team achieved No. 1 in the rankings for the first time, winning its first Centennial Conference Championship in 14 years. The Diplomats finished off an undefeated season -- 21-0 -- with a win over Salisbury in the NCAA Division III Championship. They ranked second in the country in scoring defense (5.33 goals allowed per game) and seventh in the country in scoring offense (15.19 goals per game). The team also was an IWLCA National Academic Merit Squad selection.

Fans get their first look at the Bulldogs on Oct. 25, when the Yale Playday brings BU and Hofstra to Johnson Field for a series of scrimmages. The Bulldogs open the 2009 regular season at Fairfield on Feb. 25.

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

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