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Armstrong Headed To U.S. Women's Open

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Sophomore Ashley Armstrong will spend her July 4th holiday preparing for the U.S. Women's Golf Open, which kicks off on Thursday at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.

The Flossmore, Ill., native was the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and will be among 26 amateurs and three golfers with Notre Dame connections, in the 156-player field.

If Ashley keeps playing as she has been, she may soon be signing many more autographs for people across the country, like the young fan in the photo above.

For much more on Armstrong, as well as her former teammate Becca Huffer ('12) and future teammate Lindsay Weaver (an incoming freshman), check out the press release on UND.com.

The Irish Remember Title IX

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This past Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX, an educational amendment that changed the world. In part, Title IX states:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...

Last week, several Notre Dame student-athletes reflected on the momentous act in a feature for ESPN.

Lax In The City - 6.28.12

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Emily (Notre Dame Lacrosse Shirt) and her siblings (from L-R): Ben, Andrew, Katie and Elise.

Notre Dame rising senior women's lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the third entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

"Her fever has gone down to 103 degrees, she can go to school." WHATTT?!?! As I heard those words come out of my father's mouth, I felt a strong desire to just melt right into my twin bed. There was no escaping it. No matter what, I was going to end up on that hour and a half ride down to Richmond, VA to play in my Field Hockey State semifinal game. The whole week I had been suffering from a 105° fever and had barely stepped foot out of bed. There was no point in protesting though. I knew it was my duty to my team to be there; even though it meant following the bus in my parent's car in order to avoid infecting the rest of the team. While both my parent's later admitted that I should not have gone to the game, I secretly knew whether they had forced me out of bed that morning or not, I would have been at that game. That is how I was raised; you do not quit, you commit - no matter how hard it may be at times.

From a young age, sports have consumed my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad coaching my five and under soccer team - the fact that he had the patience to do that makes me think he's a saint! Especially considering I always got in a fight with one boy who thought he was better than me - he wasn't.

As I got older, I started taking sports and especially lacrosse more seriously. This was mostly due to the influence of my brother Andrew, who was a lacrosse player himself. He was and still is my best friend, and I wanted to be just like him when we were growing up. My first lacrosse stick was his old stick that he tied so tight that it could be a girl's stick. I learned to catch, because he refused to teach me. Instead, it was a matter of survival. He threw it; I caught it or got out of the way quickly - he had an abnormally hard shot for a 12 year old. I even wore the #23 jersey because he did - and Michael Jordan.

Not only did he teach me lacrosse fundamentals, but he has also demonstrated for me how important it is to be committed to your team. I watched him suffer through countless injuries through high school and college only to play through the pain - very successfully I might add. At the time, I did not know I would have to deal with many of the same injuries as I continued my athletic career, but looking back and knowing that he played through it has encouraged me to do the same. Even when my doctor at home told me I needed to reconsider playing college lacrosse after my freshman season at Notre Dame - due to worsening back problems - I knew that was not an option. I had made a commitment to my team and I was unwilling to back out of it. This strong sense of commitment I learned from both my brother and my parents (who are going on 30 years of marriage...talk about commitment!). Famous Notre Dame football head coach, Lou Holtz once said:

"If you don't make a total commitment to whatever you're doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking," said Holtz. "It's tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on."

I think after years of watching my brother keep going no matter how physically and mentally worn down he got, has been inspiration enough for me to do the same.

Now I know college lacrosse ends for me in one short year. But I also know that the sense of teamwork and commitment that I have learned from both my family and competitive sports will help me in whatever I do. In most careers, teamwork becomes a daily commitment. At ESPN, it is no different. Each department is structured into several small teams that specialize in various aspects of the business. The 'Asset Management' team I'm working with is a group of four people, all different ages, all different skill sets. While the group is incredibly diverse, what makes the teamwork so well is that everyone is committed to each other and the "team" goal - To Serve Sports Fans. Anywhere. Anytime.

Saxer Does The Irish Proud

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For 2009 graduate Mary Saxer (@SaxDefyGravity), dreams of representing the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics came to a heartbreaking halt on Sunday in Eugene, Ore.

Saxer tied Lacy Janson for third place with a top mark of 14 feet, 9 inches, but missed out on qualifying for London based on the tiebreaker rules. (Janson had fewer missed attempts in the event.)

She is set as the team's alternate, so there is a small chance she could end up on the team, but more than likely, her hopes of wearing the red, white & blue on the sport's biggest stage will have to wait. Her next opportunity would be at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Be sure to check out Sam Borden's piece in the New York Times, which features a few quotes from Mary. The article focuses on the challenges that pole vaulters face while traveling.

...as well as Fighting Irish Digital Media's recent video on the Lancaster, N.Y. native:

- Josh Flynt ('11)

The Other "Mike and Mike"

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Angelic Angie

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Former volleyball standout Angie (Harris) Akers was featured on the cover of the latest edition of Volleyball Magazine. Follow Akers on Twitter (@AngieAkers) and check out her web site as she continues vying for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Women's Sand Volleyball Team to compete in the Summer Olympics.

Akers is married to former Notre Dame football player Jeremy Akers.

No. 89 On the List, No. 1 In Our Hearts

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4585894.jpeg SI.com has been rolling out its 100 most memorable U.S. Summer Olympic moments while building anticipation for the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Former Irish fencer Mariel Zagunis was featured at No. 89 on the list behind the efforts of the first of two gold medals won by sabre during her pair of appearances.

Says SI.com ...

In 2004, Mariel Zagunis became the first American in 100 years to win Olympic fencing gold. Zagunis, the daughter of two former U.S. Olympians who didn't even originally qualify for the Games, defeated Chinese fencer Xue Tan in the finals 15-9 to capture gold.

Zagunis will headline an entourage of several current and former Notre Dame student-athletes with their eyes set on medals at the 2012 edition of the Olympics. UND.com will be providing an in-depth and up-close look at the Irish Olympians past and present in the following days.

There Is No Offseason

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Class Is In Session

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Coach Waldrum In Norway

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Notre Dame women's soccer head coach Randy Waldrum currently is in Norway as part of his role as the head coach of the United States Under-23 Women's National Team, leading a 17-player roster that includes former Fighting Irish two-time All-America forward and 2010 Honda Sports Award recipient Melissa Henderson.

The Americans are scheduled to play three exhibitions in the coming days, facing the Sweden U-23s (noon ET, Friday) and the Norwegian U-23s (noon ET, Sunday; 6 a.m. ET June 19), with all three matches to be played in Stjordal, Norway. During his trip, Coach Waldrum will offer his unique insights on the United States' highest youth level national team (one rung below the Women's National Team that will compete in the London Olympics later this summer), as well as the sights and sounds from an unforgettable trip to Scandinavia.

Sunday, June 17

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Champions!!! The US U-23's defeated Norway 4-1 today to win the Three Nations Tournament. Norway had defeated Sweden 4-2 earlier in the week, we tied Sweden 1-1, so the championship came down to today's game. We played very well for most of 90 minutes and you can see that we are getting better each day we are together. Our tie against Sweden was the first time we had played this team of players together and we got better in the second half of that game. It continued on today and we look much more comfortable with each other today.

We went ahead 1-0 with a goal from Sarah Hagen who intercepted a pass out from the Norwegian goalkeeper. She did a great job of finishing it off and punishing them for that mistake. Norway came back a few minutes later to tie the score at 1-1 off of a counter attack when we turned the ball over in midfield. Then Amanda DaCosta put us ahead shortly after Norway had tied the game with a goal that came after several shots of ours was blocked by the goalkeeper and Norwegian defense. Then later before halftime Morgan Marlborough broke free down the flank and scored from a very difficult angle to put us up 3-1 at the half.

We played very well in the second half continuing to build on our performance and we were rewarded with a fourth goal late when Courtney Verloo tracked down a lose ball and beat the onrushing goalkeeper to the ball. She cut the ball back from the endline and found Stephanie Ochs who curled a left footed shot into the upper 90 from about 20 yds out. The rest of the game was managed very well by a team that had the look of a true professional team! Very proud of these young women...

We will train light in the morning and then go into the town of Trondheim where we will shop and have dinner out. Then on Tuesday we will play Norway again in a friendly game before we head home on Wednesday! I'm looking forward to an afternoon away from here and seeing a different part of Norway. I am hoping to go see the men's professional team of Rosenborg train tomorrow while in Trondheim...I can do without the shopping!!!

But thank you to all of you that had us in your thoughts today, and for all the well wishes I received before the game! As I've always said, there are no better fans than those of the Irish Nation!!!!

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Event Calendar

August 9
3:00 PM
Northwestern
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 14
8:00 PM
SIUE
Edwardsville, Ill. (Korte Stadium)
August 14
1:00 PM
Illinois
Urbana, Ill. (Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium)
August 17
8:00 PM
Bradley
Peoria, Ill. (Shea Stadium)
August 19
7:00 PM
Wright State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 21
3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 22
5:00 PM
Valparaiso
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 25
7:00 PM
Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Soccer Stadium)
August 26
7:30 PM
UC Irvine
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 26
7:00 PM
Seton Hall
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
August 27
12:30 PM
Cleveland State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
August 27
7:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
August 28
2:00 PM
New Mexico
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 28
5:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 2
5:00 PM
Stanford
Bloomington, Ind. (Armstrong Stadium)
September 2
7:00 PM
Illinois State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 2
7:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 3
12:30 PM
Howard
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 3
7:00 PM
Purdue
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 3
All Day
Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge
Notre Dame, Indiana (Warren Golf Course)
September 4
6:30 PM
Texas
Austin, Texas

ABC
September 4
12:30 PM
California
Bloomington, Ind. (Armstrong Stadium)
September 4
5:00 PM
Missouri
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 9
7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 9
10:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Jose, Calif. (Buck Shaw Stadium)
September 9
4:00 PM
Stony Brook
Kingston, R.I. (Keaney Gymnasium)
September 10
3:30 PM
Nevada
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC
September 10
11:00 AM
San Diego State
Kingston, R.I. (Keaney Gymnasium)
September 10
7:00 PM
Rhode Island
Kingston, R.I. (Keaney Gymnasium)
September 11
2:00 PM
Stanford
Stanford, Calif. (Cagan Stadium)
September 12
All Day
U. of San Francisco Olympic Club Intercollegiate
San Francisco, California (Olympic Club)
September 13
7:00 PM
UConn
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 13
All Day
U. of San Francisco Olympic Club Intercollegiate
San Francisco, California (Olympic Club)
September 16
7:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Lynn Stadium)
September 16
11:30 AM
Maryland Eastern Shore
East Lansing, Mich. (Jenison Field House)
September 16
7:00 PM
Michigan State
East Lansing, Mich. (Jenison Field House)
September 17
7:30 PM
Michigan State
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC
September 17
1:00 PM
DePaul
East Lansing, Mich. (Jenison Field House)
September 18
12:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. (SU Soccer Stadium)
September 22
7:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Soccer Field)
September 23
7:00 PM
Syracuse
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 23
7:00 PM
Louisville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 23
All Day
Georgia State Maui Jim Intercollegiate
Scottsdale, Arizona (Mirabel Golf Club)
September 24
3:30 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC
September 24
All Day
Georgia State Maui Jim Intercollegiate
Scottsdale, Arizona (Mirabel Golf Club)
September 25
1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 25
11:30 AM
Miami
Coral Gables, Fla. (James L. Knight Complex)
September 25
All Day
Georgia State Maui Jim Intercollegiate
Scottsdale, Arizona (Mirabel Golf Club)
September 30
7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Ambrose Urbanic Field)
September 30
7:00 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
October 1
TBA
Syracuse
East Rutherford, N.J.(MetLife Stadium)

TBA
October 1
7:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Lynn Stadium)
October 2
1:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
October 4
7:00 PM
Indiana
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

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