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Irish Update - 10.31.11

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Daily Dish - 10.31.11

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Cashore ND-Navy 11.jpg

- Melissa Henderson scored in the ninth minute off a pinpoint service by junior defender Jazmin Hall and Notre Dame used a stellar defensive performance to defeat No. 5/9 Marquette, 1-0, in a BIG EAST Conference Championship quarterfinal women's soccer match on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Valley Fields in Milwaukee ... Henderson's goal -- her career high-tying 18th of the season, and 70th of her brilliant career, as well as a school-record 24th career match-winning goal -- lifted the Fighting Irish into the BIG EAST Championship semifinals for the 15th time in Notre Dame's 17 years as a conference member ... the Fighting Irish will square off with BIG EAST National Division champion Louisville in a tournament semifinal match at 3 p.m. (ET) Friday in Morgantown, W.Va., with CBS Sports Network televising the contest live from Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

- Less than 24 hours after an exhausting five-set defeat at Connecticut, Notre Dame recovered to down host St. John's, 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-22, 25-20) in BIG EAST Conference volleyball action Sunday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y. ... with its fourth straight win in the 19-match series with the Red Storm, Notre Dame concluded its recent road escapades that spanned 11,309 miles in the air and on the road since Oct. 8 ... coming through with a second straight double-double - and her sixth of the season - was Kristen Dealy, who led the Irish with 15 kills (.378) ... Dealy also had 11 digs and a pair of blocks.

- The men's soccer team closes its regular season at noon (ET) today at Alumni Stadium against Seton Hall - and the Irish are hoping a win in that one would translate into a home play-in game Thursday in the BIG EAST Championships.

- The men's golf team closes its fall season today at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in Dallas.

- Notre Dame's basketball teams kick off their seasons with exhibition games this week - the men at 7:30 p.m. (ET) tonight against St. Xavier and the #2-rated (AP) women at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Windsor (Ontario) ... both games are at Purcell Pavilion.

- District Academic All-America ballots feature five Irish women's soccer players, four football players and two men's soccer players.

Daily Dish - 10.27.11

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declanhelmet.jpg - There will be a contingent of Dublin media attending the Notre Dame-Navy football game Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium - in advance of the Notre Dame-Navy game that will kick off the 2012 season next September in Dublin, Ireland.

- The pep rallies prior to the Notre Dame-Navy (Oct. 28) and Notre Dame-Boston College games (Nov. 18) will be held at Purcell Pavilion ... doors open at 5:15 p.m. and the Irish football squad enters at 6:30 p.m. ... there are no tickets required.

- A contingent of Notre Dame administrators traveled to Washington, D.C., Wednesday and met with FedExField officials at the stadium - in addition to meeting at St. Matthew's Cathedral and at the National Mall and the Capitol Lawn, sites of the Mass, pep rally and band concerts, respectively, when the Irish play Maryland Nov. 12.

- For the second time this season (and fourth time in her career), Melissa Henderson has been selected as the BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Week ... in addition, Henderson was named to the Top Drawer Soccer and Our Game Magazine national teams of the week ... Henderson turned in one of the top single-match performances in the 24-year history of the Notre Dame women's soccer program during last Friday's 5-1 Senior Night victory over DePaul at Alumni Stadium ... the All-America striker and Hermann Trophy candidate tied a school record with four goals in the match (including two in a 58-second span midway through the second half) on the way to tying no fewer than seven school records ... Henderson also became the first BIG EAST player in more than 13 years to score four goals in a regular-season conference match, a feat last accomplished on Oct. 16, 1998, by former Seton Hall All-American and England National Team star Kelly Smith in a win over Pittsburgh.

- Frank Dyer started the 2011-12 season with a fast stroke and has been named the BIG EAST Conference Athlete of the Week for men's swimming and diving ... Dyer posted a pair of individual victories while competing against Texas Christian, Oakland and Michigan in dual meet action ... his NCAA B-cut 200 freestyle time performance of 1:37.92 was the nation's fastest at the time of the race and currently ranks second ... Dyer is fourth among all NCAA performers in the 100 freestyle (44.57).

- The University of Notre Dame has established an endowed scholarship in memory of Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame junior who died a year ago today (Oct. 27) when the aerial lift on which he was videotaping football practice fell in high winds ... in conjunction with the anniversary, Notre Dame's president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., is writing to members of the Notre Dame family, inviting them to contribute to the scholarship fund and/or to the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund that has been established by his family ... contributions to the family's memorial fund will be used to support those causes about which Declan would be most enthusiastic, in particular, Horizons for Youth, a Chicago organization committed to helping children graduate high school by providing need-based scholarships, a summer program, one-on-one mentoring, enrichment outings, tutoring, and college preparation ... the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Scholarship at Notre Dame will assist students who are not only in financial need, but who also have demonstrated the traits that made Declan original, whether through a particular interest in filmmaking, service to under-privileged youth, creative writing, or other passions.

- The 14th-ranked men's soccer team notched its third straight victory with a 2-1 win over Providence on Wednesday afternoon at Glay Field in Providence, R.I. ... all three of the victories have come on the road ... Notre Dame opened the scoring in the 10th minute as senior midfielder Brendan King sent his shot into the lower-left corner of the net from 12 yards out after a give-and-go with sophomore forward Leon Brown ... the Fighting Irish led 1-0 at halftime ... Harrison Shipp gave the Irish a 2-0 lead in the 80th minute when he scored from eight yards away off a cross from senior defender Greg Klazura.

Are You Experienced?

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Irish Update

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Live Chat - Women's Soccer vs. DePaul

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Notre Dame will have one final chance to sharpen its game before the start of postseason play when it welcomes DePaul to Alumni Stadium tonight for a 7:30 p.m. (ET) match. The Fighting Irish also will celebrate the remarkable careers of their eight departing senior players (and senior manager Brendan Andrew) in a short pre-match Senior Night ceremony.

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Student-Athletes Volunteer In Alabama

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ndmurphbama.jpg AL.com - A group of University of Notre Dame student-athletes and administrators wrapped up a week of volunteering in tornado relief Thursday on a fall break service trip organized by Notre Dame and the University of Alabama.

The trip, called Fight for Tide, brought 24 students and six administrators to Tuscaloosa to work in collaboration with Project Team Up, an initiative to rebuild communities partnered with Nick Saban's foundation Nick's Kids.

Students representing the Notre Dame baseball, cross country, cheerleading, fencing, men's golf, women's lacrosse, rowing and track and field teams were selected for the trip based on essays they wrote.

Sarah Smith, program coordinator for student athlete welfare and development at Notre Dame, said the idea to help Tuscaloosa began with a former Notre Dame employee who currently works in the ticket office at Alabama. He emailed the athletics office at Notre Dame and asked them to collect relief supplies that Alabama would pay to ship.

Smith, who is originally from a town an hour away from Joplin, Missouri, began to come up with an idea of a service trip when students started talking over the summer about going to down to Tuscaloosa to help.

"I just kind of ran with the idea and started calling people to see if it would be a possibility, and people started wanting to support it and make it happen," Smith said.

After arriving Saturday, the group has worked at two sites in Alberta City, clearing storm debris on lots where new houses are planned to be built. They also met with Alabama athletics director Mal Moore and went on the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium, had dinner with Notre Dame's Alabama alumni club at Dreamland, attended Mass with students at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish on the Alabama campus and toured the baseball and softball facilities.

On Thursday, at a site just off University Boulevard on 21st Avenue East, Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy and several players joined the group from Notre Dame in clearing debris from destroyed houses and carrying limbs to the street.

Notre Dame baseball player Tommy Chase said the experience changed his perspective on the important things in life.

"I look at this as a great opportunity to help where there's a need," Chase said. "We get caught up at school doing a lot things for ourselves, whether it's in sports or in the classroom. Those are all great things, but it's revolved around our own needs and goals. Being able to come down here and help others is really important for my own personal development, but also I want to hopefully inspire this community in some way."

Notre Dame sophomore cheerleader Erin Garfield took time away from her team to travel to Tuscaloosa because the fall break gave her time to join the service trip. On Saturday night, she'll be cheering on the sidelines as the Irish face USC in South Bend.

"It's just been a great experience all around, hearing all these stories from people who experienced the tornado and getting to meet all these amazing people, Garfield said.

Alabama sophomore softball player Ryan Iamurri said she was glad to share the experience of volunteering in Alberta City with the students from Notre Dame.

"When you live here, you kind of get back in your normal routine, and if you don't cross this bridge (to Alberta), you forget what it's like," Iamurri said."It was so nice of them because we realize there's still so much more to do. To come out here with them is special."

Women's Soccer at the Summit

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Notre Dame Magazine - When the women's soccer team won its third national championship in 2010, it established itself in the pantheon of Notre Dame athletics. The program, begun in 1988, took national titles in 1995 and 2004, and its current coach, Randy Waldrum, who came to Notre Dame in 1999, owns a winning percentage at Notre Dame (.860) that would place him between Rockne (.881) and Leahy (.855).

But to understand the story of last year's championship run you have to return to the dark, painful days of October 2010, following the tragic death of student football videographer Declan Sullivan. The women's soccer team was practicing on an adjacent field when the lift from which he was shooting toppled in high winds. Four days later the women's soccer team was booted out of the Big East tournament by UConn, losing to a conference opponent for the first time in 78 games.

The team had already faced other challenges. Waldrum prohibits his players, even those of legal age, from drinking alcohol from August till season's end. The 2009 team had included some backsliders, so the spring training sessions in 2010 were brutal.

"I think it's still left a mark on me," says three-year captain Jessica Schuveiller '12, remembering tough days with lots of running and not much soccer. "I think it was one of the lowest points [of my career]. He took away soccer." Players arriving for practice saw only orange cones, no balls.

"It was definitely disciplinary. Guys screwed up and broke our rules - not just the coaches' rules," says Erica Iantorno '11, referring to a contract all players sign, agreeing to the team rules.

Despite the punishing spring, the code was violated again during the 2010 season, just a few days before "Senior Day," the last regularly scheduled home game. The team came to the decision unanimously; the player, a senior, was dismissed.

The status of Courtney Barg '12, one of the team's stars, presented other potential troubles. The then-junior midfielder had been injured in preseason and had missed almost the entire schedule. Ready to return to play with only six games left, she faced a critical decision to come back and perhaps burn up a full year's eligibility or sit out the remainder of the season.

Notre Dame sports psychologist Mick Franco described Barg's decision to rejoin the team as an example of the players' "love for one another," but it also threatened team chemistry. Playing without Barg, the squad had climbed toward the top of the national rankings, with its only loss in overtime on the road to UCLA. "We were playing so well without her," Waldrum recalls, knowing it would take time for Barg to return to her high level of play and wary that lineup changes could hurt the team.

The fears seemed to have been realized when, two weeks later, UConn upset Notre Dame in the Big East tourney. But - everyone associated with the team agrees - that loss began the drive to the NCAA championship. "That really snapped our heads back on," says Iantorno.

The 15-2-2 Irish made the NCAA tournament but as a lowly fourth seed. No team seeded that low had ever won the title. Notre Dame would need to win six games, most on the road, to reach its ultimate goal.

Women's Soccer Gaining Steam After Slow Start

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5579781.jpeg ESPN.com - To say the curtain rising on the second act of Notre Dame's season coincided with the team discovering a natural playmaker in midfield is close to the truth, but it isn't quite right.

Sure, the defending national champions had become the unranked defending champions by the time senior Jessica Schuveiller shifted from her familiar spot in the back line to the midfield in late September. And yes, the Fighting Irish have climbed back into the mix with a 3-0-1 record in four games since she made the move. The timing is inescapable. It's the part about the new midfield star that needs tweaking.

It's not so much that Schuveiller creates plays as she leaves them littered in her wake, relentlessly pushing forward for a team until recently headed backward.

"It definitely was a spark to get her up there," Notre Dame All-American Melissa Henderson said. "She's a great attacking presence, and I think she brings a whole different aspect to the game, especially when we needed it. Coming into the season, it started out a little slow, and moving her up, it gave us so many more chances, and I think it gave us a little more confidence."

Leads will do that for a team's confidence. Schuveiller has scored four goals in the past five games, matching the total she scored in starting the first 88 games of her career as a defender (she's played 8,005 of a possible 8,529 minutes in her college career). The Fighting Irish, in turn, scored multiple goals in four of those games, something they managed just four times in their first 11 games. That's the tangible part of the equation. What's immeasurable is just how much the Fighting Irish needed a spark.

Rarely one to take losing in good humor, Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum was nonetheless sanguine after a 2-1 overtime loss at North Carolina in the season's second week. The Tar Heels got the win that day, but Waldrum felt his team had the better play -- a sentiment North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance echoed at the time. Waldrum said this week that he felt the same after a 2-1 loss at Stanford in September, a game the Fighting Irish led with 10 minutes to play and which the coach contended was a better performance than the one that earned a national championship when the same teams met last season.

Waldrum seemed to think then and now that the Fighting Irish have the talent to play with anyone. Experience is an issue, with four sophomores, two freshmen and a new starter in goal. Talent is not.

Yet quality losses early gave way to suspect results. A 1-0 loss at home against Louisville ended a 62-match unbeaten streak in Big East competition. A 1-1 draw at South Florida came after the Fighting Irish had outscored another of their newest Big East foes by a 12-0 margin in three previous meetings.

Daily Dish - 10.10.11

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5714138.jpeg - Despite an overwhelming edge in shots and quality scoring chances in the second half and both overtime periods in its BIG EAST Conference women's soccer match at Rutgers, Notre Dame wasn't able to find the winning solution and wound up sharing the spoils with the Scarlet Knights, as Sunday's matinee ended in a 0-0 draw at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. ... it was the fourth consecutive shutout for the Fighting Irish and keeps Notre Dame unbeaten in its last four matches, as well as six of their last seven outings ... the Fighting Irish finished with a 21-9 advantage in total shots for the afternoon, including a 17-3 edge during the final 45 minutes and the two 10-minute overtime sessions.

- A second straight BIG EAST Conference volleyball road win came in the form of a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-12) victory for Notre Dame Sunday afternoon at the West Virginia Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va. ... paving the way for the Irish over host West Virginia was senior Kristen Dealy and her 16 kills ... in fact, Dealy hit an eye-popping .533 on the day without an error in 30 attempts.

- Sean Lorenz, Anders Lee and T.J. Tynan each had a goal and an assist and Notre Dame got strong play from its special teams as the Irish rallied to overcome a 2-0 second-period deficit on the way to a 5-3 hockey win over the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs Saturday night in front of 6,303 fans at AMSOIL Arena ... Nick Larson and Kevin Lind added the other two Irish goals while Sam Calabrese chipped in a pair of key assists for a two-point night on the score sheet ... Steven Summerhays made 21 saves in helping Notre Dame to a split of the weekend series.

- The 11th-ranked men's soccer team played No. 1 Connecticut to a scoreless draw in BIG EAST Blue Division action on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,943 fans at Alumni Stadium on the Notre Dame campus ... the tie snapped Connecticut's 11-game win streak.

- Here are some of Brian Kelly's comments from Sunday's media teleconference:

"We've said, listen, if we want to make the playoffs we have to win each and every week. We said, let's get to the top 14 in the country, you're in the playoffs and that means you've got to win a lot of games. It's a must-win situation each week and every game is a playoff game for us."

"Any time you are preparing against the option, yards have nothing to do with the outcome. It's about keeping the points down."

"When you have to prepare for triple option and the ability of the quarterback to run, you put in one less coverage for Michael Floyd and you put in one less blitz package to get after Tommy Rees because you're afraid you may get caught in that when (Andrew) Hendrix is in the game So it protects him (Rees) more when you have that kind of versatility in your offense."

"When you can protect the quarterback at the level that we do and to run the ball the past two weeks for over 250 yards, that's about as complete as it gets for an offensive line."

- Here are some leftover football notes from the Notre Dame-Air Force contest:

* The last time Notre Dame had seven different players score TDs in a game was in the 48-17 win over Arizona State in 1999 at Notre Dame Stadium.

* The last Notre Dame QB to run for 100 yards was Carlyle Holiday who had 22-109 vs. Boston College in 2001; Andrew Hendrix had six for 111.

* The 555 total yards by Notre Dame is the most this season (551 last week at Purdue).

* Notre Dame's 59 points are most by an Irish team since 62-0 vs. Rutgers in 1996 in Lou Holtz's last game at ND Stadium

* It was first time Irish have scored 50 anywhere since a 57-7 win at Stanford in 2003.

* It was first time Irish have been over 50 points at Notre Dame Stadium since a 52-20 win over Boston College in 1997.

* The last time a Notre Dame team scored more points in any half than first-half 42 vs. Air Force was 48 in second half vs. Georgia Tech in 1977.

* Last time an Irish QB threw four TD passes in first half of a game was Brady Quinn who did it in 2004 in first half vs. Washington at Notre Dame Stadium.

* Tommy Rees now has at least one TD pass in 11 straight games - third on all-time list behind Brady Quinn (16) and Jimmy Clausen (13)

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