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    For Your Viewing Pleasure

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    Click HERE
    (or on the sweet women's soccer national championship trophy in the photo above)
    to view the 2010-11 Notre Dame Athletics Annual Report

    Daily Dish - 9.29.11

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    1800493.jpeg - At 9:00 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 24, most Notre Dame students could be found sleeping, alarms perhaps set to blare moments before the football team faced Pittsburgh at noon ... yet, at that moment the women's swimming and diving team was preparing for a youth clinic at the Rolfs Aquatic Center ... dedicating their time until 4:00 p.m., the swimmers volunteered to instruct nearly 100 local participants in a Coaches vs. Cancer event to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and the local RiverBend Cancer Services.

    - The men's lacrosse team has announced its 2011 fall schedule along with other dates of importance in the months of September and October ... on the field, the Fighting Irish will face Air Force and Navy during their fall exhibition season ... the Air Force contest will take place Oct. 8 at Notre Dame's Arlotta Stadium ... later that day, the Fighting Irish football team will play host to the Falcon gridiron squad ... Notre Dame will face Navy on Oct. 15 at Miller Field in Annapolis, Md.

    - Melissa Henderson has accepted an invitation to participate in a training camp with the United States Under-23 National Team next week at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. ... the camp, which features 24 of the nation's top college players and young professionals, will take place from Oct. 2-7, and will be jointly overseen by U.S. Soccer Women's Development Director Jill Ellis, U.S. Soccer Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs and U.S. Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage ... Sundhage will be at the camp to evaluate players for possible call-ups to U.S. National Team camps heading into next January's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, and potentially for the run to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

    - For just the second time in six years, the coaches and media agree on who should own the No. 1 position in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's annual preseason polls ... Notre Dame received enough points from the conference's 11 head coaches and 72 media members to be named the preseason favorite in both polls ... in the coaches' poll, the Fighting Irish captured eight first-place votes

    - Tyler Eifert was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week by the Nassau County Sports Commission ... Eifert registered a career-high eight receptions, including four on the 11-play, 85-yard, go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter at Pittsburgh that gave the Irish a 15-12 lead ... his four grabs on the touchdown drive totaled 34 yards ... Eifert also added a critical two-point conversion reception ... the eight catches by Eifert tied him with Kyle Rudolph (twice in 2010), John Carlson (2006), Anthony Fasano (2004) and Ken MacAfee (1977) for second most ever in a game by a Notre Dame tight end.

    - In addition to the standard ESPN telecast Saturday of the Notre Dame-Purdue football game, there also will be a separate ESPN 3D origination - with former Irish Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown providing the analysis on that version.

    - National Football Foundation historian (and former Sports Illustrated writer) Dan Jenkins recently selected his 20 greatest college football plays - and one of those was John Lujack's open-field tackle of Doc Blanchard that preserved the 0-0 tie between Army and Notre Dame in 1946.

    - Here are some interesting numbers on Notre Dame's athletics web site, UND.com, from 2010-11: the top states in terms of users of the Notre Dame site were Indiana (13.45 percent), Illinois (9.16), California (7.43), Ohio (6.22), Pennsylvania (6.22) and New York (5.88) ... the top schools in terms of use of the mobile GameTracker feature were (in order) Notre Dame, Michigan and Alabama (based on more than 200 school and conference sites produced by CBS) ... the top four sites in terms of page impressions and unique browsers were North Carolina, Michigan, Texas and Notre Dame.

    A Natural In The Booth

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    wwc07_usoutlook.jpgFor two-time Olympic gold medalist and 1999 World Cup champion Kate Sobrero Markgraf ('98), the game of soccer always came naturally. But until this past summer, she never knew that her talents also belonged in the broadcast booth.

    After retiring from professional soccer in 2008, Markgraf began a new stage of her career in July as a color commentator for ESPN during the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. With no formal broadcast training, it was a bit of a crash course for Markgraf, who ESPN hired after only a brief, 30-minute audition.

    Producers clearly had confidence in her, and during the competition she delivered.

    Originally scheduled as an analyst for five World Cup matches, Markgraf ended up doing nine games, including the third-place contest between Sweden and France.

    Throughout the event, Markgraf spent hours researching all 16 teams and each of the players competing to familiarize herself with their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. The result was a comprehensive knowledge of the field that carried over into her regular broadcasts.

    "There are great players that are not the goal scorers, so I would highlight those athletes to show the viewers what they could do and give them the ability to appreciate different players," Markgraf said. "That was my main goal to be well researched and share those kind of details with the fans."

    Couple that with her uncanny ability to add humor, personal experiences, and critical analysis to the broadcast, and there's no question that Markgraf was a big hit with producers and fans alike.

    All in all, it was an experience she'll never forget.

    "It was always changing, it was ever evolving, and it was a constant learning process," Markgraf said. "I ended up falling back in love with the game in a totally different way, and that was phenomenal."

    Daily Dish - 9.26.11

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    5669346.jpeg - No. 20/24 Notre Dame put together a pair of stirring second-half comebacks to force overtime, but No. 14/15 Marquette scored the match-winner 18 seconds into the extra session, defeating the Fighting Irish, 3-2 in BIG EAST Conference cross-divisional women's soccer action on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Valley Fields in Milwaukee.

    - Notre Dame stumbled out of the gate and never fully recovered during Sunday's BIG EAST Conference volleyball match with Villanova ... while hitting .094 with 11service errors, Notre Dame fell to the Wildcats, 3-1 (25-18, 15-25, 25-19, 25-19) during the nationally televised contest on ESPNU with 1,337 fans on hand to watch at Purcell Pavilion.

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

    "Tommy (Rees) is 6-1 as a starter. He's led two very huge drives for us late in the games against Michigan and Pittsburgh. He's obviously not a finished product yet, nobody is. He'll continue to get better and better and we'll continue to help him in terms of play-calling and getting him in the right kind of situation so he can be successful."

    "We felt our recruiting efforts and everything we have done since we have been here is to put together a championship defense and then we'll catch up on offense. I think you have to start with building your defense first and the line of scrimmage. We are not there yet but we are on the right road."

    - Looking for a key matchup this week in the Notre Dame-Purdue football game? It's Notre Dame's rushing defense (ranked 25th nationally and allowing 93 yards a game) against Purdue's rushing attack that's rated 11th nationally at 258.67 yards per contest.

    - Michael Floyd is now eighth nationally in receptions at 8.75 per game.

    - The Irish football squad has outgained all four opponents in first-period total yardage, amassing a combined 464-156 edge.

    - Notre Dame's defense now has permitted only two opponent rushing scores over its last nine combined games - and both those were one-yard quarterback sneaks.


    Daily Dish - 9.19.11

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    Weekly Sports Schedule - 9.19-9.25

    - Melissa Henderson posted her second hat trick of the season and fifth of her stellar career, leading No. 12/14 Notre Dame to a clinical 4-1 BIG EAST Conference women's soccer win at Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon before a sellout crowd of 1,400 fans at Gettler Stadium ... Henderson netted two goals less than nine minutes apart midway through the first half after the Fighting Irish spotted the Bearcats an early lead ... she then completed her three-goal day with a key insurance score in the 65th minute ... Lauren Bohaboy opened her goal-scoring account with a tally in the final three minutes, while Elizabeth Tucker dished out two assists.

    - A goal from Harrison Shipp in the 54th minute was all the 16th-ranked men's soccer team needed to defeat Michigan State, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium ... Notre Dame now has a four-game unbeaten streak, which includes three straight victories ... Shipp had a game-high three shots on goal ... Will Walsh made five saves for Notre Dame to earn his second shutout of the season ... Walsh has all seven decisions this season for the Irish.

    - Notre Dame stayed focused in front of a raucous crowd of 3,410 at the Wisconsin Field House to sweep the host Badgers, 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-23), in volleyball action Saturday night ... the win was the first ever for the Irish volleyball program on Wisconsin's home floor and snapped the Badgers' six-game winning streak heading into the contest ... Notre Dame was led by InnTowner Invitational MVP Kristen Dealy, who connected for eight kills and a pair of solo blocks with nine digs in the finale ... Hilary Eppink (nine kills) and Frenchy Silva (14 digs) were named to the all-tournament team.

    - The men's golf team jumped two more spots on the final day of the Olympia Fields Invitational at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago, Ill., finishing Sunday in a tie for eighth amongst a deep 15-team field ... the Irish closed with a final day 294 (+14) to conclude the 54-hole tournament at 883 (+43) ... Stanford held on for the tournament title, finishing up the event with a score of 849 (+9) for a full 16-shot victory over both Auburn and Oklahoma State who finished tied for second at 865 (+25) ... in addition, with Notre Dame's tie for eighth, the Irish posted victories over three teams which appeared in last season's NCAA Championship final four: Augusta State, Duke and Ohio State.

    - The men's tennis team managed a pair of singles victories in a rain-shortened final day at the Illini Invitational in Chicago on Sunday ... Casey Watt earned his first victory of the weekend, taking down California's Riki McLachlan in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3 ... Blas Moros closed out the weekend with a 2-2 singles record after dropping Alabama's Stuart Kenyon, 6-3, 6-4.

    - Former Irish assistant football coach Urban Meyer will be one of the color commentators on ABC Sports Saturday for the noon Notre Dame-Pittsburgh telecast ... he'll join Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman.

    - Former Irish baseball player Steve Sollmann is back on campus working as an academic counselor in the Academic Services for Student-Athletes department ... Sollmann played second base and was a 10th-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2004 ... he had a .360 career average at Notre Dame and earned All-America honors in 2003 and was a two-time Academic All-American.

    - Notre Dame fans are lining up to attend winter sports ... led by a near 300 percent increase in hockey sales, all three winter sports season (hockey, men's and women's basketball) ticket sales are on pace to exceed their 2010-11 season-ticket totals.

    - Brian Kelly comments from his Sunday media teleconference included these tidbits:

    "I think right now he (Aaron Lynch) shows himself very well as a guy that can get after the quarterback. He's relentless and he's very, very physical. He doesn't beat you with speed off the edge, he beats you with power."

    "I got a chance to shake hands with every one of the 1966 players (in town for the national championship team's 45th reunion) as they came off the stage for our pep rally on Friday and our team got a chance to interact with them as well. It was a great way to mix our team with Ara Parseghian and his championship team."

    "If we can control the line of scrimmage, take care of the football, play better pass coverage, especially at the end of the game, we're probably sitting here with a different record."

    "They're not going to forget the fact that they've let two games slip away. You want that feeling of: We're not going to let this happen again. Enough is enough. If that's what they do the rest of the year that's a good place to be."

    - Kicker David Ruffer is Notre Dame's 2011 nominee for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete program ... offensive lineman Chris Stewart was a winner of that award a year ago ... Ruffer was a first-team Academic All-American in 2010 with his 3.9 GPA.

    - The connection Saturday with NASCAR driver Kurt Busch attending the Notre Dame-Michigan State football game is former Irish football walk-on defensive back Chris Ham, who works with Busch in the marketing area ... a 1995 Notre Dame graduate in business, Ham lives in Winston-Salem, N.C., and is president of his own consulting form as well as director of motorsports for Lennox Motorsports.

    - Army quarterback Trent Steelman, Notre Dame cornerback Robert Blanton, and Notre Dame running back/kick returner George Atkinson III have been named FBS Independent Players of the Week, for games through Sept. 17 ... Blanton was instrumental in Notre Dame's inaugural win of the season, a 31-13 home decision over No. 15 Michigan State ... Blanton thwarted a late Spartan rally when he secured an interception deep in Notre Dame territory and returned it 82 yards, setting up a game-sealing field goal for the Fighting Irish ... Atkinson tallied 142 yards on four kickoff returns, highlighted by an 89-yard scoring scamper, in Notre Dame's win over Michigan State ... Atkinson is the first Fighting Irish freshman to return a kickoff for score since Raghib Ismail in 1988.

    - Quarterback "hurries" are an inexact football statistic since they are not kept routinely in college press boxes and are not considered official by the NCAA ... still, Aaron Lynch's six hurries Saturday against Michigan State are more than any single Irish player had in all of 2010.

    - Notre Dame's fall slate for men's lacrosse includes an Oct. 8 home game against Air Force (10 a.m. at Arlotta Stadium on the morning of the Notre Dame-Air Force football game) and an Oct. 15 road date at Navy (noon at Miller Field in Annapolis, Md.).

    - Michael Floyd's 31 receptions after three games (10.33 per game) rank him fourth nationally (USC's Rob Woods has 33) ... Floyd also is fourth in receiving yards per game at 132.33 each.

    - Notre Dame's football schedule this week ranks 28th by the NCAA in degree of difficulty, with Irish opponents standing 15-9 (.625) ... Irish opponents still unbeaten include South Florida, Michigan, USC and Stanford.

    - Looking way ahead to Notre Dame's next home football game Oct. 8 vs. Air Force - the featured event of the weekend will be dedication of the Dan Devine sculpture.

    - Tickets remain on sale to the public through the Purdue ticket offices for the Oct. 1 Notre Dame-Purdue football game in West Lafayette.

    - The women's tennis team and head coach Jay Louderback have announced their 2011-12 schedule.

    Daily Dish - 9.17.11

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    - Former Irish football standout Jerome Bettis joined the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night in Novi, Mich., with Notre Dame athletics administrators Bill Scholl, John Heisler and Josh Berlo in attendance ... among the previous hall of famers with Notre Damec onnections inducted have been George Gipp (1957), Gus Dorais (1958), Leon Hart (1997) and Bill Laimbeer (1999),

    - Our baseball team played host to Michigan State this morning at at Eck Baseball Stadium on the Notre Dame campus.

    - A golden goal in the first minute of overtime from Adam Mena gave the 16th-ranked men's soccer team a 2-1 triumph of Michigan on Friday evening at Alumni Stadium ... Mena scored both Irish goals on the evening and Greg Klazura assisted on each tally.

    - Kristen Dealy became the eighth player in Notre Dame volleyball history to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career with a 13-kill effort in a 3-1 win Friday evening over Western Michigan in Madison, Wis. ... Dealy hit .306 with 21 digs, one ace and a solo block for the Irish ... entering the contest, Dealy had 995 kills and 1,042 digs ... her 1,000th kill came in the second set to make her the first Irish player to join the 1,000-1,000 club since Adrianna Stasiuk did so in 2007.

    - Louisville's Erin Yenney scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute and the Cardinals made it stand, upsetting the Irish women's soccer team, 1-0, Friday night before a crowd of 2,501 fans at Alumni Stadium ... the loss was the first for the Fighting Irish in BIG EAST regular-season action since Sept. 30, 2005 (a 4-1 defeat at Marquette), snapping a 62-match unbeaten streak in the process.

    - The men's tennis squad won five doubles contests and four singles matches on day one of the season-opening Illini Invitational in Chicago, Ill. ... Notre Dame's doubles tandems went 5-3 on day one with victories over teams from Texas and Alabama ... the Irish were a combined 4-0 in doubles against the Crimson Tide.

    - Jessica Rydberg won the women's 5K race and Martin Grady finished second in the men's five-mile race to power the Notre Dame women's and men's cross country squads to a pair of victories at the 32nd annual National Catholic Championships on Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Cross Country Course ... Rydberg's time (17:16) was the fastest since Notre Dame's JoAnna Deeter ran 16:52 in 1999 ... it's also the third-fastest time in the meet's history ... she is the ninth straight Notre Dame women's runner to win the meet ... the Irish women have won 18 times out of the last 20 years, including each of the last 10 ... the men won for the third straight year and for the 20th time in the last 24 years.

    - Former Notre Dame Bengal Bout champion Mike Lee won a unanimous four-round decision Friday night over Jacob Stiers of Kansas City, Kan., in front of 3,296 fans at Purcell Pavilion ... Lee is now 7-0 in is professional career ... the event benefited both the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and the Robinson Community Learning Center.

    - Lou's Lads, the organization of former Notre Dame football players who played under Lou Holtz, presented its first scholarship on Friday night at a dinner at the Gillespie Conference Center in South Bend to current Notre Dame senior Paul Moya from Los Lunas, N.M.

    Hear It From a Student - Done Streaking

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    5647007.jpeg The women's soccer team has dominated the BIG EAST Conference throughout its 17 seasons in the league, which made Friday afternoon's 1-0 home loss to Louisville that much more stunning.

    The Cardinals scored in the 57th minute and used a conservative defensive approach to pull off the upset in what was the conference-opener for both squads.

    As the clock ticked down, the crowd at Alumni Stadium tried to will the Irish to victory, but to no avail.

    The Cardinals' win was their first win over the Irish since Sept. 24, 1989. Since Louisville joined the BIG EAST, the Irish were a perfect 6-0 against the foe from the Bluegrass State, including a 5-0 road win in 2010 over a ranked Louisville squad.

    Notre Dame now takes a two-game losing streak into Sunday's match at Cincinnati after seeing its 62-game unbeaten streak in regular-season BIG EAST play go to the wayside.

    After taking a conservative approach on offense in the first half, the Cardinals opened the second half on the attack and they reaped the reward when Christine Exeter broke through the Irish defense near the sideline and sent a cross into the goal box that bounced past two Irish defenders. The pass found Erin Yenny, who drilled it past a diving Maddie Fox for the deciding goal. The goal was Yenny's first collegiate goal in her seventh start.

    Louisville's youth shined throughout the game, led by Exeter, last season's BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Many of the Cardinals' scoring chances came through Exeter's aggressive play, which was evident as early as the 13th minute of the game when she split two defenders with her speed before misfiring a shot on goal.

    Louisville seemed to play for the tie in the first half, packing its defenders in the middle of the field. As a result, the Irish were forced to use the sidelines to send crosses.

    Notre Dame's best first-half opportunity came in the first minute when Melissa Henderson worked her way open in the goal box only to see Louisville goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer deflect her shot. That proved to be Henderson's only shot on goal for the game, a rarity for the team's leading scorer and Hermann Trophy candidate.

    Notre Dame had hoped to leave its goal scoring woes on the West Coast, but continued to struggle cashing in on chances throughout the game. The Irish controlled the ball for most of the game and took 20 shots (compared to Louisville's 10) and only managed to land six shots on goal.

    Notre Dame's best look in the second half came off a corner kick in the 61st minute. Jessica Schuveiller reeled in Henderson's corner kick and fired a shot. However, a Louisville defender stood in the shot's way to record a key save.

    - Matt Unger ('14)

    Live Chat - Women's Soccer vs. Indiana

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    Two days after a 7-1 rout of Tulsa at the 19th annual Notre Dame adidas Invitational, the Fighting Irish and Indiana will square off today at 1:30 p.m. (ET). Cover all the bases of Sunday's live action right here at Irish UNDerground.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.


    Live Chat - Women's Soccer vs. Tulsa

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    A Tie-Dye Cupcake Can Change the World

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    Huffington Post - When Lindsay Brown, a junior at the University of Notre Dame, decided to host a bake sale in her dorm last year to fundraise for girls' education at the Kopila Valley Children's School, she had no idea that she was launching a movement. But her success, raising $900 with her soccer teammates to sponsor three girls in Nepal, did just that. Bake sale fundraisers are nothing new, of course ... until you throw some food coloring into the mix.

    Lindsay's change-the-world cupcakes are tie-dyed, which we found at She's the First makes them utterly irresistible. She's the First is a non-profit that partners with the most underserved but impactful schools in the developing world and empowers American youth to creatively fundraise for girls' sponsorships. We focus on girls because of the 130 million youth who are out of school around the globe, 70 percent of them are girls. The girls we sponsor are typically the first in their families to graduate primary or secondary school.

    When Lindsay shared her cupcake story and photos on our blog, other students started asking for the recipe... before long, these cupcakes were popping up everywhere, even in YouTube videos.

    She's the First now declares November 1-8, 2011 a Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off, raising a call to action for 200+ high schools and colleges to host their own tie-dye bake sales to sponsor girls' education with us. You can see the bake sale sign-ups start to sprinkle our Google Map at shesthefirst.org/cupcakes.

    The story of the first tie-dye cupcake fundraiser for She's the First isn't over yet -- it gets even sweeter. This summer, Lindsay received a grant from Notre Dame to travel to Nepal, to meet the students she had sponsored with cupcakes. She also wanted to create an all-girls soccer team that would be "an extension of the classroom," as she says, and teach them leadership, self-confidence, and assertiveness. I'm so proud of her project, because at She's the First, when we choose sponsorship programs to partner with, we look for those that have extracurricular activities such as sports. The mentorship inherent in athletics or the arts is one of the most effective ways to prevent a girl from falling into the traps of pregnancy or early marriage, which would get in the way of her graduation.

    Lindsay documented her trip on Tumblr, and although it's hard to beat her final post -- announcing that the girls won their first soccer game 5-0! -- my favorite post was hands-down about the birthdays of Nisha and Sunju.

    Little did we know, but Lindsay had packed baking supplies along with her soccer balls, and she taught the Kopila Valley kids how to make the very same tie-dye cupcakes that sponsored their education. For them, it satisfied more than their sweet tooth. She blogged: "our two friends who are pilots for the world food programme are pretty much the only people in surkhet with a working oven so we drove over to their house to bake the cupcakes. it was a really big deal for the girls, they've only been in a car a few times(i even had to show them how to open the door) and when i asked if they had ever used an oven before they said they've only seen one in a movie!"

    Lindsay Brown, the Kopila Valley children and the 24-year-old founder of their home and school, Maggie Doyne, have the kind of intertwined story that I feel like I would see in a movie, too. But these real-life stories are actually all around us -- and She's the First pulls them together in one place. You can become the next chapter.

    "Like" her video to help her earn a spot at the Google Zeitgeist Americas 2011, where she'll take a series of master classes and meet some of the world's most powerful players and greatest minds. Because when a girl starts changing the world with cupcakes when she's 20, you have no idea what's next.

    Encourage the young women in your life to sign up to host a tie-dye cupcake bake sale at their school, too: shesthefirst.org/cupcakes. I know there are many more Lindsay Brown's out there, and each one of them also has a girl -- or three! -- on the other side of the world whom she can impact.

    Let's show the world what a cupcake is really made of.

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