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    Aug. 20, 1997

    Notre Dame Picked to Win BIG EAST Women's Soccer Title

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Notre Dame's two-time defending BIG EAST women's soccer champion has been unanimously selected to win its third title, according to the preseason coaches' poll. The Irish received a maximum of 121 points while Connecticut was picked to finish second. Rutgers, Syracuse and Boston College round out the top five.

    Notre Dame and Connecticut have battled it out for the title both years that the Irish have competed in the BIG EAST Conference and 1997 looks to be no different. Notre Dame and Connecticut are the only two BIG EAST teams ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll. The Irish are ranked second while the Huskies are ranked fourth.

    In 1995, Connecticut defeated the Irish 5-4 in overtime in the regular season but Notre Dame won 1-0 in the BIG EAST championship finals. In 1996, the Irish traveled to Connecticut won 2-1 in the regular season and used another one-goal win 4-3 in the BIG EAST title game. Connecticut travels to Notre Dame on Oct. 26 in the next meeting between the two teams in the 1997 regular season.

    The BIG EAST will be 12 teams strong in 1997 with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse in 1997. The top four teams in the conference will advance to the BIG EAST championship at Yurek Field with the semifinals to be held November 7, and the champion will be crowned on November 9.

    Notre Dame women's soccer will face Missouri in an exhibition game on Sun., Aug. 24, at 1:00 p.m. at Alumni Field. The season-opener for the Irish will be on Fri., Aug. 29, at Alumni Field against St. John's at 7:30 p.m.

    1997 BIG EAST Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll

        School          Points  1996 BIG EAST Record    1996 BIG EAST Finish
    1.  Notre Dame (11)    121        9-0-0                    1st
    2.  Connecticut (1)    111        8-1-0                    2nd
    3.  Rutgers            101        6-3-0                    3rd
    4.  Syracuse            79         NA                       NA
    5.  Boston College      77        4-5-0                    6th
    6.  Villanova           72        5-4-0                    4th
    7.  West Virginia       64        4-4-1                    5th
    8.  St. John's          50        3-5-1                    7th
    9.  Seton Hall          46        3-6-0                    8th
    10. Georgetown          28        1-8-0                   T9th
    11. Providence          24        1-8-0                   T9th
    12. Pittsburgh          19         NA                       NA
    

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