Aug. 8, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The first week of preseason training is in the books for the NCAA runner-up Notre Dame women's soccer team, as the Fighting Irish begin preparations for their 22nd season of varsity competition, looking to build upon their school-record 26 wins, 10th NCAA College Cup appearance and seventh NCAA finals berth (third in the past five seasons). Notre Dame also is the reigning BIG EAST Conference champion, having claimed its 10th conference crown last season, while extending its unbeaten streak against BIG EAST opponents to 52 consecutive matches (50-0-2), the second-longest streak of its kind in NCAA Division I history (55 by North Carolina from 1994-2000).
This season, Notre Dame welcomes back 23 players (19 monogram winners), including seven starters, from last year's top-ranked squad, while mixing in a talented crop of six freshmen who will aim to make their mark and contend for playing time in 2009. The Fighting Irish will take the pitch for the first time this year next Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. (ET), when they travel down to Indianapolis for an exhibition match against the Ireland National Team at Kuntz Stadium (home of W-League powerhouse FC Indiana). The Ireland National Team is in the midst of a 10-week residency camp in Indianapolis, designed to help prepare the squad for 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying, which gets underway next month. Ireland already has defeated several American teams this summer, including the Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer (1-0) and FC Indiana (2-1), and the Irish side is scheduled to visit Notre Dame's fellow BIG EAST member, Louisville, on Saturday night.
Tickets for the Notre Dame-Ireland contest, which are available at $12 for adults and $7 for students ($10/adults and $6/students for groups of 15-or-more), may be purchased by downloading the PDF ticket order form at the top of this release and faxing it to the listed number, or by visiting the Kuntz Stadium ticket windows on the night of the match. As a special bonus, players from both squads will be available for autographs following the match.
Notre Dame will play its second and final exhibition contest on Friday, Aug. 14 at 1 p.m. (ET), when it heads north to Traverse City, Mich., for a matchup with Virginia at the Keystone Soccer Complex. The Cavaliers, who advanced to the third round in last year's NCAA Championship, regularly spend their preseason training in Traverse City, and have recently faced the Fighting Irish in several exhibitions, including last year, when UVa squeezed out a 3-2 win over Notre Dame, ending a run of three consecutive Fighting Irish preseason victories over the Cavaliers from 2005-07.
Notre Dame then turns its attention to the season opener on Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m (ET) against Wisconsin. That match, as well as the one a week later against Loyola-Chicago (Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. ET), will be played at the longtime home of the Fighting Irish, Alumni Field, while construction is being completed on the brand-new, state-of-the-art Alumni Stadium that will make its debut Sept. 1 when the Notre Dame men's soccer team takes on Michigan. The Fighting Irish women's soccer team is scheduled to play in its new home facility for the first time on Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. (ET), when it plays host to North Carolina in a rematch of last year's NCAA national championship contest, as well as the first round of this year's Inn at Saint Mary's Soccer Classic.
Speaking of scheduling changes, three Notre Dame women's soccer matches will be televised live to a national cable audience during the 2009 season. The Fighting Irish and Louisville will tangle on Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium in a match that will air live on CBS College Sports, as part of a Notre Dame soccer TV doubleheader (the Fighting Irish men are scheduled to welcome Cincinnati to town at 3:30 p.m. ET that day). Less than a week later on Oct. 2, the Notre Dame women are back on the airwaves, as they travel to Morgantown, W.Va., for a 6 p.m. (ET) conference clash with West Virginia that will be broadcast live on ESPNU from Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The final Fighting Irish television game of the regular season is penciled for Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. (ET) as the Fox Soccer Channel/NSCAA Game of the Week, when Notre Dame plays host to Georgetown in the regular-season finale for both clubs at Alumni Stadium. (Please note: that start time is later than previously announced).
Tickets for the 2009 Notre Dame women's soccer season now are on sale by contacting the Fighting Irish Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), stopping by the Gate 1 ticket windows on the second floor of the Joyce Center from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays, or by going on-line to the tickets page of the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets). In addition, tickets may be purchased at the stadium entrance on the night of the match.