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Attention sports fans:

Andy Troeger | Thursday, October 2, 2003

Have a student ID? Love sports? You say you do? Then I have an opportunity for you.

It’s a chance to watch the most successful program at Notre Dame over the past ten years compete in a clash of titans at Alumni Field when No. 5 West Virginia comes to town to battle the undefeated No. 2 Fighting Irish.

It is an opportunity to come out and watch at Alumni Field on Friday night at 7 p.m. when the Irish will look to avenge last year’s loss in Morgantown that assured the ending of their reign as Big East Champions.

For students, entrance into the game is free. Even for everyone else, how often can you watch two teams near the top of their sport compete in your own backyard for only a few dollars?

Until last year, the Irish had never lost to West Virginia. It was the first time in team history that the Irish had not won the Big East Tournament Championship, let alone make the tournament.

But this has been a new year for the Irish.

Bolstered by a tremendous freshman class and returning starters coming back from injury, this team has dominated its first ten opponents to the tune of nine wins and one tie through ten games.

The wins have come against strong opponents, including a scoring advantage of 40-5 that includes wins over such ranked teams as Wake Forest, Arizona State and Santa Clara.

The game against West Virginia is also huge for the eventual NCAA selections. A win against West Virginia means the Irish will have the inside track toward gaining one of the top four seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

What’s important about the top four, you ask? It means home games all the way until the College Cup Final Four in North Carolina.

Irish soccer has a tradition of excellence, having advanced to the National Semifinals six times since 1994, including one National Championship in 1995.

Four times the Irish have played in the Championship game, with the most recent trip being 1999. With the No. 2 ranking in the country, this Irish team is looking to return to the heights of its predecessors, but they need your help.

Cheer on the Irish this Friday night at 7 p.m. at Alumni Field. Help the Irish protect their 43-game home winning streak against Big East opponents by avenging their only loss to the Mountaineers in program history.