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Hot Irish remain undefeated

Matt Puglisi | Monday, March 29, 2004

To say that the Irish are off to a good start would be an understatement.

Improving its season mark to a perfect 7-0 (2-0 in Big East) and stretching its overall win streak to a school record 11 games, No. 3 Notre Dame knocked off a pair of Big East rivals over the weekend, defeating Virginia Tech (3-3) Friday before thumping Boston College (4-3) Sunday.

While several individual players have stood out thus far this season – attack/middle Meredith Simon, attack Abby Owen and goalkeeper Carol Dixon were all recognized as Big East Player of the Week at one point – Irish coach Tracy Coyne points to true teamwork with a touch senior leadership as the ingredient of the squad’s success.

“We’re really a team,” Coyne said. “Different people are stepping up at different points to make things happen. The seniors have a lot of pride and determination, they’re focused and they’ve done a great job leading the team.”

That teamwork was on display once again Friday afternoon.

Attack Jackie Bowers netted a career-high five goals and four other Irish players recorded at least a pair of scores as Notre Dame finally put away a pesky Virginia Tech squad with a 5-0 second-half run en route to an 18-11 victory.

Falling behind 25 seconds into the contest, the Irish posted the next four goals for a 4-1 lead a little over four minutes into the game. While the Hokies managed to answer back with a pair of their own, pulling within one at 4-3 with 22:35 remaining in the first half, the Irish netted four of the next five goals to head into the half with an 8-4 advantage.

Virginia Tech once again struck first to open the second half as the Hokies’ Kate Threadgold picked up her third goal of the afternoon to bring Virginia Tech within a trio of tallies.

Three goals would prove to be as close as the Hokies would get, however. The Irish scored each of the game’s next five goals to build a 13-5 lead and secure their sixth victory of the season.

In addition to Bowers’ five goals, Simon picked up four tallies and Owen had three goals, while both attack Lauren Fischer and middle/attack Crysti Foote netted a pair of their own.

Sunday, the Irish rode three separate five-goal runs to a 17-7 throttling of the Eagles.

After jumping out to a 5-0 lead behind a pair of goals from both Owen and Foote and a tally from Fischer with 23:46 left in the first half, the Irish yielded a pair of Eagles scores before rallying for yet another five-goal streak to build a 10-3 halftime lead and effectively seal the contest.

The barrage continued in the second half as Notre Dame rattled off seven of the contest’s next eight goals to take a 17-4 advantage with 12:32 left.

Simon and Owen continued their season-long dominance as Simon found the back of the net on four occasions for the second time in three days and Owen recorded two goals and an assist.

In addition, Foote scored four goals and Fischer picked up a score and three assists in the victory.

Notre Dame returns to action next Saturday when the Irish travel to Storrs, Conn. to take on the Huskies in Big East play.