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Women’s Soccer: Irish travel to coast for two games

Bobby Griffin | Friday, October 7, 2005

The defending national champions, treading in some dangerous water with two regular-season losses, will travel to New Jersey this weekend to play Rutgers and Seton Hall.

Notre Dame (10-2-0, 4-1-0) will need to have an impressive weekend in order to regain its top-tier recognition of teams around the nation.

“I feel great and confident, but I don’t play,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “I think it’s a big weekend for us to be able to show everybody around the conference and country that it was just a little slip up, and we’re still on track.”

With six regular season games left, the Irish are in a situation where they need to win as many games as possible to assure home-field advantage in the postseason.

“If we go up there and struggle this weekend, we may have some [trouble] through the rest of the season,” Waldrum said.

After Notre Dame’s loss Friday at Marquette, Waldrum understands how important every game will be heading into the Big East tournament with the amount of undefeated teams ahead of them in the country.

“I think the only thing we can control is us,” Waldrum said. “I think we need to win as many of the remaining games as we possibly can. Unfortunately, there are some teams in front of us … that haven’t lost yet. We’d probably need a little bit of help to get a No. 4 seed.”

But before the Irish can worry about seeding in the NCAA tournament, they have to deal with winning this weekend against the two Big East teams from New Jersey.

In Rutgers and Seton Hall, Notre Dame will encounter two very different opponents.

Waldrum expects Rutgers to attack the Notre Dame defense, something that most teams avoid when they play the Irish, opting instead to wait for an Irish mistake.

“I think Rutgers is going to come out and try to play us,” Waldrum said. “They always have. They are not a team that really sits back.

“They’ve been one of the Big East teams that has been fairly successful against us the last few years, and the games have all been close.”

Waldrum anticipates a close game with not a lot of goal scoring because of the intensity that Rutgers will bring after struggling in the Big East so far this season.

Seton Hall is a team that is usually very aggressive, sometimes so much so that Waldrum is not sure whether or not their attitude is over the top.

“[Seton Hall has] no real, real special players, but it is a really physical team,” Waldrum said. “Almost borderline, is it good, clean physical play or is it crossing the edge a little bit into the other side?”

The Irish will play Rutgers Friday at 7 p.m. and will challenge Seton Hall Sunday at 1 p.m.