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ND Women’s Soccer: Rivalry Renewed

Mike Gotimer | Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For the sixth straight season, No. 5 Notre Dame is making an appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, and for the second straight year, Florida State stands between the Irish and a trip to the College Cup Final Four.

Unlike last year, Notre Dame will hit the road for this contest with the Seminoles. The Irish hold a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams, but this will be the first time that Notre Dame has played in Tallahassee.

This fourth match-up between Notre Dame and Florida State will also be the fourth time that the two teams have played each other in the College Cup. The two teams faced each other in consecutive national semifinals matches in 2006 and 2007, with the Irish taking the first matchup and the Seminoles the second.

Since Notre Dame defeated Florida State in the national quarterfinals last season, Irish coach Randy Waldrum said he believes the Seminoles may be out for revenge against his team.

“I think certainly they’ll remember last year and having to come here and play, and it seems like the last four years we’ve had to play them somewhere along the way,” Waldrum said.

“So when they beat us two years ago, we remembered it last year, so I’m certain they’ll be thinking about it when we play them.”

The game features two of the more prolific scoring offenses in the Tournament thus far, as the Irish are second in the field with 11 goals in three games, trailing only UCLA’s 15, and the Seminoles have nine, behind the Bruins, Irish and Portland.

“It’s going to be tough [to shut FSU down],” Waldrum said. “They have a couple of kids with [sophomore Tiffany] McCarty and [sophomore Jessica] Price up front as good as any forwards we’ve seen all year long and kids like [senior Amanda] DaCosta and Casey Short at midfield, you know a lot of kids who can score goals. They’re just like us where they have a lot of weapons.”

Waldrum said he believes both teams have multiple goal-scoring threats and that dead-ball set pieces could have a big impact on the game.

“They’ve got a girl with a long throw and we have [senior forward Michele] Weissenhofer with her flip throw, and we’ve been good in set pieces,” Waldrum said. “I think the game could turn on a dead-ball play.”

As the Irish have advanced this far in the NCAA Tournament in each of the past six seasons, Waldrum thinks that the team should be ready for the matchup mentally, especially with their ability to adapt to different styles of play.

“The one thing I’ve been really proud of this group about, and I told them [Monday], is that this team maybe more so than some of our other teams has adapted to the game in terms of playing whatever style we need to play in order to win games,” Waldrum said. “The one thing our team has done this year is to find ways to win. This team has shown that they can win in different ways.”

Notre Dame plays at Florida State 2 p.m. Friday.