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ND Softball: Irish look to extend win streak

Kelsey Manning | Tuesday, March 29, 2011

After several weeks of road trips left the Irish less than satisfied, it’s safe to say that the team is happy to be competing at home this week as it takes on Western Michigan tonight.

Notre Dame (17-6) extended a home winning streak Friday in its 4-1 home opener win against Northern Illinois, gracing Melissa Cook Stadium with her 21st straight victory. The Irish are now primed for the string of home matches that begin tonight and carry on to Thursday and the weekend, when they will face Purdue (19-7) and Providence (11-17), respectively.

After enduring a frustrating spring break in California that exposed a few weak spots, the Irish appeared to be back on track with Friday’s victory. Notre Dame showed batting efficiency, grace under pressure, strong defense and outstanding pitching that marked a total team effort.

“I think we’re coming off really well from Spring Break,” senior catcher Alexia Clay said. “We dropped a couple of big games, but I still think we played pretty well except for a few details. However I think the team’s coming off that week really well and we’re ready to start the post-season off right.”

The talented squad has had goals for the second half of their season in sight from day one. This week’s string of home match-ups will hopefully bolster the team’s confidence leading up to the beginning of conference play against Providence. The next test for the Irish will be Western Michigan (4-18), who will face a re- energized Notre Dame squad.

“We ended up having the weekend off because that’s how our schedule worked out, so I think we’ll all be rested up and ready to play,” Clay said. “Especially since conference games start this weekend that’s always a really exciting time for us. So everyone’s really excited to get the games going on Tuesday and Thursday and then start conference on Saturday.”

Notre Dame and Western Michigan last faced off last year in Kalamazoo, where the Irish trampled the Broncos 13-4 in six innings. The Irish will look to do the same tonight and extend their home win streak to 22 straight.

The Irish will take to the diamond to face Western Michigan at Melissa Cook Stadium at 6 p.m. tonight.