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ND Softball: Team faces challenge in the Boilermakers

Kelsey Manning | Thursday, March 31, 2011

After a heartbreaking loss Tuesday that ended Notre Dame’s 21-game home winning streak, the Irish hope to regain some momentum tonight against Purdue.

The 3-2 loss to Western Michigan (5-18) came as a shock to the Irish (17-7), who were seemingly getting back on track after a disappointing Spring Break.

The squad struggled to pinpoint an explanation for the unexpected defeat.

“I don’t really know what our deal was because we were hitting the ball, we just weren’t getting it done when we needed to get it done,” senior catcher Lex Clay said. “That was definitely the problem. I don’t know if we can actually attribute it to anything specific, that’s just what happened.”

After being on the road for the first two months of the season, they have experienced a different schedule since Spring Break.

“I think our team has been struggling with some things regardless, especially after Spring Break and dealing with those losses, coming back and playing with a different mentality,” Clay said. “With the fact that we’re home now instead of on the road all the time I think that there’s just a lot of things going on for us and maybe that contributed to how we played on Tuesday.”

The squad, however, remains confident in their ability to finish out the week of home games in a winning fashion after they face Purdue (19-7) tonight.

The Boilermakers travel to South Bend fresh off five straight wins, and in their last game senior pitcher Suzie Rzegocki tallied seven strikeouts, boosting her career total to 626, a school record.

Facing a formidable Purdue squad and with Tuesday’s loss looming in the back of their minds, the Irish will take nothing for granted.

“The team knows that Tuesday’s loss was unacceptable,” Clay said. “I think that people are upset about it, but with the group of people we have, while we are emotionally tied to the game, we don’t dwell on it too much. We like to move on.”

“So we talked about whatever it was and we’re looking forward to the next thing because the reality is if we dwell on it it’s not going to change anything. Purdue has always put together a pretty good team so we’re going to come out and hopefully play a lot better softball than we have been.”

The Irish will face in-state rival Purdue at Melissa Cook Stadium tonight at 5 p.m.