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Waldrum hopes to maintain winning streak

Andrew Gastelum | Friday, October 7, 2011

Riding its first win streak since early September, Notre Dame will travel to New Jersey to face Seton Hall and Rutgers this weekend, hoping to avoid more struggles on the road.

The Irish (6-5-2, 3-2-1 Big East) are coming off a pair of 3-0 home victories last weekend over UConn and Providence, where six different Notre Dame players recorded points. Freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy led the way for the Irish, scoring three goals in the two shutouts.

Irish coach Randy Waldrum links the winning streak to the team’s consistent effort throughout the entire game and said it is crucial heading into the Garden State matches.

“We have really been drilling them on playing a full 90 minutes,” Waldrum said. “It’s an important part of winning games and it’s what we did last week and what we are looking for this week.

“We need to put a second weekend together and duplicate what we did [last weekend]: getting a shutout and scoring three goals to get us back to where we need to be. The problem is we have had those mental lapses for 10 minutes or so that really set us back.”

Meanwhile, some of Waldrum’s key players are injured, including senior midfielder and co-captain Courtney Barg and freshman Taylor Schneider. Barg, a 2009 All-American selection, hasn’t played since Notre Dame’s 2-1 loss to No. 5 Stanford on Sept. 9.

“Courtney has been missing since the Stanford game and she just started running so we don’t expect her to play much, if any at all,” Waldrum said. “Taylor has been out with a high ankle sprain that she keeps tweaking in practices and games, so we sat her last week. She is sort of in a gray area right now.”

Notre Dame has struggled on the road this season, going 1-4-2 in away games against five ranked teams and two Big East rivals. Waldrum expects yet another road test in Friday’s matchup with Seton Hall (7-4-2, 3-3), who sits three points off the conference lead. Sophomore forward Kaitlyn Ritter leads the Pirates with six goals and also leads an unorthodox formation that has worked for Seton Hall.

“[Seton Hall] plays with three defenders and five in the midfield, so we have to be careful about holding the ball in the midfield for too long because it will be congested,” Waldrum said.

Following the meeting with Seton Hall, the Irish will head to Piscataway to take on the struggling Scarlet Knights (6-6-1, 1-4-1), who are winless in their last five games. But Waldrum said his team’s focus remains on Seton Hall, despite having two games on the weekend slate.

“We are really just trying to focus on one game at a time but Rutgers has been a really tough environment to play in,” Waldrum said. “The matchups will be better, but it’s still a tough place to play. At this point we really need every game if we want to win the conference.”

Seton Hall will host Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Friday before the Irish head to Rutgers for a 12 p.m. showdown Sunday.

Contact Andrew Gastelum at agastel1@nd.edu