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ND Softball: Notre Dame hopes to build off weekend sweep

Laura Coletti | Friday, March 1, 2013

The Irish will look to keep their winning record intact this weekend as they travel to Kissimmee, Fla., to participate in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. 

Notre Dame (8-5) will square off with Boston College, Georgia Tech, LIU Brooklyn and Maryland. Irish senior catcher and captain Amy Buntin said she expects the Yellow Jackets to be the toughest competition. 

Buntin added that this weekend will give Notre Dame a chance to build upon the rhythm it found last weekend, when the Irish went 4-0. 

“Last weekend our team finally found our momentum and put all parts of our game together,” Buntin said. “Offensively and defensively, we were solid. Last weekend gave us the confidence we needed to propel us through the rest of the season.”

The Irish have already faced a number of tough opponents this season, including then-No. 1 Oklahoma. Notre Dame fell 7-5 to the Sooners in nine innings, but Buntin said taking the Sooners to extra frames helped to boost the team’s confidence as it moves forward. 

“The Oklahoma game showed us that if we are willing to fight for seven innings, we can beat any team at any point this season,” she said.  

Notre Dame can also be confident in the fact that sophomore outfielder Emilee Koerner was named Big East Player of the Week for her performance last weekend. Koerner has started all 13 games for the Irish and leads the team with a .523 batting average and 12 RBI.

“Every time Emilee was in the batter’s box this past weekend, both dugouts knew she was going to get a hit,” Buntin said. “Each and every game she continues to get better and better.” 

In preparation for their opponents in Florida, the Irish have been working on improving where they struggled last weekend. Buntin said the team has been solid defensively with few errors on the field, and it was just a matter of time before the bats started to heat up. Buntin also said Notre Dame has continued to focus on its offensive output.

“This week at practice we have focused mainly on our offense and trying to get in as many swings as possible,” Buntin said. “We continued to work on timely hitting, and defensive practices have been short and concise this week.”

Notre Dame will open the weekend against Boston College on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Kissimmee, Fla., before taking on Georgia Tech at 4:45 p.m. The Irish return to the field Sunday to face LIU Brooklyn at 11:15 a.m. and Maryland at 1:30 p.m. 

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu