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Tough schedule continues to challenge No. 10 Irish

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, March 19, 2004

After an impressive win over Penn State to begin the regular season, the Irish suddenly find themselves in a bit of a slump.The season-opening win over Penn State shot the Irish to No. 5 in the national rankings. Unfortunately, the team has fallen since then to two top-10 teams that have dropped the Irish to No. 10 in the nation. No. 3 Syracuse handed the Irish their first loss of the season with a 19-13 defeat. Four days later, No. 9 North Carolina defeated Notre Dame 14-11. This weekend, the Irish are facing their fourth consecutive top-20 ranked opponent. No. 16 Loyola University in Baltimore will challenge the Irish after dropping its latest match to Duke 11-3.Loyola’s top players include Stephen Brundage, who has scored eight points in three games. Other notable players include Matt Cassalia and Andrew Spack who have won 41-of-61 face-offs for the team.Notre Dame has several notable players including All-American attack Pat Walsh. Walsh contributed three goals and three assists against North Carolina. Other key players that have helped the Irish this season are Matt Howell, Matt Karweck and Matt Ryan. All three players combined for six goals against North Carolina. Notre Dame must win in order to position themselves for postseason play. Although it is still early in the season, only 16 teams make the playoffs every season.