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Undefeated Irish take on huskies

Matt Puglisi | Friday, April 2, 2004

The No. 3 Irish (7-0, 2-0 Big East) look to extend their school-record 11-game winning streak when Notre Dame journeys to Storrs, Conn., to lock horns with Connecticut in a Big East battle Saturday at noon.The Huskies (2-5, 0-1 Big East) represent the final team in a three-game stretch against Big East opponents for the Irish before they return to conference play April 17 in a showdown at No. 2 Georgetown.If their play over the season’s first seven games is any indication, the Irish shouldn’t have much trouble taking care of the Huskies.”Every conference game is important, and we never take [the Huskies] lightly,” coach Tracy Coyne said. “They have some good players, but they’re struggling a bit right now. Whenever it’s a conference game, it’s a rivalry, and we don’t worry too much about the records, just going out and executing.”Notre Dame picked up the first of its two conference victories March 26. with a convincing 18-11 win over Virginia Tech at the Loftus Sports Complex.Attack Jackie Bowers and attack/middle Meredith Simon paced the Irish offense as Bowers recorded a career-high five goals and Simon equaled a season-best with seven points (four goals, three assists). In addition, middle Abby Owen (three goals, one assist), attack Lauren Fischer (two goals, one assist), and middle/attack Crysti Foote (two goals, one assist) all chipped in by finding the back of the net on at least two occasions. While Virginia Tech managed to hang around for a little more than half the contest, narrowing the Irish lead to 8-5 with 27:57 remaining, Notre Dame shut the door on any Hokie comeback hopes with a 5-0 second half run.”We had a two-week layoff [going into the Virginia Tech game] so we were a little rusty,” Coyne said. “Virginia Tech was quick and fast, and we just didn’t execute as well as we did Sunday [against Boston College].”Sunday afternoon brought a new opponent, yet yielded a similar result as the Irish took advantage of three separate five-goal streaks to deliver a 17-7 thrashing of Boston College.”Our goal was to be 2-0 in Big East and I was happy about the way that we went about accomplishing that goal,” Coyne said. “We had excellent transitions and just moved the ball around very well.”Recording two of the three runs in the game’s first 28 minutes, the Irish found themselves staked to a comfortable 10-3 halftime lead and on their way to a school-record 7-0 start. Notre Dame would go on to build a 13-goal advantage at 17-4 before allowing to a trio of Golden Eagles tallies at game’s end.”We knew if we came out, stuck to our game plan, and executed fundamentals,” Coyne said, “[the game] could end up [being a rout].”Foote posted four goals, Fischer had a tally and a career-high three assists and Simon continued her season-long dominance with her own four-goal game and second in as many contests.Simon’s weekend performance earned her Big East Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and middle/ defense Andrea Kinnik took home some hardware of her own as the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Week.After taking on the Huskies, the Irish head home to host Ohio on April 6.