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Softball: Team looks to rebound in the Sunshine State

Joe Meixell | Friday, February 24, 2006

The Irish head to Florida today to begin play in another weekend match up. Notre Dame will face off against the University of Buffalo at 2 p.m. The team also has a game slated with Memphis and two against the host squad, Florida International.

After starting a disappointing 2-3, the Irish will attempt to rebound at the Adidas/Golden Panther Tournament with two games on both Friday and Saturday to determine their seed for Sunday’s elimination games.

“We now know exactly what we need to improve on in order to be in Oklahoma in June. We have a lot to improve but are by no means deflated,” said senior pitcher Heather Booth about Notre Dame’s goal of making the NCAA tournament in Tulsa, Okla.

Head coach Deanna Gumpf will once again be unable to join her team on the road. Gumpf gave birth to her second child on Wednesday morning. The coach hopes to be back with her team when they return home to play over spring break. Until then, the team will be under the direction of assistant coaches Kris Ganeff and Lizzie Lemire this weekend.

The team’s first opponent, Buffalo, has yet to play this season and will only have one morning game under its belt when it faces off against the Irish on Friday afternoon. The Irish hope they will be able to use the experience gained from last weekend’s trip to Las Vegas in order to pull their record even with a victory over the Bulls.

Later in the day, Notre Dame will play its first of at least two contests with the Golden Panthers of Florida International.

The Panthers (4-6) started off slow this season, losing five of their first six. However, they have bounced back, winning three in the Dunkin’ Donuts Classic last week. The team has momentum on its side as its last win was a thrilling come-from-behind victory in extra innings against Long Island.

Notre Dame continues the weekend with an early Saturday game against the high-powered offense of Memphis. The Lady Tigers have earned a 3-1 record by outscoring their opponents by a total of 41-13 – including a 19-0 season-opening win against Grambling State Feb. 11.

The fourth team joining Notre Dame in Memphis will be Big East foe St. John’s. Although there are no games currently scheduled between the two teams, it’s possible the Irish will see their first conference action in bracket play on Sunday.

The team hopes to find the proper chemistry between their experienced upperclassmen and talented freshmen such as pitcher Brittney Bargar and Linda Kohen, who leads the team with three home runs this season. For Notre Dame, the road to Oklahoma starts this weekend in Miami.