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ND Women’s Soccer: ND hopes to rebound from losses

Mike Gotimer | Friday, September 18, 2009

After dropping two matches last weekend on the West Coast, No. 14/13 Notre Dame returns home for its conference opener against DePaul and its final non-conference tilt against Northwestern.

The Irish look to rebound against the Blue Demons and Wildcats this weekend after a six-game stretch that included three matches against teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the NSCAA poll. On their recent trip to California, the Irish dropped consecutive 2-0 decisions against Santa Clara and No. 3/2 Stanford. The two losses marked the first time in two seasons that the Irish posted consecutive losses.

DePaul (4-2-2) enters Friday’s contest having already matched its win total from a year ago. The Blue Demons’ signature win came in a 1-0 upset of No. 11 Missouri, which propelled them to a No. 20 ranking in the Aug. 31 edition of the Soccer America poll, their first ranking in school history. Junior midfielder Tara Strickland leads the Blue Demons with seven points on three goals and one assist. DePaul’s defense is anchored by freshman goalkeeper Claire Hanold, who has recorded five shutouts to date, which ties her for first in the Big East with Marquette’s Natalie Kulla.

DePaul, however, has never posted a win over Notre Dame, as the Irish hold a 4-0-0 all-time advantage over the Blue Demons. In addition, DePaul’s next goal against the Irish will be their first, as the Irish hold a 16-0 goal advantage. Last season’s contest was the closest match of the series, as Notre Dame edged passed DePaul 1-0 in a defensive struggle. The Irish win is part of Notre Dame’s school record 52-game unbeaten streak against Big East opponents that extends back to the 2005 season.

Northwestern (3-3-1) took a three-match winning streak into their Thursday night contest against BYU with wins over Loyola-Chicago, Penn and Yale. Senior Kay Sampson leads the Wildcats with 5 points on 2 goals and 1 assist. Junior goalkeeper Carolyn Edwards has posted a 1.24 goals-against average and three shutouts.

The Irish and Wildcats have only faced each other twice and have not faced each other since 1990. The Irish won both previous contests, outscoring the Wildcats by a combined score of 14-0.

Notre Dame will face off against DePaul tonight at 7:30 and will take on Northwestern on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.