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ND Women’s Soccer: Team nets No. 1 Big East seed

Mike Gotimer | Thursday, October 29, 2009

After another undefeated run through the Big East regular season, No. 5 Notre Dame finds itself in a familiar position at the top of the bracket heading into this week’s Big East championship.

Although the Irish received a bye to the quarterfinals and have a strong chance to secure their 11th Big East title, the road to the championship game should provide a number of challenges as Notre Dame tries to navigate through the competitive field of opponents. For this reason, coach Randy Waldrum said the Irish are not overlooking the chance to win yet another Big East title.

“Every year they’re able to keep their focus,” Waldrum said. “They’ve been through this enough that we’re in the part of the season where it’s one game and you’re out and we can’t slip up, so there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about us being the top seed and winning the regular season championship. At this point, every team is good enough to beat you on any given day.”

Notre Dame’s biggest challenge to winning another championship could come from No. 9 Rutgers, who finished second in the Big East National division behind Notre Dame and remains the only other conference foe ranked in the NSCAA poll. However, the Scarlet Knights find themselves on the opposite side of the bracket in the tournament as a result of their second place finish and would only face the Irish should both teams reach the title game.

On Notre Dame’s side of the bracket, Waldrum said a challenging match-up could occur with the winner of the quarterfinal match between Georgetown-St. John’s should the Irish advance that far.

“I think on our side who’s a good team is Georgetown, who we just played Sunday night,” Waldrum said. “We haven’t seen St. John’s all year and didn’t play them last year, so they’re consistently good and we could see them up there.”

Waldrum was also careful not to overlook some of the other teams in the conference who didn’t receive byes, including potential quarterfinal opponents DePaul and Villanova, who could present some difficulties for contenders on the other side of the bracket.

“I don’t say [the other teams would be a tough game] to underestimate DePaul or Villanova on the other side of the bracket. The other side is so difficult and has been so close all year,” he said.

Another sleeper that Waldrum said could advance all the way to the final on the other side of the bracket is Marquette, who won the Big East American division for the first time in school history to receive the other top seed in the tournament.

“There’s a good chance you could see Marquette in the final,” Waldrum said.

The Irish will face off against the winner of the first round matchup between DePaul and South Florida at 1 p.m. Sunday at Alumni Stadium.