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ND Women’s Soccer: Irish plan for postseason

Mike Gotimer | Thursday, October 28, 2010

After claiming the Big East National Division title, No. 4 Notre Dame is shifting its focus to the postseason, which the Irish have become intimately familiar with during Irish coach Randy Waldrum’s tenure.

While Notre Dame’s ultimate goal is to win the program’s third NCAA title, the Irish will open up the postseason at home in the Big East tournament on Sunday. With their strong play in the regular season, Notre Dame earned a first round bye in the conference tournament and will play the winner of the game between Connecticut and Louisville. The Irish carry a 77-game conference unbeaten streak into the match in addition to a 13-game overall unbeaten streak.

After Sunday’s regular season finale, in which Notre Dame tied Georgetown, Waldrum said he believed his team was ready to shift its focus to the next phase of the schedule.

“This phase of our season is now done and over with, and we did accomplish what we set out to do, which was win our division,” Waldrum said to UND.com. “Now we move on to the Big East tournament and look forward to being back home at Alumni Stadium on Sunday in front of our terrific

Fighting Irish fans for the start of the postseason.”

On their road to three straight College Cup Final Four appearances, the Irish have used the Big East tournament as a stepping-stone to deep tournament runs. Notre Dame’s NCAA-record conference unbeaten streak includes the past two conference titles.

The Irish narrowly missed a five-year streak as conference champions, but lost to West Virginia in a shootout in 2007 Big East championship game. Overall, Notre Dame has won 11 out of 15 conference tournaments since joining the Big East.

The Big East tournament will likely impact Notre Dame’s seeding in the NCAA tournament, as the Irish would like to earn a No. 1 seed in the tournament. Notre Dame currently ranks fifth in the latest RPI standings.

Notre Dame will likely earn a high seed and host early games in the NCAA tournament. If the Irish earn a top seed, however, they’ll host each game that they play in leading up to the Final Four in Cary, N.C.