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ND Women’s Soccer: Mean streak

Allan Joseph | Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Record-setting streaks are part of the sports landscape. For the last five years, the Irish have been compiling one of the most impressive streaks in college sports, and each time they add to it, they quietly extend an NCAA Division I record.

After two dominating wins this past weekend, the Irish have now played in 71 conference games without losing, with only three ties in that span.

The streak dates back to Oct. 2, 2005, when the Irish rebounded from a loss at Marquette with a 4-0 win at South Florida in what was Notre Dame’s 100th Big East game. At the time, Notre Dame’s current seniors were juniors in high school and beginning the process of choosing a school. In addition, that 2005 squad was the last to not advance to the College Cup, falling a game short in a NCAA quarterfinal loss at then-No. 1 Portland. In the last five years, the Irish have won 68 times and tied with their opponent three times, with the most recent coming at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4, 2009. The average margin of victory during the streak has been 2.92 goals per match, indicating that the Irish have not just won games, but have often dominated them.

Though the Irish are looking to continue the streak over the six remaining regular-season conference games and four conference tournament games, the team is not using the record as a motivational factor.

“To be totally honest, I didn’t know we were at 71,” junior forward Melissa Henderson said. “I don’t really think we’re thinking about that right now. We’re really just trying to focus on game after game, and our ultimate goal, a national championship.”

Irish coach Randy Waldrum has used the streak to continue to lure recruits to South Bend, but once he brings players here, he tries not to mention it ever again.

“Those kind of things are things that you sell. Those conference wins are all things that you want the outside players that you want to bring in, that you want to talk about it,” he said. “Within the team, we really don’t use that as our focus, we just try to use that next game, and so far so good. We have not once ever talked about it.”

The Irish acknowledge that the streak will not last forever but are only concerned over its ending insofar as it involves their quest for yet another Big East championship.

“The record’s going to be broken at some point in time,” Waldrum said. “I think it’s more important that they just realize that we just need to keep getting wins to win the conference championship.”

Notre Dame will look to extend its streak this weekend with a pair of home dates against Seton Hall and Rutgers.