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Schatz: Work like a dog: the world of dog sports

Dogs have been man’s best friend for centuries. We dress them up in jerseys on game days and make them our mascots, dogs fetch bats during baseball games, pick up tees on football fields and are sometimes even our halftime show entertainers. Despite all of this, man has not given dog athletes the support that they need. 

Thus, I will be presenting a guide to dog sports. And while you probably are thinking there can’t be that many, I am here to tell you that you are completely wrong. There are dozens of different sports, one for every type of dog. And while I would love to go into all of them, I have instead discussed my five favorites to watch.

5. Dock Jumping

Although dock jumping is not my cup of tea, there is no denying the impressive athleticism needed to score well in this sport. In this sport, a dog and their owner stand on a dock, the dog is then prompted to sprint and jump as high and as far into the water as possible. The current record is held by a seven year old whippet at 36 and a half feet. While any breed of dog is welcome to join in on the fun, the records are typically held by whippets and border collies. 

While this sport is incredible to watch the first, and maybe second time, this sport gets repetitive fast. However, it is definitely still worth the watch. 

4. Barn Hunt 

Yes, this sport uses live rats. However, the rats are cared for very well and are protected from the dogs. 

Barn Hunt originated, just like many other dog sports, with a practical reason. Terriers and dachshunds originally were bred to catch rats and other pests. In Barn Hunt, rats are placed in protective ventilated tubes, and dogs are asked to sniff them out. These dogs work fast, and within a matter of minutes they have found every rat in the area. 

While this sport is entertaining and interesting to watch, the quiet atmosphere is not my favorite. When compared to sports that are dominated by large dog breeds, you hear just how excited they are. These terriers are definitely peak athletes at their sports, but quite literally don’t have a loud bark behind their bite. 

3. Herding

It comes to no surprise to anyone that herding is dominated by border collies. While there are other breeds who compete and do well, border collies saturate this competition and almost always take home the gold. 

Herding trials are scored based on their test level, course type and livestock type. The course types are divided by which aspects of herding they are focused on: versatility, control or movement of livestock in an enclosed or unfenced area. The animals can range from sheep to ducks. 

What I love about this sport is the wide variety from course to course. Animals are put under immense pressure and must listen to the slight changes in their handlers’ whistles to know what to do. 

2. Flyball

This sport is most definitely filled with the most athletic dogs —whippets and border collies dominate this sport

There are four hurdles in a line, with a flyball machine at the end. The dogs, one at a time, will race and jump over the hurdles, before triggering the flyball, catching it in their mouth, and racing back over the four hurdles. At this point, the next dog will run and do the same exact thing. 

In basic terms, it is a relay race. However, these dogs are incredible, and many times the final results come down to the wire. You might be thinking, why would I want to watch dogs run back and forth for a few minutes? I promise you, after one or two watches you will be entranced. There are times I would sit and watch flyball for hours, every race is different from the next. 

1. Agility 

This is by far the most entertaining of any dog sport. By the guidance of their owners, dogs are prompted to follow a set of obstacles in a race. This includes jumping over hurdles, running through a tunnel, balancing on a see-saw and, of course, weaving and bobbing. Each division competes the same course, yet depending on the size of the dog, the race appears completely different. 

Like so many other dog sports, border collies have found great success in the agility contest. Among the most famous is P!nk the border collie. Dogs and handlers train for months to be able to have flawless runs. 

Agility is amazing because you see how different each breed of dog performs. Larger dogs are not as precise and they seem to not have full control of their limbs while smaller dogs seem too small for their own good. Whatever the size or breed, agility is entertaining for all. 

So, next time you are flipping through the channels looking for a game to watch, don’t forget about your furry friends.

Contact Olivia Schatz at oschatz@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Sports

Saints unable to continue win streak against Roosevelt University

Holy Cross men’s soccer took the field Tuesday night to face off against Roosevelt University. Going into the match, Roosevelt had a 5-5 record  (4-2 on the road) and had a two-game losing streak. Comparatively, the Saints had a 7-4-1 record, as well as a five-game conference win streak. However, the Saints were unable to continue their streak, as they ultimately tied the Lakers 0-0. 

An early set of fouls on both teams set the mood for the remainder of the match. Within 15 minutes, there had already been six fouls on the pitch. By the end of the 90 minutes, there were three yellow cards thrown, and a total of 31 fouls. 

The first shot of the match would come in the 3rd minute, however the Laker’s Raul Mariscal would miss wide. Nine minutes later, Saints’ senior midfielder Axel Valenzuela would have his turn to score, but Roosevelt’s keeper would save it to keep the game at 0-0. 

The ball would then see multiple transitions to each end of the field. Roosevelt first got off a shot, this time saved by sophomore keeper Claudio Fuentealba. Holy Cross sophomore forward Kevin Vidana followed with an attempt of his own, but the attempt went wide. 

There would be two more shots, one for each team, before Valenzuela earned a yellow card for sliding into the keeper. 

By the end of the first half, the Saints and Lakers sat at 0-0. However, the low scoring did not reflect the action on the field. Holy Cross fired four shots in the first period, and Roosevelt notched seven. 

Holy Cross was off to a slow start in the second period. Within the 49th minute, however, the Saints would seemingly score. However, the goal was negated due to offsides. This was paired with a yellow card against Roosevelt, the second card of the match. 

Seconds later, junior forward Gabe Nyenka earned an opportunity via a header, but it was off target. After this attempt, there were no more shots until the 62nd minute. This time, it was senior midfielder Elmin Ejup, but he hit the crossbar. 

As the clock ticked, with no scoring, both teams grew more aggressive.Throughout the second period, Roosevelt marked six fouls, while Holy Cross had eight. 

A Roosevelt corner kick in the 71st minute would give the Lakers a much needed scoring opportunity. However, with a foul called on Roosevelt, they were unable to execute. 

In the 79th minute, Holy Cross saw two consecutive shots produce no results. The first by senior defender Erick Zelaya was saved, and the second by Ejup high. 

Both teams would fight to the end, and in the last minute of the game, a yellow card was pulled on the Lakers. 

Despite both teams giving their all, neither team would be able to find the back of the net, and the match would finish as it started. 

The Saints now look ahead to a game on the road against Trinity International University. The two teams have played 13 times since 2009 (playing twice in 2021). Holy Cross has the slight advantage of 6-4-3 in the matchup, winning the past four games of the series. 

The Trojans currently have a 6-5 overall record (4-3 conference), but are on a four-game losing streak. 

On Saturday, Oct. 15, head coach Omar Gallo looks to make this his 100th win with the program. However, it will not be an easy game for the Saints, and they must bring their all if they want another win. 

Holy Cross faces off against Trinity International University on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time in Deerfield, Illinois.

Contact Olivia Schatz at oschatz@nd.edu

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Sports

Belles drop 3-1 to Bulldogs

Despite the Belles soccer team fighting hard and maintaining a 1-1 tie for a long strip of the game, Saint Mary’s ultimately fell 3-1 against Adrian. 

The match started off with two shots from the Bulldogs. The first missed wide left, and the second was saved by sophomore goalkeeper Riley Lindsey. This was quickly followed by senior forward Jillian Bowen moving the ball upfield. After she dodged her defender, she sent the ball to a fellow forward, junior Kaitlyn Day. However, Day’s shot would ultimately miss right. Less than a minute later, Day had another shot on goal that would also go far right. 

However, Adrian found the back of the net just a few moments later. This momentum would lead to the Bulldogs taking six more consecutive shots. Lindsey saved four while two missed the net.

Sophomore forward Mary Kaczynski was eventually able to win the ball. Kaczynski was then able to pass the ball to sophomore midfielder Grace Barresi. Barresi was able to find the back of the net, notching her first collegiate goal and bringing the score to 1-1. Kaczynski’s assist was her first point of the season as well. 

It wasn’t until the 44th minute that Adrian was able to retaliate on a goal by Annamarie Fosmoen. After each team attempted to score, the Bulldogs were the ones who eventually won out. The teams went into the half with a 2-1 Adrian lead. 

The Bulldogs started the second half with momentum from the break, having two shots within three minutes. Though they fought hard, Saint Mary’s defense could only hold off the Bulldogs for so long. In the 78th minute, the Bulldogs were able to widen their 3-1 lead on a goal by Kelsey Zoli.

Despite the lead, the Belles did not give up. And, in the 89th minute, Kaczynski would have another attempt, but it did not go.  This would be the Belles’ only shot in the half. However, Lindsey would have six saves on the half, and 12 total in the match.

Although the Belles ultimately lost, there were some good things throughout the match that they hoped to bring on the road next week against Albion. Even though the Bulldogs outshot the Belles 22-4, Lindsey and the Belles’ defense were able to hold Adrian to only three goals.

Saint Mary’s currently holds a 0-8-3 record on the season (0-3 in conference play). Over the course of 11 matches, the Belles have scored six goals. This past game saw the first Saint Mary’s goal since they tied Lake Forest 2-2 on Sept. 17. 

The Belles have five more games on the season as they continue their attempt to register a win. Albion has a record of 5-2-3 (2-1 in conference) and looks to pick up another victory against the Belles.

Saint Mary’s Belles face off against the Albion Britons on the road Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

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Sports

Belles soccer battles but falls to No. 9 Calvin Knights

The Saint Mary’s Belles’ soccer team fought hard, but ultimately fell 4-0 against the No. 9 ranked Calvin Knights on Tuesday.  

Within the first two minutes of the game, Calvin had a shot on goal, however it would miss left. A little over two minutes later, the Knights would have another shot on goal and this time, Belles’ sophomore goalkeeper Kara Stacey would save it. 

However, the Belles’ would not be able to hold back the Knights for much longer, and within the sixth minute of the game Calvin player Lindsey Houtsma would find the back of the net, setting the Belles back 1-0. 

Saint Mary’s would not allow for a complete Knight takeover, and for a stretch of time the Belles were able to maintain possession. However, they were unable to capitalize on an opportunity. In the eighteenth minute, Mia Judd capitalized on a corner kick by  Tatum Goodling to bring the Calvin lead 2-0.

The Belles would have the ball in scoring range multiple times throughout the match, however they were unable to ever find the back of the net. 

While their offensive side was weak, the Belles were able to keep up on the defensive end of the field. Within the thirty-third minute of the half, the Knights had another breakaway opportunity. However, freshman defender Lauren Ryan was able to stop it before the Knights had another scoring play. 

Possession would then return to the Belles, which would give senior forward Jillian Bowen a corner kick. While she was able to get it into the middle of the box, the Belles would prove unsuccessful again. 

While Saint Mary’s would have multiple scoring opportunities and hold possession for a decent portion of the remaining ten minutes, the halftime score sat at 2-0 Knights. 

The Belles’ defense came out hot in the second half. But again, they were only able to hold off the Knights for so long. By minute 58, Calvin had scored, increasing their lead 3-0. The Knights would have another scoring opportunity a few minutes later — this time, Stacey stopped the ball. Again, three minutes later, Stacey made another save to keep the score 3-0. 

The fourth and final goal for the Knights would come in minute 74. While the Belles then had a scoring chance, again they were unable to finish it. The Knights would end the game with a 4-0 advantage. 

After their loss to Trine, head coach Farkhod Kurbonov said, “The score is gonna get out of control.” But the Belles were able to keep the nationally-ranked team to only four goals. 

This is even more impressive when one accounts for the fact that the Knights had 27 shots to the Belles’ three. Stacey was also able to match her career high of 11 saves for the Belles, keeping them from a blowout loss. 

The Belles will return home to play Adrian on Saturday, Oct. 8. Saint Mary’s has played Adrian College practically every year since 1998 (excluding 2009 and 2020). At the moment, the Bulldogs have the advantage with 19 wins to Saint Mary’s 16. However, at home the Belles have won 9-8. The Bulldogs currently have a 5-4-2 schedule on the season. But the Belles will look to put a win to their record.

Kickoff begins at 2 p.m. EST. 

Contact Olivia Schatz at oschatz@nd.edu

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Sports

Schatz: The year of the Jaguar

For 18 weeks, the NFL has control over American living rooms. Out of 32 teams in the league, only one gets the coveted Lombardi Trophy each year. People bet millions of dollars on the outcome of a three-and-a-half-hour game. Throughout the span of 56 Super Bowls, 12 teams have yet to take home the crown. And out of those 12 teams, four have yet to make it to the game: the Browns, the Texans, the Lions and of course, the Jaguars.

This year, I am here to inform you all that it will be the year of the Jaguar, and I have three statistically proven reasons you should all agree with me.

Who doesn’t love an underdog story?

Seriously, if you don’t absolutely love an underdog story, I don’t know who you are. Do we seriously want the Patriots to win again? I love New England more than the next person. But their football team is simply not it.  There are only four teams that have never made it to the Super Bowl, and you already know the Jaguars are one of them. Ok, I know it’s tough to root for Trevor Lawrence. But can you seriously look me in the eye and tell me you would want Tom Brady to win over him?

Listen, I might not know much about football. But I know you’re wrong about that one. “Oh but Olivia, he’s the best of all time.” I do not care. Simply could not care less. He’s not the narrative we are looking for in this upcoming Super Bowl. You could maybe get me on board if he didn’t quit and then come back, and then quit and then come back. That’s a lame storyline and all of his fans know it. 

They are right on the cusp 

To be fair, I learned less than five minutes ago that not all teams make it to the playoffs. But after some more (very simple) research, I have determined that the Jaguars are right on the cusp of making it. And as my friend and assistant managing editor Mannion McGinley, who pays attention to football way more than me, puts it: “Especially for Jaguar standards, they have a chance.”

If you are sitting here reading this thinking, “There is absolutely no way they are making it,” I want you to look in your past as a Notre Dame fan and think about how many times you have wished for a long shot. Done thinking? Great, let’s get back to dreaming.

We are going into week four of NFL play, which gives the Jaguars plenty of time to beat their current odds. Yes, their first game of the season. But they won the last two! Can Notre Dame fans tell me we really cannot support this? And the Jaguars’ last two wins have been blowouts, beating the Colts 24-0 and the Chargers 38-10.

The Jaguars face the Eagles next, and while the odds are not in their favor, I believe the Jaguars still have a chance. Especially coming off of their last two wins. If the Jaguars can continue in this direction, I believe they can make the playoffs. And once they make the playoffs, I believe they can take it all the way. 

They have a sick mascot

How are you rooting for teams like the Patriots, the Texans and the Chargers when a team like the Jaguars exist? The alliteration in the name alone should be the reason you should want the Jaguars to go all the way this year and years following, as well.

For football fans, this might be a dumb reason to want them to win. But if they didn’t want us to rally behind the mascot, why provide it in the first place? When you think of Jacksonville, there is not too much that comes to mind. When you think of a Jaguar, you immediately think of a viscous but beautiful predator. Whoever thought to put the two together is simply genius.

Stats aside (which I have conveniently left out of this argument), the Jaguars are simply the best pick. They have the storyline and the mascot and are already doing better than they normally do. 

There are plenty of weeks left to switch teams. So, will you stay with that same old team you do every year? Or are you going to make the right choice and take a chance on the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Contact Olivia Schatz oschatz@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Sports

Belles battle, lose 2-0 to Thunder

Entering the game with a 0-5-3 record, the Saint Mary’s soccer team had a daunting task ahead of them. Trine University had made it to the NCAA tournament last year, and before their matchup with the Belles, had a 4-3-1 record. While the Belles were unable to come out on top, they battled with the Thunder and held them to only 2 goals throughout the match. 

At the start, Trine came out hot, and within the first three minutes of play, the Thunder had a shot on goal. Saint Mary’s was quick to respond and got their first shot less than a minute later, but it was saved by Trine goalkeeper Sophie Aschemeier. The Belles were able to hold off the Thunder offense for 14 minutes. But ultimately, with just over 31 minutes left in the half, Trine was able to find the back of the net. For the rest of the half, both teams would take turns on shots. But, after 45 minutes of play, the score remained 1-0 Trine. 

The second half started similarly to the first. At the start, the Belles held Trine to only two early shots. But, with 28 minutes in the second half, the Thunder scored again, bringing their lead up to 2-0. Only a few minutes later, the Belles had the ball within scoring range. A foul put the ball back in Thunder position. Although this did not lead to anything, it showed the Belles were competing.

“We were competing with them,” said head coach Farkhod Kurbonov, “Second half we had five freshmen, at some point six freshmen, and they are playing against a team that went to nationals last year and beat nationally ranked teams. We’re giving them a lot of problems.” 

Even with the 2-0 deficit, the Belles did not go down without a fight. Sophomore forward Mary Kaczynski broke away with the ball, but her shot went high. The ball was back in Thunder possession. Possession would go back and forth for the next few minutes, after a goal kick by sophomore goalkeeper Kara Stacey. Again, the Belles were in scoring position but lost the opportunity. 

“Kara did a fantastic job,” Kurbonov said about his keeper, “What [the goalies] do in practice is unreal. I’m just very happy with them.”

 With 19 minutes left in the half, Trine had another attempt on goal. This time, senior defender Sophia Fleming stopped the break away. 

It wasn’t until 10 minutes left in the half that the Belles would get another break away. Senior forward Jillian Bowen would weave through the Thunder defense, but ultimately, her shot was saved by their goalie. After this shot, a sense of urgency would pass over the Belles offense. Despite having possession for a good portion of the last 10 minutes, the Belles were unable to do anything with it. 

The Belles’ schedule does not get easier. Their next matchup is against No. 13 Calvin, who currently have an 9-0-0 record. Kurbonov is satisfied with the work his squad is doing and the direction they are headed.

“We’re adjusting, and we are a very young team. If the girls on the team are not freshmen, they are sophomores.” Kurbonov said, “I think we’re going in the right direction, not the result for today, but overall I am satisfied with the amount of work the girls put on the field.” 

If the Belles’ hope to be successful for the rest of their season, they must look to score. In nine games, Saint Mary’s has only found the back of the net five times, while they have given up a total of 15 goals.  

The Belles are on the road next to face off against the Calvin on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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Saint Mary’s volleyball drops three sets against No. 5 Calvin

Despite dropping three sets on Saturday against No. 5 Calvin, the Saint Mary’s volleyball team was closing to breaking their seven-game losing streak. 

The match opened up with the Belles and Knights equally fighting for control. Throughout the course of the set, no team had a lead greater than two points. While the Knights won the opening point, the Belles fired back right away. This back and forth continued throughout the entire game.

With the Belles down 20-18, junior outside hitter Colleen McCarthy scored to start the slight comeback. McCarthy currently leads the team with 177 kills on the season, and 413 total in her two years. Later, McCarthy delivered an ace before sophomore outside hitter Cali Allen tied the set with a kill. This would be the last time the Belles had a tie in the set, as the Knights were able to eventually win, 25-23. 

The next set started out with the Belles taking a quick lead. With McCarthy leading the effort, the Belles were able to pull ahead 5-1. However, this would not last long, and the Knights went on a 10-2 run to pull their lead to 11-7. Unlike the first set, the Knights held onto a significant lead for the remainder of the set. The Knights eventually took a commanding 21-12 lead.

Even with this gap, the Belles did not stop fighting. With a series of blocks from sophomore middle hitter Shay Theile, freshman right side Mia Shields and McCarthy, as well as an ace from senior left back Emma Watford, and kills from both Shields and Allen, the Belles closed the gap to 22-17. This would however be the last time the Belles would score, and the Knights pushed their way to a 25-17 win. 

The third set was not as close for the Belles. The conference foes split the opening points. This would be the last time the teams were tied. Calvin edged ahead 7-5, as Saint Mary’s stayed close in the early going. However, the Knights ripped off a 9-0 run. That put Calvin firmly in control, and the Knights extended that advantage to 24-9. The Belles put up stiff resistance late, and Shields put up two points in a row (a kill and an ace.) Allen also scored a point to bring the score to 24-13. However, the Knights scored one last time finalizing their win. 

Opening up MIAA play, Saint Mary’s had a tough challenge. Calvin currently has a 9-3 record compared to the Belles’ 3-9 one. While they ultimately dropped all three sets, the Belles fought hard throughout the match. McCarthy led the team with kills on the night (11) followed by Allen and Shields with six apiece. McCarthy also earned eight digs on the night, only second to Watford’s 10.

The Belles look to break their losing streak with another home game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT. Saint Mary’s will face Manchester, another team with a winning record (9-6). 

Contact Olivia at oschatz@nd.edu

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Viewpoint

Spooky Season for Cinephiles

Today is the first day of fall and spooky season is upon us! What better way to get into the mood than to put on a good halloween movie. From Hocus Pocus to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, halloween classics range a variety of genres. And while these classics are mentioned on every list, I thought I would create my own. This time, of the more forgotten Spooky Season films. 

Practical Magic 

This movie is the most slept on Halloween movie out there. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as witch sisters? What could get better than that? Don’t be turned off from the 23% on rotten tomatoes, critics don’t know anything; the audience score for this movie is 73%! I watched this movie for the first time years ago, and I can not listen to crickets the same way again. The movie follows two estranged sisters as they navigate the world of romance with magical powers. 

While there are definitely some dark themes (i.e. abusive boyfriends and necromancy), the overall movie is not scary, although I would not recommend it for a super young audience. 

Spookiness Scale 6/10

Fall Vibes 9/10

Over the Garden Wall 

I know, this is not technically a movie. But, this limited series is the perfect thing to watch to get into the Halloween spirit. This animated show follows two brothers as they go on a journey through a mysterious forest. The brothers (voiced by Elijah Wood and Collin Dean) find a plethora of funky creatures along the way. While it is not as spooky as some of the other films on this list, this series is the definition of Autumn Vibes. If you are the type of person who likes more lighthearted films, but still want a hint of spookiness, I would most definitely recommend this. 

Spookiness Scale 2/10 

Fall Vibes 10/10 

The Invisible Man (2020) 

If I’m being honest, I am not the biggest fan of Elisabeth Moss. However, she killed it in this role. The Invisible Man is based off of the H.G. Wells novel of the same name, however, there is a more modern twist to it. If you enjoy thrillers, this would be my top pick for you. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of this movie. While The Invisible Man does not have as many fall vibes as the other ones on this list, the spookiness scale definitely is highly. This movie is not for the faint of heart, there is domestic abuse and violence sprinkled throughout, but overall this movie is definitely worth the watch. 

Spookiness Scale 8/10 

Fall Vibes 1/10

Murder Party 

I have never heard anyone else talk about this film. Originally, I put it on as a background to doing work, but quickly I could not stop watching. The premise is just genius. A man with no friends picks up an invitation to a “murder party” on the side of the road. Believing it to just be a quirky halloween invite, the man attends, only to find out that the party is in fact to murder their guest list. I know, it sounds grim. However, Jeremy Saulnier somehow finds the perfect combination of seriousness and comedy to make this film work. 

Spookiness Scale 11/10 

Fall Vibes 8/10 

Spirited Away 


The entire Studio Ghibli collection deserves a spot on this list. Spirited Away was my favorite film growing up. It follows a young girl, Chihiro Ogino, as she travels through the spirit world to save her parents. For a grown adult, this movie is not scary. But, as a young girl I had to cover my eyes for a good portion of this film. With ghosts, witches and dragons, this movie is two hours of fantasticism.

It is animated, but don’t let that turn you away! Studio Ghibli puts out some of the best movies of all time, and Spirited Away deserves a spot on that list. 

Spookiness Scale 8/10 

Fall Vibes 7/10

Hereditary 

There are hundreds of true horror movies I could have included on my list. The Conjuring and Insidious are go-tos, The Shining is just a classic or maybe I should have chosen the Cabin in The Woods, which I think has one of the best premises of all horror movies. But no, I decided on Hereditary. Yes, Hereditary is a well known horror movie, but I love this film so much that I can’t help but hype it up even more. While in the theaters, I saw this movie 6 times. Since then, I have watched it ten more times. And each time, I notice a new detail Ari Aster included. 

There are so many iconic scenes in this film, and the last 15 minutes will have you screaming the entire time. I don’t even think I can tell you too much about the premise without spoiling the mastery of this movie, but it follows a family after the death of their grandmother. There are classic jump scares, a ton of gore and ghosts and witches to top it off.  

Spookiness scale 9/10

Fall Vibes 2/10

So, as the season begins to shift, bundle up with a pumpkin spice candle and a bag of popcorn and turn on whatever flick best fits your vibe!

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Sports

Rockwell, Monson lead Irish into ACC play

Notre Dame volleyball’s head coach Salima Rockwell came onto campus with a rocky start. The Irish opened up the season 0-2 against Texas Tech and Mississippi State before winning in the fifth set against Milwaukee. The Irish then traveled to the Long Beach State Tournament where they also went 0-2 on the weekend. This would be the start of a nine-game road streak. 

Since the Long Beach State Tournament, however, the Irish have shifted their luck. The Irish went 1-4 for the first five games of the season, and 4-1 in the latter five. 

“I think at first it was a lot of experiments, we were just trying to figure out a good lineup,” Rockwell said. “What was going to work for us? What combination of players can execute best on the court? But, you know, the big thing we talked about in our gym is minimizing errors, and then just trying to maximize what we do well. And I think that’s probably our biggest area of growth is getting better at little things, eliminating some of those errors that maybe we were doing early on. We’re not seeing quite as much right now.”

The Irish have gotten cleaner in their game. In the first two games of the season, the Irish had 67 kills to their opponent’s 102. In the most recent two games, the margin is 89-77 in favor of the Irish.

“Not to be cheesy but whether you win or not, you want to just play better and better with every match every weekend. And that’s what we did,” Rockwell said. “It was fun to see our upside get a little higher, and we know where we could be if we sustain a level of execution and play. So we’re definitely gonna use that momentum going into this weekend to kind of continue to build on what we’ve already got.”

A major component in the shift of the team’s dynamic was the Irish finally meshing and becoming comfortable with one another. In addition to a brand new coaching staff, the Irish welcomed six freshmen onto the team, including outside hitter Avery Ross, as well as three graduate student transfers. With the influx of new members, there is always a transition time needed. However, with the new players, there were returning ones willing to put in the work to guarantee a successful season. 

“It definitely had its ups and downs for sure, playing with all new people around you is definitely something you need to get used to and it definitely puts you back into your freshman state,” junior libero Hattie Monson said. “As the weeks have gone on, especially the grad players and the core seven of us who have stayed, we’ve done a really good job of helping the freshman stay comfortable. As the weeks go on, it’s great to see their progress as they are trusting us more and more and just everyone trusting each other.” 

The Irish squad will need to be trusting in one another as they look toward their packed schedule ahead of them. Notre Dame starts off their ACC run on Friday against Florida State. Though the Seminoles aren’t ranked, they have an 8-3-0 record. 

Additionally, the ACC is not an easy conference for volleyball as three teams are ranked in the NCAA top 15: Louisville (2), Pittsburgh (10) and Georgia Tech (13).

While the Irish are surely getting more comfortable with each other, they still need to perform well for anything to count. In the ACC, the Irish are ranked last in kills per set, and 13th in opponent’s kills per set. 

While the team stats are not as good as they would have hoped, there are multiple Irish players ranked with impressive stats. Junior middle blocker Lauren Tarnoff is currently ranked fourth in the ACC for hitting percentage, followed by graduate student middle blocker Kaylyn Winkler at 8th with .364. 

On the defensive side, Monson is ranked second in the ACC with 4.43 digs per set.

“Hattie Monson. I wouldn’t trade her for any libero in the country,” Rockwell said. “She’s a bright spot. In the gym, she’s a joy to be around. And she’s tough as nails. And that’s that combination. You don’t get that every day and it’s so fun to be able to push her; she wants to be pushed. She wants to be better. And she challenges herself every day.” 

With Florida State on the horizon and the daunting task of playing No. 13 Georgia Tech in the near future, Rockwell and the Irish squad will be working hard to prepare for conference play. 

“One game at a time and one foot in front of the other,” Rockwell said. 

The Irish open up conference play on the road in Tallahassee, Fla. Notre Dame will play Florida State on Sept. 23 starting at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

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Sports

Belles unable to obtain first win of season

The Saint Mary’s soccer team played two home matches over the weekend. Although they opened the weekend with a 3-0 loss to Franklin, the Belles were able to salvage the weekend with a 2-2 tie to Lake Forest. The Belles, 0-4-3, are approaching the mid-way point of the season looking for their first win of the year.

Despite the score against the Grizzlies, the Belles were able to hold the ball for a good portion of the first half. The first shot was only seven minutes into the game, by sophomore midfielder Izzi Linus.

There would be two shots on goal for the Belles, by sophomore midfielder Grace Barresi and sophomore forward Mary Kaczynski, before Franklin would have a chance. In the first half alone, there would be ten Saint Mary’s shots to Franklin’s one. And, by the end of the first half, the score was still tied 0-0. 

Quickly into the second half, however, Grizzly Jaiden Baker found the back of the net, and kickstarted the momentum needed for a Franklin win. Again in the second half, the Belles outshot the Grizzlies eight to seven. But, the shots do not matter unless they can make their way past the goalie and into the net and the Belles failed to execute on this front. Franklin was able to add another goal to the score in the 65th minute. 

While the Belles fought to at least earn a point, the clock ticked down. With less than three minutes to go, Franklin scored again, securing their 3-0 victory over the Belles. 

Only two days later, on Sept. 15, the Belles were back at home facing Lake Forest. Unlike in their battle against the Grizzlies, the Belles did not hold the momentum in the first half against the Bears. Although Saint Mary’s ultimately had the first couple shots, Lake Forest would answer back almost immediately. For a majority of the first half, possession was switched frequently between the two teams. This was until Lake Forest’s Anna Hoffman scored off of an assist from Caitlin Mulcahy. Now with a 1-0 lead, the Bears did not allow another shot from the Belles for the remainder of the half. 

The second half opened up with a shot from the Bears, and a save from sophomore goalkeeper Kara Stacey. Stacey totalled four saves in the first half, and two in the second. For a majority of the second half, the Belles and the Bears went back and forth. It wasn’t until the 79th minute that another Lake Forest player Paityn Tabor scored. Unlike Thursday’s game, however, the Belles were not willing to let them keep their lead. 

Only two minutes later, freshman midfielder Felicity Matthews found the back of the net assisted by Barresi. The Belles were inspired by their last goal, and less than two minutes after their first, junior forward Kaitlyn Day tied the score. However, there ultimately was not enough time for the Belles to score again, and they were left with another tie on their record.

The Belles look to turn their luck as they finish off a series of home games on Wednesday against Anderson. The two teams will face off with the match starting at 7 p.m.

Contact Olivia at oschatz@nd.edu