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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

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The Observer

Football Commentary: Bowl bid has pros and cons

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Depending on who you listen to, the coaching search is all but over. One story has you believing Bob Stoops is buying houses in Elkhart, while another makes you think Brian Kelly is in the Gug right now measuring his office for furniture.




The Observer

Men's Swimming: Welsh leads swimmers for 25 years

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After embarking on his 25th season at Notre Dame and being named the president of the American Swimming Coaches Association, men's swimming and diving coach Timothy Welsh has established this season as one to remember.






The Observer

ND Women's Soccer: And Again

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In front of a sold-out crowd, Notre Dame won its fourth-consecutive NCAA Quarterfinal Friday by beating top-seeded Florida State 2-0 in Tallahassee.


The Observer

Irish fall to Stanford 45-38

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PALO ALTO, Calif. – The game followed the template for nearly every game of 2009 : outstanding performances by Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, inconsistent defensive effort, and a last-second finish. And like the 2009 season as a whole, the final game was a disappointment for the Irish, losing to the Cardinal 45-38 at Stanford Stadium.




The Observer

ND Women's Soccer: Rivalry Renewed

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For the sixth straight season, No. 5 Notre Dame is making an appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, and for the second straight year, Florida State stands between the Irish and a trip to the College Cup Final Four.





The Observer

ND Women's Basketball: Defense shines as Notre Dame dismantles Iona 80-45

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Irish coach Muffet McGraw has preached defense to her team all season. On Sunday, it showed. No. 5/6 Notre Dame (3-0) had 21 steals and forced 33 total turnovers Sunday as it cruised to an 80-45 win over Iona (2-2). "I was pretty pleased with a lot of what we did defensively," McGraw said. "I thought we did what we wanted to do." Senior forward Becca Bruszewski set the pace early as the Irish got off to an 11-2 lead to start the game. She finished with 14 points and three rebounds. "I thought Becca got us off to a great start in the beginning of the game," McGraw said. "She came out ready. ... I thought Becca was the key defender in that game." Bruszewski's point total was second on the team behind that of freshman guard Skylar Diggins, who scored 17 points off the bench. She also grabbed four rebounds. The Irish never relinquished their early lead and did not let the Gaels within six for the rest of the game while continuing to widen their lead. However, this was due more to Notre Dame's defensive pressure on Iona than on actual offensive success. The Irish made just 42.4 percent of their shots, but held the Gaels to 35.7 percent shooting. "I thought we were a little complacent," McGraw said. "We weren't as sharp as we needed to be. I thought we were a little lackadaisical." Senior guard Ashley Barlow and sophomore guard Natalie Novosel each had five steals on the afternoon as the Irish placed continued pressure on the Gaels. Notre Dame scored 34 points off of turnovers, in comparison to Iona's 10. For the Gaels, guard Thazina Cook led with 12 points while forward Anna McClean followed with 10. McGraw said she was especially pleased with Notre Dame's containment of McClean, who averaged a double-double in her first three games. "[McClean] is a great player," McGraw said. After a physically punishing 68-67 win Thursday against Michigan State, the Irish were not quite at full strength, McGraw said. "We have not recovered yet," she said. "We practiced OK on Friday and we practiced OK on Saturday but not quite to the level that we'd been working. I didn't feel like there was great intensity and I think that showed tonight." The Irish will have some time to rest before they take action again. They will travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam beginning Thursday.  


The Observer

Men's Soccer: Northwestern foils playoff hopes again

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Despite a dominating statistical second half and a myriad of scoring opportunities, Notre Dame lost to Northwestern 3-1 Sunday in a repeat of last year's NCAA tournament loss to the Wildcats. The loss marks the end of the Irish's season and the beginning of preparations for next year. "It was just [The Wildcats'] day," Irish coach Bobby Clark said. "They certainly made the most of their chances." Notre Dame (11-8-4) fell behind Northwestern (11-4-4) early and was never able to dig itself out of that hole. The Irish outshot the Wildcats 21-8 and held a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks. In the 18th minute, a corner was sent into the box that got caught up in the mass of players in the box. Wildcat midfielder Jack Hillgard emerged with the ball and sent it into the back of the net past senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn. The score remained 1-0 throughout the first half. "It was 1-0 at the end of the half, and I felt good," Clark said. "We were playing well at that point and we started the second half off well too." And that second half was a dominant performance by the Irish as they outshot their opponents 17 to five and took 10 corner kicks to the Wildcats' zero. "It was one of those games where we lost and we won," Clark said. "It was as well as we have played all year. In the second half, their goalkeeper had to make 10 saves. I am very proud of the way the players played." This dominant statistical performance was a result of the Irish keeping the ball in the Northwestern half of the field for most of the second half. The trouble was that when the Wildcats broke out of their defensive half, they made the most of their chances. Eight minutes into the second half, the Wildcats began to add cushion to their lead. They countered an Irish attack and got the ball into a good position to cross. The goal again came off the boot of Hillgard, with sophomore midfielder Peter O'Neill and junior forward Matt Eliason assisting. That goal put Northwestern up 2-0. The Irish still kept up the pressure, but a second counterattack led to another Northwestern goal in the 67th minute. The ball was again fed across in front of the goal, catching Quinn out of position, and Wildcat junior midfielder Piero Bellizzi was able to tap the ball into the open net, putting Northwestern up 3-0. Although the game was no longer in doubt, the Irish were able to finally break through in the 83rd minute when a loose ball sent into the front of the goal was finished by senior defenseman John Schaefer to crystallize the final tally at 3-1. The Irish were disappointed at losing for the second year in a row, but Clark is said he is proud of the way his team played and believes they got a good shot at winning. "You get your shot at it, and you have to take it," Clark said. "In the end, the thing that really counts is the final score." Northwestern has become somewhat of a postseason nemesis for the Irish, as they have lost in the NCAA tournament to them for two consecutive years. "We always beat them in the preseason friendlies, but that doesn't count," Clark said. "It was one of those games we have lost all year where we thought we could win but weren't able to do it." According to Clark, the Irish are eager to get another crack at Northwestern next year, as they have tentatively scheduled a regular season matchup against them. Clark said he believes that the team had a successful season and the players played up to their potential. "I really like this team," Clark said. "They are a good group. You never really reach your goal unless you win it all, but we played to our potential. My way of evaluating the year is, if you make it to the playoffs it is a good year, if you make it to the final four it is a really good year, and if you make it to the championship it is a great year. We had a pretty good season." Despite the fact that the team will lose many of its 11 seniors, including Big East Player of the Year Bright Dike, Clark believes the team will be ready to compete again next year. "The great thing about coaching college sports is that you graduate players and have to find replacements," Clark said. "We have a strong nucleus of returning players, but it is no use making decisions right now." Clark believes that the Notre Dame players did not disappoint anybody and that they should be proud of the way they played. "They certainly did not let me down, and they did not let themselves down," Clark said. "There is always disappointment when you lose, but I am very proud of the way these players played." Clark also wanted to thank the fans for what he said was the best year of fan support in his tenure at Notre Dame. "It was the best student support I have ever seen all year," Clark said. "It was a really fun year."  


The Observer

Women's Interhall Football: Champs crowned

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Howard completed its run from worst to first with a 13-7 victory over Pasquerilla West in Notre Dame Stadium Sunday. With almost the entire population of Howard Hall (9-0) lining the sidelines, the Ducks opened the game quickly. Junior quarterback Kayla Bishop led the team down the field on the game's first drive, hitting junior wide receiver Kaitlin Robinson on a series of key conversions. Facing a third down near the goal line, Bishop was flushed out of the pocket to her left and heaved the ball across her body into traffic. Freshman wide receiver Laura Coletti jumped above the crowd and pulled in Bishop's pass for an early 7-0 lead. "I come from a basketball background, which is all about having good hands," Coletti said. "That's what I needed on that play. I just wanted to contribute in whatever situation [coach Kyle Carter] put me in. On that play I just did what I was told." The Howard defense built upon the team's momentum as it stuffed Pasquerilla West (8-1) junior quarterback Simone Bigi on an attempted fourth down run, giving the ball back to Bishop and the Ducks' offense. Bishop wasted no time adding to her team's early lead, hitting sophomore wide receiver Jenny Gassner on a deep corner route to put Howard in front 13-0 after a missed conversion. "Getting the big lead early changed everything," Bishop said. "It was important because we didn't score in the second half so it became more about maintaining our lead with our defense." As the first half winded down, the Purple Weasels showed some fight, executing a two-minute drill that went the length of the field as Bigi hit junior wide receiver Mary Forr for a touchdown with 12 seconds left in the half to make the score 13-7. The second half was a defensive effort, as Pasquerilla West tirelessly attempted to get the second touchdown it desperately needed against the stout Howard defense. Bigi and her receiving corps had a hard time getting past the Howard secondary, led by two-way stars Bishop and Robinson. The Purple Weasels' offensive line also gave up a number of sacks in addition to committing a false start penalty on a key drive. When four last Hail Mary passes dropped to the ground, the Ducks completed the biggest victory in hall history and the "team of destiny" celebrated at midfield of Notre Dame Stadium. "It's inexplicable, how amazing this is," Carter said. "I woke up four years ago one day, and Howard needed a football coach for a game. They were literally the worst team in the league. Since then it's been about getting a new set of freshmen, and teaching them how we play offense and how we play defense. We're building a program and this year we finally had all the pieces in place. It's amazing." After hoisting the trophy, Howard's leader, a junior, offered her plans for next year. "Win again, of course," Bishop said. "We're going to try and come out and have another unbeaten season."