When we caught you up on the week in ND athletics last week, Irish athletes were just kicking off the 2012 fall season with early wins in volleyball and men's and women's soccer. We'll have updates when Irish golf, rowing, and tennis pick up within the next few weeks, followed by hockey and swimming later in the season.
For now, the news revolves around volleyball and soccer.
Volleyball: The Irish swept Eastern Kentucky in 3 games to win the Shamrock Invitational over the weekend. They also defeated UAB and Buffalo in close games, each of which stretched the team in different ways. The Irish now sit at 4-2 on the season and are headed to USC for their next competition.
Soccer: On Friday night, the women's team beat Santa Clara 2-1 in an exciting match that saw some great play from the Irish. Sunday, the Irish fell 0-1 to the powerhouse North Carolina in the 84th minute. Both opponents were ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation, so the Irish keep good company, and freshman goalie Elyse Hight has shown her strength, holding the first 4 opponents to a total of just 2 goals. They are now 3-1-0 on the season.
The men's soccer team had a very good week. After winning their season-opener v. Duke, the men's team beat San Diego State 3-2 at the IU Classic in Bloomington, with two of the goals fed from Harry Shipp to Ryan Finley - the duo did the same for a goal on Duke. The Irish went on to beat Clemson 2-1 over the weekend, leaving them 3-0-0 on the season. This weekend, they face Oregon State and Akron in South Bend in the Berticelli Tournament.
Cross Country: The season opened for the Irish on August 31st in Valparaiso at the Crusader Invitational. There, the men's and women's teams both captured second place finishes. The men took 6 of the top 10 spots in their 6K race and the women, 2 of the top 3 in their 5K race. The Notre Dame student athlete to take third place among the women was Sydni Meunier, a true freshman running in her very first cross country race (she ran track in high school, unsurprisingly). Purdue took top honors here, and we hope that's their only athletic victory over the Irish in the near term. Well, in any term.
Irish cross country hits the ground running once more on September 14th with the National Catholic Championships at Notre Dame. Talk about a home field advantage.
Hockey: While it's not hockey season yet, Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Arena hosted the university's first ever Pro Hockey Camp from August 27th through the 30th. The camp welcomed 15 former Irish players now playing professionally, as well as a handful of other pros living in the area, to organized practice activities for the first time since last season. The beautiful CFIA is being put to good use.
For those interested in attending Notre Dame hockey's showdown with Miami University at Solider Field on February 17th, tickets for the Hockey City Classic go on sale on October 1st.
The hockey team begins play in just over a month; you can view their schedule here. For those coming into town for the BYU or Pittsburgh football games, be sure to attend the home hockey games on the Thursday, Fridays, and Sunday of those weekends.
Tennis: The Irish men's tennis team traveled to Ireland this past week for an exhibition match with real Irishmen, and they gained valuable experience, though they fell 9-3 to members of Ireland's Davis Cup team and pros at the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin. They competed valiantly in their individual matches. Despite their own loss, the Fighting Irish got to watch their peers conquer Navy on the football pitch. The men resume play mid-month.
One more note: Notre Dame athletics has long emphasized the value of service to the surrounding community, and that focus has been strengthened recently. 2011-2012 was a banner year for student athletes serving the South Bend community. As noted on UND.com, in 2011-12, "Irish student-athletes performed an all-time high of 8,178.5 community service hours. The total was over 900 more hours than 2010-11 (7,226.5) and almost double what was performed in 2009-10 (4,828). All teams participated in community service during the year and the 8,178.5 volunteer hours is equal to 340 consecutive 24-hour days of service." Students. Athletes. Community servants. Irish.
We'll bring you updates again next week on the Notre Dame Olympic sports and help you to root for the Irish beyond those long-awaited and well-loved fall Saturdays. For now, go Irish. Beat Purdue. And everybody else.