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This Week in Notre Dame Athletics: More Than Just Football and Men's Basketball

One Foot Down has focused on covering Fighting Irish football and men's basketball almost exclusively since moving over to SBNation. As these are the two most popular sports for the Notre Dame community it's been a no-brainer to devote so much attention towards the pigskin and men's hoops.

However, we felt it is doing Notre Dame and the rest of the university athletes a disservice by not covering the rest of the sports on campus, particularly since many of the teams and individuals are playing at an elite level.

So the time has come to cover the other 14 Irish sports from both the men's and women's side of the aisle.

Welcome to This Week in Notre Dame Athletics!

Due to the sheer number of sports being covered we will not be able to devote an incredible amount of attention and detail to each team, but it is our hope that this weekly post allows Fighting Irish fans everywhere a greater understanding of the hard work and success the rest of the athletes in South Bend achieve while mostly out of the spotlight.

This feature might not be very popular, but there are actually things called "championships" and "national titles" in some of the the 14 other sports, so it is kind of important.

Dive right in after the jump. I hope you enjoy this.

Women's Basketball: 20-1 overall, 7-0 Big East

Speaking of dominant teams, the women's basketball team is currently ranked second in the nation with their only defeat coming early in the season to No. 1 Baylor.

They had a very successful 2010-11 season last year, beating national powerhouse and rival Connecticut in the Final Four, but the Irish were upended in the national title game by Texas A&M.

Now, the Irish are rolling with a 17-game winning streak, recently defeated Connecticut again in overtime back in early January, and just handed Tennessee their second-worst lost in school history last night.

The team is led by four players all averaging double-digits in scoring with senior Natalie Novosel leading the way with 16.3 points per game. Junior superstar Skylar Diggins is not far behind with 15.9 points per game and a team-leading 5.9 assists a night. Sophomore Kayla McBride chips in 11.8 per game, and fifth-year senior Devereaux Peters a healthy 11.2 points.

Last night the Irish got 27 from Diggins, 17 from McBride, and 16 from Peters in a 72-44 romp over the Volunteers. The team travels to St. John's this weekend to get back into conference play.

Men's Hockey: 14-9-3 overall, 9-6-3 CCHA

The Fighting Irish hockey team is coming off a highly successful 2010-11 season winning 25 games and finishing 4th in the country, after losing in the Frozen Four to eventual national champion Minnesota-Duluth.

Notre Dame came into this season ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll and opened up the beautiful new Compton Family Ice Center in October after playing three early season home games at the old Joyce Center facility.

Even with some struggles this season, the Irish are still ranked 7th in the country and poised for another run at a national championship.

Notre Dame is led by sensational sophomore T.J. Tynan who is coming off a 54-point freshmen campaign, and leads the Irish this season with 33 points in 25 games.

Head coach Jeff Jackson and his team split the 2-game series at home versus Michigan over the weekend. The Irish took the first game on Friday night 3-1 inside Compton, but dropped the back-end of the rivalry 2-1 despite out-shooting the Wolverines 39-24. Michigan scored two first period power play goals on Saturday while Notre Dame went 0 for 8 on the man advantage over the weekend.

The Irish---who fall into a tie for 6th in the CCHA, but just three points out of 2nd place---will travel far up north to play two games against Alaska this weekend.

Swimming: 6-3 (Men's) & 4-5 (Women's)

The men's swimming and diving team has been doing pretty well this year, coming into this week with a 6-3 record. The diving team competed in the Ohio State invite to close out the first half of the season, while the swimming team took 3rd place at the Iowa Invitational.

Both teams came back from winter training and 1st place in the Copa Coqui exhibition in Puerto Rico, sneaking past Northwestern 157-143, and taking care of business against Michigan State 174-121 this past Saturday.

Notre Dame hosts the Shamrock Invitational at Rolfs Aquatic Center this Friday and Saturday.

The women's side has struggled a little bit, but just demolished Michigan State 218-82 on Saturday. The Irish went 3-3 in first half of the season, finished 3rd in the Ohio State Invitational, and made their annual trip to Hawaii for 2 weeks of winter training.

This past weekends defeat of the Spartans came after two defeats at the hands of Michigan and Northwestern. The women will also take part in the the Shamrock Invitational this weekend.

Fencing: 12-5 (Men's) & 6-5 (Women's)

Fencing has been the most successful program at Notre Dame over the past several years, as the Irish are the current defending national champions after winning the school's eighth title in 2011.

The men's team began the season with a No. 4 ranking, while the women came in at No. 3 in the preseason balloting. The men had won 106 of their last 107 bouts going into this past weekend, while the women had not lost since 2009---stringing together 89 straight victories.

However, both sides had a tough weekend for Notre Dame's high standards.

At the St. John's Duals, the women lost to No. 6 Ohio State, No. 1 Penn State, and No. 5 St. John's, while defeating Harvard and Columbia. The men shared the same fate, except for trading a victory over St. John's with a loss to Columbia.

The next day at the NYU Invitational, both teams finished with identical 4-2 records.

The men defeated Yale, Columbia, North Carolina, and NYU while losing to St. John's and Ohio State. The women beat Yale, Northwestern, NYU, and Ohio State but dropped matches to Columbia and St. John's.

This weekend both teams host the Notre Dame Duels on campus.

Tennis: 3-1 (Men's) & 3-0 (Women's)

The men's tennis team opened their season with victories over Illinois State and Toledo, while they also dropped William & Mary this past Friday.

Their perfect season was ruined on Sunday with a loss to No. 18 Illinois. The men will travel to Ohio State this weekend to take on Indiana this Saturday and Cornell or Ohio State on Sunday.

The 20th ranked women's tennis team opened their season this weekend with a victory over Cincinnati on Saturday and a double-header victory over Missouri and IPFW.

The women will travel to Ann Arbor to face Yale this Saturday and either Michigan or Maryland on Sunday.

Track and Field

The Irish opened their season in track & field hosting the Blue & Gold Invitational where Notre Dame won 20 events and had 60 student-athletes qualifying for February's Big East Indoor Championships.

On Friday, December 16th seniors Maddie Buttinger and Kevin Schipper performed well at the Grand Valley State Holiday Open, with the former athlete finishing third in the 60-meter hurdles, second in the high jump, and first in the long jump. Schipper finished in the top three in all of his events, and was the top male finisher of the day.

At the GVSU Bob Eubanks Open after winter break, Notre Dame won four events: women's pentathlon, men's 400m, men's 600m, and men's 4x400 relay.

This past weekend the Irish T&F teams hosted the Notre Dame Invitational.

The Irish won six events and had freshman Chris Giesting break the school record in the 500m run. Giesting broke Steve Dziabis' mark of 1:02.92 from 1983 with a new time of 1:01.89 easily winning the meet over Louisville's Shaquan Brown who finished in second place.

From the official school release:

"Today's meet was a great one for track and field fans," said head coach Joe Piane. "Chris broke a 29-year old school record, a Michigan State women's high jumper leapt six feet and a DePaul shot putter had a NCAA qualifying toss of 20.01 meters. We had several strong performances today from Kelly Burke in the pole vault to the men's 4x400m relay team and many others in between."

The track & field team will travel to Bloomington this Friday and Saturday to compete in the Indiana Relays.

Student-Athlete of the Week: Brittany Mallory

Fifth-year senior and co-captain for the second straight season, Mallory was a member of the Big East All-Freshman team in 2008 and is playing in her last year of eligibility after tearing her ACL during the 2008-09 season.

She led the Irish in steals last year and led the Big East in three point shooting percentage in 2010-11 as well.

Currently second on the team in minutes played, second in steals, and averaging 5.8 points per game.

Mallory graduated with a degree in management-entrepreneurship from the top-ranked Mendoza business school and is currently pursing graduate studies.

She is known for her tough defense and leadership---a key part of the women's basketball teams dominance over the past few years.