April 21, 2005

Notre Dame sports fans will have a wide variety of options – including competition involving the Irish football, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s soccer teams – when they visit campus over the next few days on Blue-Gold football weekend (see full listing below). Several popular fan-oriented events also are on tap for Blue-Gold attendees while football alumni can attend special events during the weekend (all football alums are reminded to sign up in advance and check in with the Monogram Club prior to the Blue-Gold weekend events).

The weekend kicks off at Eck Baseball Stadium as a special ceremony will be held for the dedication of a bust honoring former Notre Dame baseball coach Jake Kline. The unveiling of the bust will occur at 3:00 p.m. EST in the concourse area at Eck Stadium. The event is open to the public and the stadium then will be cleared in advance of Friday night’s game.

Football alumni may check in at the Joyce Center on Friday (3:00-5:30) while the alumni flag-football practice is slated for 3:15-4:00 on the Cartier Practice Fields. Friday’s sports offerings include a softball doubleheader vs. St. John’s (4:00; Ivy Field), the highly-anticipated soccer doubleheader vs. Mexican national teams at Alumni Field (women vs. Mexican Women’s National Team at 6:00; men vs. Mexico Under-17 National Team at 8:00) and game-1 of the ND-Villanova baseball doubleheader at Eck Stadium (6:05). The Mexico women – captained by former Notre Dame All-American Monica Gonzalez and also featuring ND signee Rebecca Mendoza – are coming off an historic quarterfinal appearance at the 2004 Olympics while Mexico’s U-17 men’s team turned in an impressive win over defending NCAA champion Indiana earlier this week (check back to und.com for a preview of Friday’s games).

The football alumni barbeque also will be Friday night, at 5:30 in the Cartier Field tents. Football alums also may sign up for tours of the Guglielmino Center complex (Fri., 4:00-5:30, and Sat. morning, 10:00-11:30).

Advance ticket sales for the ND-Mexico soccer doubleheader have been brisk and unprecedented (this marks the fifth straight spring matchup between the ND women and Mexico but the first doubleheader with men’s teams from ND and Mexico). As of Thursday night, nearly 1,800 advance tickets had been sold for the doubleheader – compared to just 300 for the 2004 game between the ND and Mexico women (more than 2,000 purchased walk-up tickets that night). Extra bleachers have been installed at Alumni Field, expanding seating to 3,000, and standing-room tickets also will be sold. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance of the event, at the Joyce Center second-floor ticket window (ticket sales will shift to Alumni Field at 4:30 on Friday). Ticket prices for the ND-Mexico doubleheader are $5 for adults and $2 for youth (gaining admission to both games,) with Notre Dame students admitted free of charge (pending available seating). Notre Dame’s 1995 women’s soccer team will be recognized at halftime of the ND-Mexico women’s game, as they return to campus in celebration of the 10-year reunion of their national championship season.

The ND-Mexico soccer doubleheader is being presented by Saint Joseph Regional Medical Cener, which will be providing free medical screenings at the site on Friday night.

Saturday’s early events include the start of the BIG EAST Conference men’s and women’s golf championships, with first tee times set for 8:00 a.m. at Warren Golf Course (the two-day event is free and open to the public). The Blue-Gold Festival then kicks off with the football team’s pregame bunch, available to fans with VIP game tickets (8:30-9:45, in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse). An autograph session then will follow for the VIP ticket holders, with limited additional public access (9:45-10:30). The Blue-Gold Festival Fan Fest is scheduled to run from 10:00-11:30 in the Joyce Center South Lot. The alumni flag-football game then will kickoff at 11:30 in Notre Dame Stadium, followed by a lunch buffet for football alums and their guests (12:30; ND Stadium north-tunnel tent) and then the annual Blue-Gold varsity football scrimmage at 1:35.

Other Saturday events include soccer alumni games at 11:00 a.m. (women) and 2:00 p.m. (men), at Alumni Field (both teams will hold banquets with their alums later in the evening) – plus game-2 of the ND-Villanova baseball series (3:05).

Soccer alums from the 1995 NCAA championships team who are expected to be attending this weekend’s reunion activities include (among others) eight regulars from that elite team: four-time All-America midfielder Holly Manthei Doyle, three-time All-America goalkeeper Jen Renola, current U.S. National Team standout defensive midfielder and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Shannon Boxx, potent forwards Monica Gerardo, Michelle McCarthy Restovich and Amy VanLaecke and defenders Ashley Scharff Iorio and Julie Vogel Kline.

Other women’s soccer alums returning to campus for the reunion weekend include one of the program’s early scoring leaders Stephanie Porter, current Monogram Club board member Jill Matesic, All-America goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene, defensive standout Kelly Lindsey, ND’s all-time leading goalscorer Jenny Heft Erickson, three-time Academic All-American Vanessa Pruzinsky (the 2003 Academic All-American of the Year) and All-America forward Amy Warner.

The BIG EAST golf championships will conclude on Sunday (8:00 starting tee times) while the Irish softball team will face Seton Hall in an 11:00 doubleheader and game-3 of the ND-Villanova baseball series will start at 12:05.

Blue-Gold Weekend Events

Friday, April 22
* Jake Kline bust dedication (3:00; Eck Stadium)
* Football Alumni Check-In (3:00-5:30; Joyce Center)
* Football Alumni Flag-Football Practice (3:15-4:00; Cartier Practice Fields)
* Softball vs. St. John’s (4:00, DH; Ivy Field)
* Guglielmino Center Tours (pre-registered football alums; 4:00-5:30; meet at Joyce Center Gate 4)
* Football Alumni Kickoff Barbecue (5:30; Cartier Field Tents; for football alums)
* Soccer Doubleheader (Alumni Field) … 6:00 – ND women vs. Mexican Women’s Nationall Team (halftime recognition of 1995 NCAA Title Team) … 7:30 – ND men vs. Mexican Under-18 National Team
* Baseball vs. Villanova (6:05; Eck Stadium)

Saturday, April 23
* BIG EAST Conference Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships (8:00; Warren Golf Course)
* Football Team Pregame Brunch (VIP Tickets; 8:30-9:45; Joyce Center Fieldhouse)
* Football Team Autographs (limited public/non-VIP ticket access; 9:45-10:30; Joyce Center Fieldhouse)
* Fan Fest (10:00-1:30; Joyce Center South Lot)
* Guglielmino Center Tours (pre-registered football alums; 10:00-11:30; meet at Joyce Center Gate 4)
* Soccer Alumni Games (Alumni Field; 11:00 a.m. – women; 2:00 p.m. – men)
* Alumni Flag-Football (11:30-12:15; ND Stadium)
* Lunch Buffet (for football alums and guests; 12:30; ND Stadium north-tunnel tent)
* Blue-Gold Game (1:35; Notre Dame Stadium)
* Baseball vs. Villanova (3:05; Eck Stadium)

Sunday, April 24
* BIG EAST Conference Golf Championship (8:00; Warren GC)
* Softball vs. Seton Hall (11:00, DH; Ivy Field)
* Baseball vs. Villanova (12:05; Eck Stadium)