Irish Success
2002 was a very good year for Notre Dame sports.

Dec. 16, 2002

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fall of 2002 marks just the second time in University of Notre Dame athletics history that both soccer teams, both cross country teams, the volleyball team and the football team each have advanced to NCAA/bowl competition.

The other year was 1993, led by the 11-1 final football record and Cotton Bowl win (the Irish finished second in both major polls), fifth place by men’s cross country in the NCAA meet and volleyball advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals (remains the best NCAA finish in that sport for Notre Dame). Women’s cross country was 15th at the 1993 NCAA meet, with both soccer teams losing in the first round (that was the first NCAA trip for the women).

Notre Dame is the only team to advance to the NCAAs/bowls this fall in each of the above six sports. There were 26 institutions that qualified in both NCAA soccer tournaments, but then the list was pared to just Notre Dame, Stanford, Ohio State and SMU that also advanced to the NCAA men’s cross country meet (SMU and Ohio State did not qualify in women’s cross country and Stanford did not qualify for a football bowl game, leaving Notre Dame alone in this distinction).

Here’s how Notre Dame fall teams have fared to date:

? MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY – finished 22nd at NCAA meet . . . ended up fourth at BIG EAST championships

? WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY – BIG EAST and Great Lakes Region champions (first ever titles for Notre Dame) . . . finished third at NCAA meet . . . finished fifth in final poll . . . two runners earned All-America honors

? FOOTBALL – finished 10-2 in regular season . . . ranked #9 in final Bowl Championship Series poll, #11 AP, #12 ESPN/USA Today . . . headed to Gator Bowl to play 10-3 North Carolina State . . . had three first-team All-Americans and a second-team Verizon Academic All-American

? MEN’S SOCCER – advanced to second round of NCAA playoffs after first-round win over Akron . . . finished 20th in pre-NCAA poll . . . 12-6-3 final record (6-3-1 in BIG EAST play)

? WOMEN’S SOCCER – advanced to third round of NCAA playoffs following victories over Ohio State and Purdue . . . finished 19th in pre-NCAA poll with 13-8-0 final ledger (3-3 in BIG EAST Mid-Atlantic Division games) . . . one second-team NSCAA All-American

? VOLLEYBALL – advanced to second round of NCAA playoffs after first-round win over College of Charleston . . . finished with 24-8 overall record . . . earned 16th seed in NCAA tournament . . . won BIG EAST regular-season title with 11-2 record . . . won BIG EAST Tournament crown . . . hosted NCAA tournament first and second rounds