Sept. 11, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With this week’s release of the Division I preseason cross country polls, the University of Notre Dame is the only school in the country to have all six of its fall sports teams (football, volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s cross country, women’s cross country) currently ranked in the Top 20 in their respective national polls. In addition, four of those teams (football, volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s cross country) are ranked in the Top 15 in the nation, making Notre Dame the only school to hold that distinction as well.
Only five schools (Notre Dame, Kansas State, USC, Florida and Nebraska) can claim to have both their football and volleyball teams ranked in the Top 20. When women’s soccer is added to the mix, the list drops to just two schools (Notre Dame and Florida). However, the Gators do not sponsor men’s soccer, which leaves Notre Dame as the only athletics program to pull off this feat.
Irish teams have posted a combined record of 11-2-1 (.821) during the early part of the 2003 season, led by the second-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team, which improved to 5-0 Thursday afternoon with a 2-0 win at St. John’s. Head coach Randy Waldrum’s charges have outscored their opponents by a 22-3 count this year, averaging better than four goals per match, and they will return to action Saturday at 7 p.m. (EST) against Western Kentucky at Alumni Field.
The Notre Dame football team, ranked 15th in the Associated Press balloting and 14th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll, won its season opener, 29-26 in overtime against Washington State last Saturday and gets set to visit No. 5 Michigan on Saturday. Meanwhile, the 15th-ranked Notre Dame volleyball team moved to 5-1 this season with a 3-0 win over Valparaiso Tuesday night – the Irish will play host to the Shamrock Invitational Friday-Sunday at the Joyce Center. The No. 18 Notre Dame men’s soccer team (1-1-1) also is home this weekend, holding the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament Friday and Sunday at Alumni Field.
The Irish cross country teams kicked off their seasons on Sept. 5 at the Valparaiso Invitational, with the third-ranked Notre Dame women winning the meet and the No. 18 Irish men placing second. Both teams next will compete Fri., Sept. 19 when they play host to the National Catholic Championship at Burke Golf Course at 4:15 p.m. (EST).
This year’s success comes on the heels of a record-setting 2002 campaign that saw all six Irish fall sports teams qualify for postseason play. Notre Dame was the only school in the nation that could make that claim.
A breakdown of the current national rankings of all six Irish fall sports teams may be found at the bottom of the main page of this web site.
– ND –