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Coaches pick ND soccer team to win Big East again

Published 4:07pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame women’s soccer team was a popular selection as the favorite to win the 2012 Big East Conference National Division title, according to a preseason vote of the league’s 15 head coaches released Tuesday morning.

The Fighting Irish, who have been picked first in each of the past 17 preseason Big East coaches’ polls dating back to 1995, earned 109 points, including 12 of a possible 14 first-place tallies (coaches may not vote for their own teams), in the balloting, as they seek their 15th Big East regular-season crown — 10 of the previous 14, including the past six, have been divisional championships (1999-2001, 2003, 2005-10), while the other four were overall regular-season titles (1995-97, 2004).

Notre Dame, which also was receiving votes in the preseason National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll released Tuesday, returns 10 monogram winners, including six starters, from last season’s team that posted a 10-8-3 record and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the 19th consecutive season, the second-longest active streak (and third-longest all-time) in tournament history. The Fighting Irish also went 6-3-2 in the Big East a year ago, finishing third in the National Division and reaching the semifinals of the Big East Championship.

“It says a lot about our program and the amount of success we have been able to achieve that we would be voted first in our division this year,” 14th-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said.

“The BIG EAST continues to get better and better and it’s going to be another challenging season. None of us were pleased with how last year turned out, and we’re working hard to get back to the high level of success we expect to reach every year.”

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