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A West Coast Weekend for the Irish

Sep 7, 2012, 9:14 AM EDT

This weekend, the Notre Dame women will be traveling to the West Coast to meet #19 Portland on Friday. The game marks the team’s first trip to the Pacific Northwest since 2005, when the No. 5 Irish lost to the top-ranked Portland Pilots in the NCAA quarterfinals. It was a clash of the titans with ND’s Katie Thorlakson and Kerri Hanks battling Portland’s Megan Rapinoe, who recently helped lead the United States women’s national team to a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Despite the outcome of this last match-up, Notre Dame holds an overall winning record of 7-4 against Portland, with this being the 12th meeting of the two powerhouse teams. The current Notre Dame squad is a very young, but extremely talented group of women, with the 2012 class of players being ranked first in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer. After beating Santa Clara, 2-1, last week, they hope to pick up another win over a West Coast Conference team on Friday evening.

On Sunday, the Fighting Irish will continue their West Coast trip against Washington, playing at the team’s campus in Seattle, for only the second time since 1997. Notre Dame last encountered the Huskies on the soccer field in 2000, when the Irish won by an overwhelming 5-0 victory. This weekend’s match will be the fifth between the two teams – with Notre Dame leading the series, 4-0.

The Huskies have been receiving votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and the “Baby Irish” (as head coach Randy Waldrum calls them) will play hard this weekend, hoping to maintain that undefeated series record.

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