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Getting Back on Track

Sep 14, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT

One thing I know about soccer is that a loss is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, a tough loss can be exactly the motivation a great team needs in order to reach its full potential.

I can personally attest to this, as a member of the 2010 national championship Notre Dame women’s soccer team. Leading up to the NCAA tournament, we experienced a heartbreaking loss to Connecticut, knocking us out of the BIG EAST tournament and breaking a 77-game winning streak in the conference. It was a demoralizing defeat, and we felt as if we had let the school down.

However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, by allowing us to regroup and rebuild before the NCAA tournament. Ultimately, it made us stronger as a unit and pushed us to win it all.

This past weekend’s 3-0 loss against Washington could have a similar function for head coach Randy Waldrum‘s team this year. It exposed the Irish to the pains of losing and pointed out areas of weakness that the team must improve before conference play. One specific area the Irish have set out to improve is their intesity throughout the entire 90-minute game. Junior midfielder Nicole Rodriguez elaborated, saying, “If we want to go undefeated in the conference, we have to be able to string together 90 minutes of intense play. We cannot let up at any time.”

Now as they return home, the Irish know exactly what they need to work on, in order to compete in the conference and rise as the dominating force that they traditionally are. In addition, the squad will receive help from two teammates returning from the U-20 World Cup in Japan. Junior midfielder Mandy Laddish and freshman defender Cari Roccaro came home this week after winning a World Cup championship. All these elements combined create the perfect environment for Notre Dame to bounce back.

The Irish will get a chance to show us what they’ve got later today, in their BIG EAST opener versus Louisville. That game begins at 4 pm ET and will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

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