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“Baby Irish” Growing Up Quickly

Sep 30, 2012, 11:23 PM EDT

Don’t look now, but the Notre Dame women’s soccer team is growing up right before our eyes.

Following road victories at Providence and Connecticut, the “Baby Irish” (as head coach Randy Waldrum describes them) find themselves tied with Georgetown atop the National Division standings. The Irish have won six games in a row and sit at a perfect 5-0 through the first half of the BIG EAST Conference schedule.

In the 83rd minute of Friday’s match, a cross from junior Elizabeth Tucker deflected off of a Providence defender and into the back of the net, proving to be the only score the Irish needed in a 1-0 win over the Friars.

This afternoon, Notre Dame cruised to a 4-0 win at Connecticut, thanks in part to a trio of second half goals. Sophomore Lauren Bohaboy‘s free kick in the 43rd minute turned out to be the deciding score, but freshmen Cari Roccaro, Crystal Thomas and Anna Maria Gilbertson added insurance goals in the latter frame.

As you know by now, there’s a youth movement invading the pitch at Alumni Stadium. This year’s Irish roster has just two seniors and four juniors, to go along with 12 freshmen and six sophomores.

Of the 29 goals Notre Dame has scored thus far, 22 have come from underclassmen. Thomas and Roccaro lead the offensive charge, respectively, with six and four goals each. Roccaro’s feat is all the more impressive when considering that she missed the first seven games of the season while playing for the gold medal-winning United States Under-20 World Cup Team (along with junior Mandy Laddish).

Over the course of the current winning streak, Notre Dame has outscored opponents 19-2, allowing one goal each to Louisville and Pittsburgh, while shutting out Cincinnati, Oakland, Providence and Connecticut.

The Irish will be back home on Friday night against Seton Hall (7:30 pm ET) and again on Sunday versus Rutgers (1:00 pm ET) for their final two home games of the regular season. Both games will be streamed live on

In the meantime, Coach Waldrum might need to consider a new nickname for his young squad.

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