SOUTH BEND, Ind. – When most people think of the University of Notre Dame, visions of the Golden Dome, Notre Dame Stadium and clips from the movie “Rudy” come to mind. That was no different for the Lady Topper soccer team Saturday.
From the time the team boarded the bus Friday afternoon, the players’ anticipation only grew. And seven hours on the bus only heightened their excitement.
“You grow up hearing Notre Dame’s name,” junior Allison Nellis said. “It’s a school a lot of people would want to go to.”
The big game wasn’t the only event the team was excited about. After a morning practice, the Lady Toppers went on a campus tour.
“I really liked it,” sophomore Becky Slogic said. “It was really neat to see it from someone’s perspective who’d been there and to see a campus with all that history.”
The team saw all of the campus’ historic landmarks – the administrative building topped by the famous gold dome, the Grotto and the Sacred Heart Basilica. However, the highlight for everybody was when the team got a chance to step on the field of Notre Dame Stadium.
The Lady Toppers were invited to run from the end zone to Notre Dame’s bench on the 50-yard line, like the football team does before every game.
“(It was) kind of a unique experience,” Slogic said.
Despite the fun of the tour, the team was really looking forward to facing its toughest opponent to date.
Though the game ended in a 5-0 defeat, the Lady Toppers didn’t let the loss get them down.
“This game is more for an experience and to have fun,” Nellis said. “There’s nothing to lose.”
At this point in the season, a seven-hour road trip gave the team ample time to improve its chemistry.
“We’re all on the bus together,” junior Jackie Krieger said. “We just goof off. (And) we get to know people individually because we room with different people each trip.”
Nellis added, “All you do (on road trips) is eat, sleep, play soccer and talk to each other.”
Reach Beth Wilberding at [email protected]