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Irish Roundup: Playoff Push

All but the last few regular-season games are finished for Notre Dame’s 2012-13 sports year. Several teams are gearing up for postseason NCAA action this week. Here’s a rundown of which teams will be making a playoff push in the near future.

Senior goalkeeper John Kemp and the Irish play Detroit in their opening NCAA Tournament contest on Saturday.

Men’s Lacrosse (10-4)
No. 2 Notre Dame vs. Detroit (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Saturday, May 11 at 5 p.m.

This weekend, the Irish open their bid for their third trip to the Final Four in the past four seasons. Notre Dame reached the national championship game last May, but fell to Loyola (Md.) in the finals.

The Irish enter the national tournament with back-to-back losses, both at the hands of Syracuse. The Orange beat Notre Dame 10-4 in the regular-season finale in late April and 9-3 a week later in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. Syracuse went on to win the conference championship and earned the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s bracket. Notre Dame, which was No. 1 in the country before those losses, is the No. 2 seed and cannot face the Orange again until the national title game.

The team’s first game is at home against Detroit, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions. Notre Dame beat the Titans 10-5 in an exhibition game in February earlier this year. Saturday will be the first official game between the two schools. It will also mark the highest ranking the Irish program has ever had in the NCAA Tournament.

Complete Tournament Bracket

Women’s Lacrosse (12-4)
Notre Dame vs. Stanford (Evanston, Ill.)
Friday, May 10 at 8 p.m.

The women’s team begins its NCAA run Friday night the same away it started the regular season — on the road against Stanford. The Irish erased a five-goal halftime deficit in February to beat the Cardinal 12-10 in Palo Alto, Calif. This time the game is being held at Northwestern’s Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. The winner of Friday night’s game plays No. 2 Northwestern Sunday afternoon.

The Wildcats have won seven of the last eight NCAA championships and have a habit of knocking Notre Dame out of the brackets. They beat the Irish 12-7 last year in the opening round of the tournament. The two teams met a couple weeks ago at Notre Dame and the Irish closed the gap slightly, losing 10-8.

Complete Tournament Bracket

Women’s Golf
NCAA East Regional (Auburn, Ala.)
Thursday, May 9 to Saturday, May 11

Freshmen Lindsey Weaver and Talia Campbell powered the Irish to their fifth conference title a little more than two weeks ago and will tee off for the first time in an NCAA Tournament Thursday morning. Weaver and Campbell both shot six-under-par to tie for the best score during the Big East Championships.

The No. 26 Irish are one of 24 teams that will compete at the Auburn University course this weekend. Seventy-two total teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. This is the sixth consecutive year the Irish have made the regional cut, but they have only advanced to the final tournament of the year once at the end of the 2011 season.

This year the Irish are ranked as the ninth-best team in the East Regional and eight teams from each region advance to the finals, which will be held in Athens, Ga., starting May 21. The regional tournaments for the men’s team do not begin until May 16.

Complete Regional Line-ups

Women’s Tennis (17-8)
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina State (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m.

Notre Dame starts its 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament Friday morning and its sixth straight as the Big East champion. The 23rd-ranked Irish will play No. 47 North Carolina State in the opening round in the Ann Arbor regional bracket. The winner of that match will face either IPFW or Michigan, which is hosting the regional as the overall No. 10 seed in this year’s field of 64.

Complete Tournament Bracket

Men’s Tennis
Notre Dame vs. Washington (Columbus, Ohio)
Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m.

The men’s team is also the higher seed in its first-round match Friday morning. The No. 28 Irish play No. 33 Washington to start the final postseason tournament of longtime coach Bobby Bayliss’s career. Like the women, they are coming off of another Big East championship last month.

A win Friday will likely pit Notre Dame against host Ohio State, the tournament’s fifth overall seed. The Buckeyes knocked Notre Dame out of last year’s tournament with a 4-0 sweep in the second round.

Complete Tournament Bracket

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