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National champs Notre Dame take care of Bulls

There have been no easy games for the USF women’s soccer team this season.

The Bulls (5-4-2, 0-2-2 Big East) continued their tough conference schedule against Big East foes DePaul and Notre Dame and failed to notch a win in either contest.

USF started the weekend off with a 1-1 tie against DePaul (2-5-3, 0-3-2 Big East) on Friday. It was the Bulls’ second tie in their last three games and the third straight game forced into overtime.

On Sunday, the Bulls hosted defending national champion Notre Dame (10-2, 4-1 Big East) and were defeated 4-0.

The Irish were fresh off a 4-1 loss to Marquette on Friday.

The Bulls kept the game close in the first half, but in the end they could not keep up with the persistent Irish attack.

“I was pretty pleased the way we rebounded coming off the Marquette loss,” Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum said. “To come out and see us play well today, especially in the heat, I think we did a good job.”

The Notre Dame offense dominated most of the game, taking 31 shots including 11 on goal. Katie Thorlakson, the 2004 National Player of the Year, had two goals and an assist for the Irish.

“(Thorlakson) has really evolved since her freshman year,” Waldrum said. “You just come to expect it when she does some special things.”

USF had only three shots on goal during the entire game and was completely shut down in the second half, managing only one shot. Two of the Bulls’ six total shots in the game came from senior forward Katie Reed.

“They were definitely a good team,” Reed said. “I mean, we didn’t play to our potential, but they played better soccer than us today.”

The loss was the second in the past four games for the Bulls, and it moved them into seventh place in the Big East’s Division A. The Bulls’ play in their four-game winless streak has left Reed a little frustrated.

“It’s more of the simple balls I know we can play, and we start panicking and people boom it and then it makes us work even harder,” Reed said. “That’s what is frustrating the most, that I know we can play good soccer and we just didn’t show it.”

The Bulls still have six games left before the Big East tournament to develop their “match maturity,” as coach Logan Fleck calls it – but the Bulls’ schedule doesn’t get any easier, with four games on the road, including one at No. 21 West Virginia.

“There’s not an easy game in this league,” Fleck said. “We get no rest. It’s a challenge every time out here. This league is the cream of the crop.”