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March Madness: Busy Weekend for the Fighting Irish

Mar 3, 2013, 7:19 PM EDT

Even if you were running as fast as the athletes in this photo, you probably weren't quick enough to catch all of this weekend's Fighting Irish athletics action.

Thirteen Fighting Irish athletic teams took to the court, field, diamond, track, ice, pool and piste, in what was most definitely one of the busiest weekends of the year for Notre Dame athletics.

On campus, the track & field programs competed in day two of the Alex Wilson Invitational, men’s lacrosse made its 2013 home debut against #9 North Carolina, women’s tennis took on DePaul and Duke, hockey closed out its regular season against Bowling Green, and the fencing squad hosted the Midwest Conference Championships.

Here’s a closer look at a wild weekend (click the sport name for a link to the full recaps).

Track & Field: Among the highlights at the Loftus Center, Chris Giesting broke a school record in the 400m, Rebecca Tracy set a program, meet and track record in the mile, and the Irish women’s 4x400m relay team also set a new Notre Dame mark.

Women’s Lacrosse: The ninth-ranked Irish traveled to the Steel City for a matchup with Duquesne. Though they trailed 5-3 at the half, head coach Christine Halfpenny‘s team rallied for a 10-8 road victory, to improve to 3-0 on the young season.

Men’s Lacrosse: Behind goals from five different players, #2 Notre Dame took a 5-4 lead into the locker room, but the Tar Heels scored four straight goals to take an 8-5 advantage in the third quarter. Senior Sean Rogers netted a late one to make it 8-6 heading to the fourth, and scored another with just under a minute remaining, before Matt Kavanagh tied it with only 11.8 seconds to play. The teams battled for two sudden-death overtimes, until the freshman sensation scored again, 15 seconds into the third extra period. The Irish are now 3-0 with three wins against top-10 opponents this season.

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Men’s Basketball: The Irish fell behind early in Milwaukee, and never recovered, falling to #22 Marquette, 72-64. With two games to play, Notre Dame is 22-7 overall and 10-6 in the BIG EAST standings.

Softball: At Disney’s Wide World of Sports, the Notre Dame softball team defeated all four of its Citrus Classic opponents (Boston College, Georgia Tech, Long Island and Maryland). With the sweep, the Irish have now won eight straight games.

Women’s Tennis: The Irish split the weekend at the Eck Tennis Center, defeating DePaul on Saturday, before falling to #2 Duke on Sunday. The 18th-ranked squad is now 9-4 this season.

Men’s Tennis: In Madison, Wisc., the Notre Dame men’s team picked up its fourth ranked win of the season by defeating the Badgers, 5-2. The Irish return to their home court on Tuesday against Illinois at 6:00 pm ET.

Women’s Basketball: The #2 Irish rolled to their 22nd consecutive win by defeating Providence, 92-57. With the victory, head coach Muffet McGraw‘s team earned at least a share of the BIG EAST regular season title for the second consecutive season. Notre Dame closes out the regular season on Monday against Connecticut (7 pm ET on ESPN2).

Baseball: On the diamond, the Notre Dame baseball team continued its hot start, winning three of its four games in the USA Baseball-Irish Classic in Cary, N.C. The #22 Irish defeated Massachusetts and Tennessee (in 12 innings) on Friday, and #25 Virginia Tech on Saturday, before dropping Sunday’s finale against Rhode Island. The team is now 8-2 this season.

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Hockey: After holding on for a 4-3 win on Friday, the Notre Dame hockey team completed a sweep of Bowling Green on Senior Night at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Mike Johnson made 26 saves and fellow senior Nick Larson had a goal and assist in a 4-1 win to close out the regular season.

Men’s Swimming: In the pool, the Irish men’s team won its sixth BIG EAST title, while also setting a championship record for total points. The swimmers and divers tallied 991 points, 139.5 ahead of second place Louisville.

Women’s Swimming: It was a very successful BIG EAST Championships for the Notre Dame women’s program as well. The Irish finished second to Louisville, while taking home numerous individual honors: Caiming Xie – BIG EAST Women’s Diving Coach of the Year, Brian Barnes – BIG EAST Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year, Jenny Chiang – Most Outstanding Diver and Emma Reaney – Most Outstanding Swimmer.

Fencing: At the Castellan Family Fencing Center, the Irish dominated the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships, claiming four gold medals and three silvers on Saturday. Notre Dame wrapped up the competition on Sunday by also winning the overall conference title.

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