Notre Dame fired the first volley of the 2012 season when the then-No. 7 Fighting Irish upended then-No. 1 Duke, 7-3, on Saturday.
It was the third time Notre Dame opened the season by beating the Blue Devils, and the team is enjoying a 15-game winning streak in the month of February. But coach Kevin Corrigan said he hopes the victory doesn't satiate the players' hunger for a national championship.
"Any win helps you with your confidence," Corrigan said Tuesday. "I hope it lets our guys know what they should already know, which is we're going to be there competing with everybody. But I hope it doesn't keep them from thinking that they've got to get back and keep working to get better because if we don't get better, we'll get passed by."
The Fighting Irish have not been shy about scheduling formidable opponents. They defeated No. 14 Loyola, No. 17 Penn State and No. 12 Albany in 2008, No. 16 Loyola in 2009, No. 1 Duke in 2010 and No. 10 Duke in 2011.
The early season challenges are not accidental, Corrigan said.
"We always open with big and important games to us, and I think it helps our guys prepare with some urgency for the season," he said. "They know they're not going to have the luxury of easing into anything."