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Saturday, December 4, 2010
Notre Dame one win away


Editor's note: ESPNU.com is taking you inside the women's College Cup. Follow us on Twitter (@ESPNUcom) and on Facebook. Ellin Bartindale is a junior defender for Notre Dame.

We did it. Step 5 of 6. As soon as that final whistle blew it was a feeling of joy mixed with relief. I knew we were going to do it, but it was still such a rush to know we are now going to the National Championship. When we began our journey to the College Cup back in November, Coach told us, "Six games. Six games and you've won a national championship." And now we can cross one more off the list!

After the game and the celebration with each other and our parents, we walked into Biaggi's. The local Notre Dame Alumi Club put together an incredible meal for us and we walked in to a round of applause. We sat among family and friends and watched the BC/Stanford game to see who we would face on Sunday. It was a great atmosphere and great food after a great win. I left with my parents to get ice cream, and when I returned to the hotel I walked to the elevator and a team of 15-year-olds saw my jersey and congratulated me. I remember when I was one of those 15-year-olds, dreaming to play in the College Cup, and I realize how lucky I am.

When I was a freshman, the traditional lighted #1 sat atop Grace Hall (on the Notre Dame campus) for 15 weeks indicating our #1 ranking. I remember seeing it on my walk back from the library and swelling with pride to know it was for us. I long to see that #1 on top of Grace Hall again when I return.

One more game. I have never had so much faith and so much trust in the girls and coaches that are my family.