Oct. 5, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame volleyball team continues its four-match home swing this weekend as it plays host to Connecticut on Saturday and St. John’s on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.
The match up with the Huskies is slated for 2 p.m. and can be followed via live stats, while the showdown with the Red Storm will also begin at 2 p.m. and can be viewed online through UND.com’s free video stream or live stats.
Notre Dame is coming off a weekend split last weekend as it lost a heartbreaker to Marquette (3-2) before sweeping Syracuse (3-0). The Irish sit at 10-6 overall and 3-1 in conference play, which puts them in a tie with Seton Hall and Louisville for third in the BIG EAST.
All-time matchups with both squads swing in Notre Dame’s favor as the Irish have had their way with both opponents. Despite a 3-2 setback last year, the Irish are still 14-3 in the BIG EAST and 20-3 overall against UConn. St. John’s has had similar difficulties with Notre Dame as the Irish hold a 14-3 BIG EAST edge and 16-3 all-time advantage, including four straight wins. Last year Notre Dame won 3-1 in New York.
The Huskies (11-7, 2-1 BIG EAST) defeated Villanova and Georgetown in the league’s opening weekend before falling to St. John’s (3-0) last weekend. Devon Maugle paces UConn with a 3.39 kills per set average. Teammate Matttison Quayle is just behind Maugle with a 3.05 kills per set average.
St. John’s (16-3, 3-0 BIG EAST) sits atop the league with 16 wins and is tied with Marquette for first place as neither has suffered a BIG EAST setback yet. The Red Storm is led by outside hitter Aleksandra Wachowicz, who averages 3.20 kills per set. Not far behind is outside hitter Karin Palgutova, who averages 3.02 kills per set and is hitting .343. Middle blocker Milica Krstojevic averages 2.67 kills per set and is hitting .345.
In the matchup with the conference-leading Red Storm, the Irish will need to serve with more consistency. St. John’s currently leads the league in aces (1.66 per set), while Notre Dame is last at just 0.84 per set.
St. John’s also tops the conference in opponent hitting percentage at .122, including an impressive .107 in conference matches.
The Irish continue to pace the league in blocks with a 2.54 per set average and are second in assists at 12.90 per set. In league play Notre Dame is tops in hitting percentage at .277.
Notre Dame has counted on its two powerful outside hitters Toni Alugbue and Jeni Houser throughout the season. Alugbue leads the team in kills (247) and kills per set (3.92) and is third in digs (143) and digs per set (2.27). Houser is second behind Alugbue in kills (215) and kills per set (3.41), but is first in attack percentage (.318) and third in blocks (45). On fire as of late has been senior middle blocker Hilary Eppink, who has registered 32 kills total in her last three matches, hitting .386 during that span.
Following the conclusion of Sunday’s match will be an Irish Spikers Clinic on the main floor. The event is open to children that are in the eighth grade or younger and sign ups will be taken prior to the event for those still looking to register.