Junior Hilary Eppink

Irish Head East After Pit Stop

Oct. 28, 2011

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Having played five of its last six games away from home, the Notre Dame volleyball team gets back on the road this weekend for BIG EAST Conference tilts at Connecticut (Oct. 29) and St. John’s (Oct. 30).

Notre Dame played five straight road games from Oct. 8-18 (Pittsburgh, West Virginia, DePaul and Hawaii) but refueled last week with a 3-0 home win over USF.

When the team arrives to campus Sunday night, it would have traveled 11,309 miles in the air and on the road since Oct. 14.

Live stats will be available for both matches at UND.com. A pay-per-view video link to the St. John’s match will be posted at UND.com courtesy of RedStormSports.com.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-8 overall – 5-3 BIG EAST)
[und.com – bigeast.org]

Connecticut Huskies (11-12 overall – 1-7 BIG EAST)
[uconnhuskies.com – bigeast.org]
Saturday, Oct. 29 – 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Series history: Notre Dame leads, 20-2 (14-2 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W4
First meeting: 11.5.95 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Last meeting: 10.31.10 – Notre Dame, 3-1

St. John’s Red Storm (10-15 overall – 1-7 BIG EAST)
[redstormsports.com – bigeast.org]
Sunday, Oct. 30 – 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Series history: Notre Dame leads, 15-3 (13-3 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W3
First meeting: 11.3.95 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Last meeting: 10.30.10 – Notre Dame, 3-0

Following the Irish …
Live stats: UND.com
Live video: UND.com (at St. John’s only)
* Live video courtesy of RedStormSports.com (pay-per-view)
Facebook: facebook.com/NotreDameAthletics, facebook.com/NDvolleyball
Twitter: @UND_com, @NDvolleyball, @NDcoachBrown, @NDsidJorge

Bump, Set, Spike …

– Behind a career day by then-freshman Andie Olsen, who totaled 10 kills on a .692 clip with seven blocks, Notre Dame managed to sweep visiting St. John’s when the two teams met in 2010 … Christina Kaelin led Notre Dame to a 3-0 win at St. John’s in 2009 with 13 kills and a .500 hitting percentage … the sweep over St. John’s was the first for Notre Dame since 2004 as the Irish have now won nine straight sets with the Red Storm … the last dropped set came in 2008, when three straight set wins made up for an opening period setback as Notre Dame upended top-seeded St. John’s in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship … the win neutralized a 3-2 regular-season loss to St. John’s on Nov. 14 and secured the program’s 18th consecutive winning season … in that match, Kaelin recorded her third 20+ kill performance of the season with 21 knocks on a .474 average … the output tied her for ninth on Notre Dame’s all-time list of matches with 20+ kills … Notre Dame’s first-ever loss to St. John’s came in the 2006 season, a 3-0 home defeat … the two programs first met in 1995, a 3-0 Irish win in which Notre Dame allowed only 10 points (15-0, 15-6, 15-4) … the largest single-set victory margin in Irish history under the 30-point format came against the Red Storm in 2001 … Notre Dame won the first set, 30-8 … the Irish won the first 11 matches of the series.

– Notre Dame treated its fans to a 3-1 home BIG EAST win over Connecticut in 2010 by utilizing 12 players throughout the match and posting a comeback fourth-set victory … the Irish led by as many as five and even trailed by four in the final frame but sealed the deal with an ace from then-freshman Sammie Brown on match point … Brown aced the Huskies five times to set a new career high with Notre Dame totaling 11 points from behind the service stripe … this season marks the 23rd time the Irish and Huskies have faced off on the volleyball court … the Irish have won 63 of 69 sets in the series … the Irish rattled off 13 straight wins in the series before losing a four-set affair in 2007, but bounced back with a five-set win to end the 2008 regular season and a 3-0 sweep at that season’s BIG EAST Championship … Notre Dame started BIG EAST Conference play in 2009 at Connecticut with a 3-1 win … the Irish rallied behind Serinity Phillips who was one block short of a triple-double with 16 kills, 12 digs and nine block assists … Kristen Dealy chipped in 20 digs … the teams have four times played in five-set affairs, with Connecticut gaining the first of its two victories over Notre Dame in 1998 … that was Notre Dame’s first loss to a BIG EAST school since becoming a league member, ending a 41-match winning streak (35 regular season and six tournament matches) … in the semifinals of that season’s BIG EAST Championship, Connecticut won the first two sets before Notre Dame won three straight to ignite a 12-match winning streak against the Huskies … facing a four-point deficit in the fifth set against Connecticut in the 2008 regular season finale, Notre Dame rattled off eight unanswered points to deal the Huskies a 3-2 defeat at the Joyce Center … Notre Dame trailed, 11-7, but was aided by five Connecticut errors over the final stretch to earn the BIG EAST win and the league tournament’s fifth overall seed … Dealy secured her 10th double-double of the season with 16 kills and 17 digs in that match … the two teams then met in the first round of the 2008 BIG EAST Championship and the Irish pulled off their 11th sweep of the season while overcoming a late three-point deficit (21-18) in the third frame before storming back for the win … Christi Gordon had 31 kills in the 2000 match, the third-highest total ever by an Irish player and the last 30-kill match recorded at Notre Dame … former Irish standout Emily Loomis, who was a volunteer assistant coach for Notre Dame in 2008, was an assistant coach for the Huskies in 2007.

– There was not rest for the weary when Notre Dame hit the friendly skies while traveling to No. 8 Hawaii (Oct. 17-18) only to return home for a league bout with USF (Oct. 23) … the Irish dropped both of their matches to the Rainbow Wahine while sweeping the Bulls for their fourth straight league win after beginning the conference slate with a 1-3 mark … Notre Dame hung on to deal the Rainbow Wahine their first home defeat in a set since Sept. 17, snapping their streak of 17-straight victorious frames on the island during a 3-1 loss … senior Kristen Dealy had a match-high 20 scoops during the program’s “Dig Pink” match against USF and notched a double-double (13 kills, 16 digs) during the second of two games at Hawaii … freshman Jeni Houser Notre Dame on the week with 3.10 kills/set while hitting .308 in three matches … Houser pounded Hawaii for 13 kills (.323) in the second match of a twindip on the island and recorded 12 kills (.321) against USF.

– Notre Dame went 2-0 during its first BIG EAST roadswing with wins at Pittsburgh and West Virginia (Oct. 8-9) … paving the way for the Irish over host West Virginia was senior Kristen Dealy and her 16 kills … in fact, Dealy hit an eye-popping .533 on the day without an error in 30 attempts … Dealy also added six digs and a pair of blocks for Notre Dame, which snapped a three-match skid with the two wins … after falling behind, 3-0, in the third set against the Mountaineers, Notre Dame proceeded to go on an 18-1 jaunt to answer WVU’s opening spurt … freshman Toni Alugbue, who was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll, had nine kills in each of the two outings while hitting at a .614 rate against the Panthers.

– The Irish dropped each of their two matches while playing host to Cincinnati and Louisville (Oct. 1-2) … with its league record at 1-3, Notre Dame fell under the .500 mark for the first time since joining the BIG EAST in 1995 (save for a loss to start BIG EAST play at Pittsburgh in 2007) … three of the four sets in the match against Cincinnati were decided by three or fewer points, with Notre Dame having set-point in the first two frames before Cincinnati went on a pair of 3-0 runs to win each stanza … senior Kristen Dealy had 11 kills (.257) and 14 digs with sophomore Sammie Brown adding 35 assists and 14 digs against the Bearcats … no one covered as much ground as senior Frenchy Silva in that contest, who was good for a game-high 24 scoops for her second straight 20+ dig performance … sophomore Andrea McHugh led the Irish with 17 kills and freshman Jeni Houser posted 13 more (.333) with four blocks. – Notre Dame went 1-1 with a loss to Villanova after sweeping Georgetown to open BIG EAST play (Sept. 24-25) … junior Hilary Eppink posted a team-high 10 kills on a .556 clip against the Hoyas … Eppink did not commit an error on 18 swings … Notre Dame stumbled out of the gate and never fully recovered against Villanova … hitting .094 with 11 service errors, Notre Dame fell to the Wildcats, 3-1, during the nationally televised contest on ESPNU with 1,337 fans on hand to watch at Purcell Pavilion … the two teams combined for 23 service errors and Notre Dame failed to record an ace for the first time since facing Northern Iowa on Nov. 7, 2010 … senior Kristen Dealy (25) and Frenchy Silva (22) each eclipsed the 20-dig plateau.

– One day after redeeming a 2010 loss to Western Michigan, Notre Dame swept host Wisconsin to claim the team title at the InnTowner Invitational … senior Kristen Dealy earned MVP honors with senior Frenchy Silva and junior Hilary Eppink earning all-tournament nods … the win on Wisconsin’s home floor was the first ever for the Irish, also giving Notre Dame its first back-to-back wins over the Badgers in the history of the 10-match series.

– Senior Kristen Dealy earned MVP honors at the InnTowner Invite after a strong showing across the board with 3.00 kills/set, 4.29 digs/set and 3.57 points/set.

– Notre Dame’s 1,000-1,000 club inducted a new member in senior Kristen Dealy during a Sept. 16 match against Western Michigan … now with more than 1,000 career kills and 1,000 digs, Dealy is the eighth Irish player ever to join the club and the first since Adrianna Stasiuk did so in 2007.

– Notre Dame is 15-1 all-time in BIG EAST regular-season openers, with the lone loss coming at Pittsburgh to begin the 2007 league slate … all said and done, the Irish are 172-25 (.873) in regular-season play since joining the BIG EAST, including a home record of 95-8 (.922).

– Freshman Jeni Houser was named MVP of the Golden Dome Invitational after leading all players at the four-team event in hitting (.348), kills/set (3.82) and points/set (4.36) … Houser matched a career-high with 19 kills against Portland (Sept. 10) as Notre Dame went 2-1 on the weekend.

– Freshman Toni Alugbue and sophomore Andrea McHugh were named to the Golden Dome Invitational all-tournament team … Alugbue averaged 1.36 blocks/set on the weekend and McHugh shelved a pair of double-doubles and dropped four aces on Portland (Sept. 10).

– A highly efficient and balanced offensive output from Notre Dame helped produce a 3-0 win over visiting Lipscomb (Sept. 9) as the Irish hit .549 as a squad, committing just two errors on 91 swings with 52 kills … with the effort from above the net, Notre Dame set a program record for hitting pct. in a three-set match … the previous best (.539) was set against Marquette in 1986 … it was also the first time the Irish hit over .500 in a contest since a 3-0 win versus DePaul in 2005 … even more, Notre Dame’s side-out pct. on the evening was .840, which included a 12-for-12 effort in the first set.

– Sophomore Sammie Brown became the 11th player in Notre Dame history to record at least 1,000 assists in a career, doing so with a 32-assist effort against Portland (Sept. 10).

– Notre Dame dropped each of its two matches at the Stanford Invitational (Sept. 2-3), falling to both the host Cardinal and St. Mary’s (Calif.).

– Freshman Jeni Houser pounded No. 6 Stanford for a team- and career-high 19 kills … the slugger averaged 3.57 kills/set in the two matches on the West Coast to earn a spot on the Stanford Invitational All-Tournament team.

– Notre Dame opened the season with three wins at the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 26-28) for its best start to a campaign since 2006 … Notre Dame dropped the second set in each of its 3-1 wins over Eastern Michigan, Idaho and Butler … the victory over Butler was the program’s 300th home win … Notre Dame is 302-95 (.760) all-time on its home floor.

– Senior Frenchy Silva, junior Hilary Eppink and sophomore Andrea McHugh were each named to the Shamrock Invitational All-Tournament team … in fact, McHugh was named the tournament’s MVP one day prior to shelving Player of the Week honors from the BIG EAST Conference … McHugh led the Irish with 58 kills in three tournament matches and posted a career-best 25 kills to go along with 13 digs against Idaho … McHugh averaged 4.83 kills and 3.92 digs/set while recording double-digit kills in all three weekend matches.

– A 22-dig performance against Butler (Aug. 28) put senior Frenchy Silva over the 1,000-mark for her career … what’s more, Silva’s 3.36 digs/set average is fourth all-time, and senior Kristen Dealy’s 3.06 digs/set clip ranks fifth … that makes the duo the only classmates ever to rank among the top 10 in digs/set.

– With an Aug. 26 win over Eastern Michigan to begin the 2011 campaign, Notre Dame is 25-7 (20-1 under head coach Debbie Brown) in home openers.

– Notre Dame was picked to finish second in league play according to the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll … the Irish received one first-place vote.

– Co-captains for the 2011 season are seniors Kristen Dealy and Frenchy Silva.

– Senior Kristen Dealy was a preseason all-BIG EAST choice along with sophomore Andrea McHugh.