Oct. 17, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Coming off its third 3-0 sweep in four matches, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team continues its three-match road swing with contests against Georgetown on Friday night and Villanova on Sunday.
The matchup with the Hoyas (6-14, 0-7 BIG EAST) gets underway at 8 p.m. (ET) on Friday, while the contest with the Wildcats (10-11, 4-3 BIG EAST) begins at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. Fans can follow both matches by live stats or by paying for each school’s online video feed. Links for all can be found on the volleyball schedule page on UND.com.
After starting the year 5-4 with all four losses coming to top-20 foes, the Irish have won eight of their last 10 to improve their record to 13-6, including 6-1 in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame enters the weekend as winners of four straight matches including 3-0 sweeps over Syracuse, Connecticut and DePaul.
Georgetown has had a tough go of it in conference play as it has lost its first seven BIG EAST matches and 13 matches overall after starting the year off 6-1. Included in the BIG EAST losses are set backs against St. John’s and Connecticut, both teams the Irish knocked off at home.
Outside hitter Alex Johnson leads the Hoyas with a 3.71 kills per set average, while middle blocker Dani White provides a presence at the net as she averages 2.92 kills per set and leads the team in blocks with 1.17 per set.
Villanova started out 0-2 in BIG EAST play with losses to Connecticut and St. John’s, but has since rebounded to four of five conference matches. The Wildcats had a tough stretch of matches from Sept. 14-23 when they went 0-6, but the squad is 10-5 in their other 15 contests. They are led by true freshman Lauren Carpenter, who averages 2.77 kills per set, but is only hitting .121. Fellow freshman Gabby Pethokoukis adds 1.85 kills per set while leading the team in blocks with 1.11 per set.
Notre Dame returns home next weekend for matches against Pittsburgh and USF. The match against the Panthers will be played in the North Dome of the Joyce Center at 7 p.m. on Friday due to the NBA exhibition game going on at the same time in Purcell Pavilion, while the contest against the Bulls begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Purcell Pavilion and will be Notre Dame’s annual Dig Pink match. More details on this special day will be provided in the days leading up to the match.
– Notre Dame is 21-1 all-time against Georgetown, including a perfect 17-0 in BIG EAST play … last year the Irish swept the Hoyas, 25-11, 25-21, 25-14 … the lone loss came in a three-set affair in 1999 when scoring went to 15.
– The Irish are 18-4 all-time against Villanova, including 13-4 in BIG EAST play … last year the Wildcats knocked off the Irish at Purcell Pavilion, 18-25, 25-15, 19-25, 19-25.
– After producing 55 kills in the first 13 matches of the season, senior Hilary Eppink has been on fire as of late, tallying 61 kills in her last six matches … Eppink is hitting .403 during the run and is averaging 2.65 kills per set.
– In BIG EAST play the Irish have been led by the hot hitting of outside hitter Jeni Houser and middle blocker Hilary Eppink … Houser has 88 kills and is hitting .383, while Eppink has 66 kills and is hitting .394 … Toni Alugbue leads the team with 96 kills in league play, good for an average of 3.43 per set.
– Freshman libero Taylor Morey has led or tied for the team lead in digs in 18 of 19 matches this season and has reached double-figures in 18 of 19 matches as well … has six matches with 20-plus digs.
– After splitting setting duties for much of the first part of the season, junior tri-captain Maggie Brindock has turned in four 50-plus assist matches since Sept. 16 against Kansas … has seven matches with 40 or more assists this year.
– Senior Marie Roof has recorded three or more blocks in 14 of 19 matches and leads the team in blocks with a 0.96 per set average.
– Toni Alugbue has recorded double-doubles (kills and digs) in eight matches including five straight matches from Sept. 14 – 23 … Maggie Brindock also has eight (assists and digs) … Andrea McHugh has six (kills and digs).
– Including the matchup with Marquette on Sept. 29, Notre Dame opened BIG EAST play with the preseason one, two and four teams in the league … then-No. 10 Louisville was picked first (3-2 win), Marquette was picked second (3-2 loss), the Irish were picked third and Cincinnati was picked fourth (3-2 win) … Notre Dame went 3-1 in those matches.
– After losing to then-No. 1 UCLA (3-1), then-No. 4 Nebraska (3-0), then-No. 17 San Diego (3-2) and then-No. 5 USC (3-0) to open the season, the Irish picked up their first win over a ranked foe this season on Sept. 23 against then-No. 10 Louisville (3-2) … it was the first win over a ranked team since then-No. 5 Stanford on Sept. 29, 2009 (3-0).
– The win over Louisville also marked the first time this season Notre Dame has rallied from a 0-2 hole to win and improved the Irish to 3-1 in five-set matches this year.
– The Irish have broken three winning streaks of seven matches or longer this season … with a 3-1 win over Kansas (now No. 21), ND broke the Jayhawks’ nine-match winning streak … in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over then No. 10 Louisville (now No. 15), the Irish broke the Cardinals’ 10-match winning streak … with a 3-1 win over St. John’s, Notre Dame snapped the Red Storm’s seven-match winning streak.
– With a 3-1 win over Buffalo on Sept. 1, head coach Debbie Brown picked up her 600th career win … she won 117 at Arizona State from 1980-88 and has been with the Irish ever since … Brown also won her 100th BIG EAST regular-season home match with a win over St. John’s (3-1) on Oct. 7.