Aug. 30, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame volleyball team opens up its home portion of the schedule this weekend when the Irish welcome in UAB, Buffalo and Eastern Kentucky to Purcell Pavilion for the annual Shamrock Invitational.
Competition gets underway on Friday night when Buffalo and Eastern Kentucky do battle at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Irish get the weekend started with a 7 p.m. ET showdown with UAB. Saturday will see UAB and Eastern Kentucky meet at 4:30 p.m. ET, with Notre Dame and Buffalo playing at 7 p.m. ET. The invitational wraps up on Sunday as Buffalo and UAB meet at 11:30 a.m. ET and the Irish face Eastern Kentucky at 2 p.m.
The Irish (1-2) are coming off a tough opening weekend that saw them battle defending national champion and preseason No. 1 UCLA and then No. 4 and now No. 1 Nebraska. Notre Dame took the Bruins to four sets in the opening contest of the season, but fell 3-1. After sweeping Saint Louis 3-0 on Saturday, the Irish dropped a three-set match to the Cornhuskers in front of over 7,000 Nebraska fans at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., on Sunday.
For their efforts on the opening weekend, libero Taylor Morey and opposite side hitter Jeni Houser earned recognition from the BIG EAST. Morey, a freshman, earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week accolades after tallying 50 digs in her first three matches in the blue and gold. Included in that total was a 29-dig performance in her first collegiate match against the Bruins. Houser tallied 37 kills in three contests, including a 17-dig performance against UCLA in which the Louisville, Ky., native hit .464.
Also playing well for Notre Dame during its first weekend was sophomore right side hitter Toni Alugbue (35 kills, 23 digs, four blocks) and co-setters Sammie Brown (57 assists) and Maggie Brindock (47 assists).
Notre Dame is looking for its second consecutive Shamrock Invitational title after it defeated Eastern Michigan, Idaho and Butler by a combined score of 9-3 in 2011.
UAB (1-3) defeated UC Davis and fell to Texas-San Antonio, Middle Tennessee State and Furman in a five-team tourney in Murfreesboro, Tenn., last weekend. They are paced by Sam Serley’s 41 kills (2.41 k/s) and 23 blocks and Rachel Fairbanks’ 90 digs (5.29 dig/s).
Eastern Kentucky (2-1) defeated Youngstown State and McNeese State before falling to Michigan State 3-0 during the season’s opening weekend. The Colonels have a balanced front line that sees four players with 20 or more kills, including a team-high 36 kills (3.27 k/s) from Ashley Edmond. Setter Abbey Cvelbar averages 8.64 assists per set and has 95 overall.
Buffalo (2-1) defeated Canisius and Oral Roberts, bookending a 3-1 lose to San Jose State. The Bulls are paced by setter Dani Reinert (120 assists, 9.23 a/s) and Lain Akelia (18 kills, 20 blocks, 1.54 b/s).
Fans can follow all six matches via live stats and all Notre Dame matches via live stream on UND.com.
For those attending the tournament, individual match tickets are still available ($5 adults, $3 youth and seniors), as are season tickets ($35 adults, $20 youth and seniors). An autograph session will follow Friday’s contest against the Blazers and a free reception with snacks at Club Naimoli will occur after the match with the Colonels. The team will be available to chat with fans at the reception. All weekend free season posters will be available for fans to pick up.