Sept. 27, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Fresh off a pair of five-set thrillers last weekend against Cincinnati and then-No. 10 Louisville that helped produce a 2-0 BIG EAST start for the 16th time in 18 years, the Notre Dame volleyball team returns to Purcell Pavilion this weekend to open the BIG EAST home slate against Marquette and Syracuse.
The Irish meet the Golden Eagles on Saturday at 2 p.m., with the match against the Orange set for Sunday at 2 p.m. Both matches will be streamed live online for free on UND.com and can also be followed via live stats. Fans can also get match updates by following Notre Dame volleyball on Facebook (facebook.com/NDVolleyball) or Twitter (@NDVolleyball).
Notre Dame (9-5, 2-0 BIG EAST) rallied in a pair of BIG EAST matches last weekend to run its winning streak to three entering the weekend. Trailing 2-1 against Cincinnati, the Irish won the final two sets to open the BIG EAST slate with a win. On Sunday Notre Dame was down 2-0 to the highly ranked Cardinals before coming all the way back for a 3-2 win. Included in the win was a dominant 15-3 fifth set to clinch the match for the Irish.
The Irish received votes in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll after their two weekend wins as they are tied for 35th with seven votes. Marquette is just behind at 37th with six votes.
For her efforts in helping the Irish to a perfect start in BIG EAST play, sophomore Toni Alugbue was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week. In Friday’s win against the Bearcats, Alugbue notched career highs in kills (26), blocks (7) and attempts (54) as she hit .426 for the match. On Sunday she came back with 18 kills and career-high 18 digs in a in a win over the No. 10 Cardinals.
Marquette (10-3, 1-0 BIG EAST) took down Syracuse (3-0) on Saturday to kick off conference play in winning fashion. The Golden Eagles have played two top-25 teams this season, topping then-No. 23 Michigan, 3-1, before falling to then-No. 25 Northern Iowa, 3-2. The squad has four players that all have more than 100 kills; with Lindsey Gosh leading the way with a 3.24 kills a set average. Setter Elizabeth Koberstein averages 11.39 assists per set.
The Golden Eagles find themselves atop the BIG EAST charts in many categories including hitting percentage (.256), assists (12.98 per set) and kills (14.09 per set).
Syracuse (7-8, 0-1 BIG EAST) has met two ranked teams this season, dropping a 3-0 decision to then-No. 21 Kansas State before upsetting then-No. 18 Iowa State 3-2 in Ames, Iowa. The Orange are led by Silvi Uattara, who averages 3.58 kills per set and Samantha Hinz, who leads the team with 1.06 blocks per set.
This weekend is “Bring A Kid To The Match Weekend,” where an adult can buy a walk up ticket and receive a youth ticket of equal or lesser value for free. There is also a post-match reception at Club Naimoli following Sunday’s match where all fans can have the opportunity to interact with the juniors and senior volleyball student-athletes.
– The Irish are 18-2 against Syracuse, including 15-1 in BIG EAST play … the Orange beat the Irish in the first-ever meeting of the two teams in 1981, 3-1, and again in 2011 during the regular season, 3-1 … Notre Dame got revenge just five days later in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament with a 3-1 victory in Milwaukee, Wis.
– Including the matchup with Marquette on Friday, Notre Dame has 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, the Irish were picked third and Cincinnati was picked fourth (3-2 win).
– Notre Dame is 17-0 all-time in BIG EAST home openers.
– 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 last Sunday 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.
– After Notre Dame’s first six wins came against teams from non-BCS conference schools, the Irish have won three straight against BCS conference schools – Kansas (3-1), Cincinnati (3-2) and then-No. 10 Louisville (3-2).
– Senior Marie Roof has recorded three blocks or more in five straight matches and leads the team in blocks with a 1.00 per set average.
– 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.