Freshman setter Maddie Dilfer

Irish Set For Purdue Active Ankle Challenge

Sept. 18, 2014

Weekend NotesGet Acrobat Reader


Notre Dame vs. Morehead State
: Free / Audio: Free
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 – 12 p.m. (ET)
Holloway Gymnasium
Records: Notre Dame (1-7, 0-0 ACC), Morehead State (0-10, 0-0 OVC)

Notre Dame vs. Saint Louis
: Free
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 – 5 p.m. (ET)
Holloway Gymnasium
Records: Notre Dame (1-7, 0-0 ACC), Saint Louis (8-3, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

Notre Dame @ No. 11 Purdue
: Free / Big Ten Network: Check Local Listings / Audio: Free
Match Also On BTN Plus And
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 – 8 p.m. (ET)
Mackey Arena
Records: Notre Dame (1-7, 0-0 ACC), Purdue (8-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

Facebook – NDVolleyball
Twitter – @NDVolleyball
Instagram – NDVBall
Text Alerts – Irish Alert! Text Messaging

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After picking up its first win of the 2014 season in a highly competitive Shamrock Invitational last weekend, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team closes out the early season tournament schedule with the Purdue Active Ankle Challenge this weekend in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Irish (1-7) open the tournament with a pair of Friday matches against Morehead State and Saint Louis, before appearing on national TV (Big Ten Network) against No. 11 Purdue at 8 p.m. Saturday in Mackey Arena.

Fans can follow all three matches through live stats, and links are available on

Notre Dame had a tough start to the 2014 campaign as it tried different lineups with a team that features a plethora of young players (six freshmen). The early-season efforts seemed to pay dividends last weekend as the Irish looked much improved against TCU, Northeastern and Northern Iowa as it bested the Huskies in four sets, while taking the Horned Frogs and Panthers to four sets each in close losses.

In multiple matches last weekend, head coach Debbie Brown started the contest with three freshmen, a sophomore and two seniors on the court in addition to a freshman libero.

The combo seemed to work as senior Jeni Houser dominated the opposition all weekend (47K, .420A%) and received solid support from sophomore Katie Higgins (15K, .464A%) and freshmen Sydney Kuhn (33K, 25D) and Sam Fry (23K, 9B). At setter, the Irish rotated successfully between freshman Maddie Dilfer (83A, 29D, 3SA) and junior Hanna Muzzonigro (51A, 12K, 6B).

For their efforts on the weekend, Houser and Kuhn earned spots on the all-tournament team. For Kuhn, the honor was the second of the season as she also received a position on the Golden Dome Invitational all-tournament team two weeks ago.

New challenges await the Irish in West Lafayette, as they prepare for their third highly ranked Big Ten foe of the young season in the host Boilermakers. First, Notre Dame must maneuver through Morehead State (0-10) and Saint Louis (8-3).

After taking Radford to five sets in the season opener, Morehead State hasn’t had much luck so far this year as it has won only two sets since that first match. The Eagles are hitting .127 on the year and average 10.76 kills per set. Junior middle blocker Hannah Sigala leads the squad with 81 kills and is hitting .250 on the year. She also sits near the top of the team in service aces (6) and blocks (25).

Notre Dame is 1-1 all-time against the Eagles, but hasn’t played them since 1992.

Saint Louis enters the weekend riding a seven-match winning streak, including a 3-2 win at Missouri. Sophomore Danielle Rygelski (144K, 13SA, 110D, 22B) and junior Megan Gilbert (131K, .298A%, 27B) lead the Billikens.

Notre Dame leads Saint Louis 9-4 all-time and beat the Billikens, 3-0, in Lincoln, Neb., in 2012.

The host Boilermakers, meanwhile, boast a confident group that advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals last season and is off to an 8-1 start in 2014. Purdue has swept seven of its nine opponents and have an impressive 3-0 victory over then-No. 14 San Diego. Junior Annie Drews is far and away the Boilermakers’ most active attacker with 129 kills on 273 chances (.293A%). Meanwhile, senior KiKi Jones (61K, .434A%) and sophomore Faye Adelaja (58K, .408A%) both attack at a high percentage. Senior setter Val Nichol averages 11.03 assists per set.

Purdue leads the all-time series, 12-7, including a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Irish last season at the Golden Dome Invitational at Purcell Pavilion.

–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director