Freshman middle blocker Sam Fry is seventh in Division I in blocks per set (1.69).

Irish Welcome In Three Teams For Shamrock Invitational

Sept. 11, 2014

Shamrock Invitational NotesGet Acrobat Reader


TCU @ Notre Dame
: Free / WatchND: Free
Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 – 7 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion
Records: Notre Dame (0-5, 0-0 ACC), TCU (5-2, 0-0 Big 12)

Northeastern @ Notre Dame
: Free / WatchND: Free
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 – 10:30 a.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion
Records: Notre Dame (0-5, 0-0 ACC), Northeastern (4-3, 0-0 CAA)

Northern Iowa @ Notre Dame
: Free / WatchND: Free
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 – 7 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion
Records: Notre Dame (0-5, 0-0 ACC), Northern Iowa (2-5, 0-0 MVC)

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After a tough three-match homestand during last weekend’s Golden Dome Invitational, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team looks to right the ship this weekend as it welcomes in Northeastern, Northern Iowa and TCU to Purcell Pavilion for the Shamrock Invitational.

The two-day tournament gets underway at 4:30 p.m. Friday with two matches and wraps up Saturday with a full day of volleyball action that features four contests.

Notre Dame (0-5) opens its tournament at 7 p.m. Friday with a showdown against the TCU Horned Frogs. The Irish will then play the Northeastern Huskies at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the Northern Iowa Panthers at 7 p.m. Saturday in the tournament finale.

The Irish opened last weekend’s tournament with a heartbreaking 3-1 loss to Washington State. The match went down to the wire and featured a 27-25, fourth-set win for the Cougars that clinched the victory. The loss proved extra costly for Notre Dame as grad student Nicole Smith injured her ankle and was lost for the weekend. Already down senior outside hitter Toni Alugbue, who is out for the year with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the Irish struggled mightily against IUPUI and Western Michigan in the final two matches of the tourney.

Despite the losses, the freshman trio of Sam Fry (MB), Sydney Kuhn (OH) and Natalie Johnson (L) continued their stellar play as all three earned starting roles.

Fry leads the team in points (50.5), total blocks (27), solo blocks (4) and block assists (23), while placing second in service aces (3) and kills (32). Already second in the ACC in blocks per set, Fry is seventh in Division I in the same category.

After playing sparingly in the season’s first weekend, Kuhn made her presence known against the Cougars as she tallied team highs in kills (14) and attack percentage (.382) to go along with nine digs. The 14 kills was the most by an Irish freshman since teammate Jeni Houser had 17 against Syracuse in 2011. Kuhn earned a spot on the all-tournament team for her efforts on the weekend.

Johnson, meanwhile, has been the team’s starting libero the entire season and reached double-figures in digs in all three matches last weekend, including a season-best 16 against Washington State.

The opponents for the Shamrock Invitational are fairly new for the Irish (five total meetings). Notre Dame and TCU are meeting for the first time, while the Irish and Northeastern have met only once (1992). Northern Iowa, however, was a fairly common opponent for the Irish between 2001-10, as the two squads met four times with the Panthers winning all four contests.

Northern Iowa (2-5) was picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference during the preseason, but has struggled out of the gates and comes to Purcell with a four-match losing streak. Sophomore Leigh Pudwill leads UNI in kills (84), while libero Amie Held averages 4.79 digs per set.

TCU (5-2) has gotten off to fast start this year and boasts a 3-2 win over Miami, an Atlantic Coast Conference rival of Notre Dame. Senior opposite-side hitter Stephanie Holland leads the team in kills (72) and is attacking at a .338 clip.

Northeastern (4-3) has won three of its last four matches, but is coming off a 3-1 setback to Rhode Island Tuesday night. Freshman Brigitte Burcescu leads the Huskies with 91 kills, while sophomore Caterina Rosander is hitting .322 and has a team-high 22 blocks.

Tickets are on sale at Purcell Pavilion for the entire weekend. Fans that come to Friday night’s match against the Frogs will receive a free t-shirt while supplies last.

For those fans that can’t make it out, all six matches will be available through live stats and WatchND’s free video stream. Links are available on

–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director