Oct. 11, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Riding a three-match winning streak, the Notre Dame volleyball team hits the road for the first time since Sept. 23 as it makes the short trip to Chicago for a Friday meeting with the DePaul Blue Demons. The match is slated for 8 p.m. (ET) at McGrath Arena.
The Irish (12-6, 5-1 BIG EAST) enter the contest against the Blue Demons (6-13, 1-5 BIG EAST) with a three-match winning streak after knocking off Syracuse (3-0), Connecticut (3-0) and St. John’s (3-1) at home over the last two weekends.
Eppink, who has nine or more kills in five straight matches, has poured in 51 kills over those five matches after having 55 in the first 13 matches combined. The Westfield, Ind., product has also been hitting efficiently in those five matches, attacking at a .388 clip.
Houser had a strong weekend in the matches against the Huskies and Red Storm as she tallied 24 kills and 12 blocks while hitting .537. For her efforts the Louisville, Ky., native earned a spot on the BIG EAST’s Weekly Honor Roll for the second time this year.
The Irish have displayed improved serving over their three-match winning streak as they have 18 aces while limiting their errors to just over seven a contest. Leading the charge is freshman Taylor Morey, who had three each in matches against UConn and St. John’s after producing 10 in the first 16 matches of the season.
DePaul enters the match having lost 10 of its last 13, including seven of its last eight. Included in the losses are consecutive 3-1 defeats to St. John’s and UConn last weekend and earlier losses to Cincinnati (3-1) and Louisville (3-0) on the road, all Notre Dame victories.
The Blue Demons boast four players with 130-plus kills, led by Vesela Zapryanova’s 238. Natalie Rizzo rounds out the group with 133 kills, but hits at a .340 mark, .064 higher than any of the other three and .142 higher than Zapryanova.
Notre Dame is 13-4 all-time against DePaul, including a perfect 7-0 mark in BIG EAST play. Last year the Irish won 3-1 in Chicago.
For fans not able to make the match, DePaul offers live stats and a paid video feed.
– The Irish are 13-4 all-time against DePaul, including a perfect 7-0 in BIG EAST play … last year the Irish knocked off the Blue Demons, 3-1.
– 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).
– Senior Marie Roof has recorded three or more blocks in 13 of the 17 matches and leads the team in blocks with a 0.97 per set average.
– Freshman libero Taylor Morey has led or tied for the team lead in digs in 17 of the 18 matches this season and has reached double-figures in 17 of the 18 matches as well.
– After producing 55 kills in the first 13 matches of the season, senior Hilary Eppink has been on fire as of late, tallying 51 kills in her last five matches, while hitting .388.
– 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.
– 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.