Oct. 20, 2016
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Irish (16-4, 7-1) try to keep their perfect ACC road record intact this weekend, as the team travels to Pitt (14-6, 5-3) to play the Panthers at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21 and then heads to Blacksburg, Virginia to face Virginia Tech (8-11, 3-5) at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23.
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa. | Blacksburg, Va.
Schedule: Friday, Oct. 21 — 7 p.m. EST at Pitt | | LIVE STREAM
Sunday, Oct. 23 — 1 p.m. EST at Virginia Tech | LIVE STATS | LIVE STREAM
Twitter Updates: @NDVolleyball
HEAD COACH JIM MCLAUGHLIN’S THOUGHTS
On the weekend’s matchups…
“Both teams have good players, have good systems and are well coached. We will be on the raod in the ACC so we will have challenges. We just have to keep moving forward in terms of our progress and get ready for those challenges.”
On the team’s ability to get off to good starts in matches…
“We put value on each point and every situation and we play each point like it is a life of its own. Early points are as critical as late points. One or two points can define a game and sometimes a match. You don’t know when those plays are going to happen so you have to be ready in all situations and do the best you can.”
On preparing for the final stretch of the season…
“We keep the routines the same and the mindset is the same but we are contstantly working to get better. We understand that there is a lot we have to keep improving on. The better you get the harder it is to improve but great teams find a way to keep getting better. The one thing you change is you have to reduce volume in terms of repition but you keep the intensity high and keep your mechanics in place.”
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
A number of Irish players are moving up both the single season and career record charts (25-point scoring era; 2008-present), including:
- Ryann DeJarld – Career Digs (822 – 4th Place), Career Aces (58 – 8th)
- Sam Fry – Career Kills (764 – 6th), Career Aces (63, T-4th), Career Blocks (293, 4th)
- Sydney Kuhn – Career Kills (573, 9th), Career Aces (63, T-4th)
- Caroline Holt – Career Assists (766, 5th), Single-Season Assists (766, 8th)
The Irish have been exceptional when playing away from home this season, posting a record of 8-1 in road and neutral matches this season. Notre Dame is undefeated on the road in the ACC posting victories over Miami, Syracuse and Boston College, all in straight sets.
BREAK OUT THE BROOMS
Of Notre Dame’s 16 wins this season, 11 have come in straight-set fashion. The 11 sweeps are more than the last three years combined. The Irish started the season with three consecutive sweeps, claiming wins over Seton Hall, Cleveland State and Western Michigan and have recoreded five straight-set wins in ACC play against Louisville, Miami, Syracuse, Boston College and NC State.
SCOUTING THE IRISH
Notre Dame is off to its best start since the 2005 season, posting a 16-4 record. Notre Dame enters Friday’s match winners of eight of its last nine matches and have a 7-1 mark in the ACC. The Irish have posted league wins over Louisville, (3-0), Miami (3-0), Duke (3-1), Wake Forest (3-1), Syracuse (3-0), Boston College (3-0) and NC State. Notre Dame’s lone loss came against No. 8 North Carolina in a five-set marathon. Freshman outside hitter Jemma Yeadon leads the Irish attack, totaling a team-high 186 kills on the season to average 2.91 per set. Junior setter Caroline Holt leads the ACC and rankes 23rd nationally in assists per set, averaging 10.94 on the season.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
Pittsburgh enters Friday’s showdown with a 14-6 record on the season and a mark of 5-3 in conference play. The Panthers have dropped three of their last four matches in the past two weeks, with the only victory coming over Miami in a 3-1 decision. Pittsburgh has two marquee victories this season, both coming in non-conference play, as the Panthers defeated No. 25 Colorado State and No. 22 Michigan, both in five sets. The team is ranked second in the league in aces and third in kills. Pitt is led offensively by the duo of Stephanie Williams and Mariah Bell, as each player averages more than 3.2 kills per set.
SERIES HISTORY VS. PITT
The Irish have a commanding lead over the Panthers in the all-time series, posting a record of 23-10. However, Pitt has won each of the last three meetings, all in straight sets. Notre Dame’s last victory over the Panthers come Nov. 3, 2013 in a five-setter in Purcell Pavilion.
SCOUTING THE HOKIES
Virginia Tech comes into the weekend with a record of 8-11 and a 3-5 mark in the ACC. The Hokies went 1-3 over their two week roadtrip, recording a sweep over Wake Forest before falling to Duke (3-1), Florida State (3-2) and Miami (3-0). Virginia Tech is led by senior Lindsey Owens, who averages 3.32 kills per set to rank ninth in the ACC. Junior Cara Cunningham anchors the Hokies’ block, posting an average of 1.31 per set.
SERIES HISTORY VS. VIRGINIA TECH
Notre Dame narrowly trails the Hokies in the all-time series, going 3-4 against Virigina Tech in program history. The Irish have dropped each of the last two meetings in straight sets. Notre Dame’s last win came on Nov. 20, 2013 via a 3-1 triumph in Purcell Pavilion. The Irish have never won when playing at Virigina Tech.
— ND —
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men’s lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.