Junior Toni Alugbue earned a spot on the all-tournament team after totaling 35 kills and 22 digs over the weekend.

Volleyball Kicks Off 2013 Preseason With Hard Work And A Great Meal

Aug. 12, 2013

Day One Photos

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Usually a full three-course meal only requires one stop at a restaurant or home, but for the University of Notre Dame volleyball team it took three Saturday as the Irish kicked off their 2013 preseason camp with a progressive dinner that led them to three different houses for appetizers, the entrée and dessert.

After a lively practice where the team scrimmaged to get back into the swing of things and assimilate two newcomers into the fold (freshmen Simmone Collins and Katie Higgins), squad members were split into three groups and charged with cooking for their fellow teammates. Off to Martin’s Supermarket they went to gather items to fix. One team had responsibility for appetizers, another the main course and the third had desserts.

They then went to three separate coaches’ homes where they prepared their respective meals. After the various courses were ready the team stopped at each location to feast on the players’ cooking. Stop one featured appetizers and included head coach Debbie Brown’s famous corn salsa, chips and guacamole and a salad. Stop two featured enchiladas and a taco bar, while the last house saw the team take down peanut butter pie and cupcakes among many desserts.

After each course the team played games and did more team activities that included going over individual and team goals for the upcoming season.

Junior honorable mention All-American Toni Alugbue praised the entire day as a great team bonding experience and said she was impressed with Sammie Brown’s enchiladas, noting jokingly that she “didn’t realize Sammie could cook.”

“Making the meal together was a great team bonding activity,” said Alugbue. “You wouldn’t think of it like that, but it allowed us to communicate with our teammates in order to make sure we had the right ingredients for each course.

“Our scrimmage in the morning was upbeat and it felt good to get back out on the court. The team activities after dinner allowed us to have fun all the while focus in on the upcoming season.”

Sunday marked the squad’s first of eight scheduled two-a-day workouts.

“The practices were intense and high energy,” said Alugbue. “I would say we have been more vocal and have more energy than in past years.”

“The start of every season is always really exciting and everyone comes in full of optimism and this season is no different,” said Brown. “With us being in the Atlantic Coast Conference it adds a new element of enthusiasm. We are so excited to be back in the gym and get to work as we get ready to see what the new league brings us.”

Notre Dame continues practice today with weights in the morning and a three-hour practice in the afternoon. Tuesday will be a fun day for the team, as players will film videos that will appear on the video board at Purcell Pavilion all season during home matches.

The Irish kick off the 2013 campaign Aug. 31 when they meet ACC foe North Carolina in a non-conference match at the Blue Raider Bash in Murfreesboro, Tenn.