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ND VOLLEYBALL: Team set for match with Loyola

Tom Dorwart | Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It’s time they step up.

Sophomore libero/outside hitter Adrianna Stasiuk knows it, and her teammates know it, too.

The Irish feel they may have played down to the level of their competition so far this season. And while Notre Dame swept by Seton Hall Sunday afternoon, the Irish know they can do better.

“We really were focusing on our side of the net and not so much their side of the net [at practice today],” said Stasiuk, who has provided a major boost to her team since returning from an off-season injury.

Notre Dame (8-1, 1-0 Big East) will face Loyola-Chicago (3-9, 2-0 Horizon League) on the road in Alumni Gym in the midweek non-conference clash.

While the Irish have had only a day to prepare for tonight’s match, they have done the best they can. Notre Dame played a Sunday match and just now turned its focus towards tonight.

“Today, we scouted,” Stasiuk said. “We had film. We went over their hitters and part of their offense. But basically, we practiced our offense a lot.”

The Irish have not overlooked the Ramblers, but they haven’t worried, either. They respect their opponent but realize as long as they play their game, they’re fine.

“We have to get better at playing average teams,” Stasiuk said. “That was one of the things Coach Brown said … we have to control our side of the net no matter what team we’re playing.”

The Irish came into the week as the only team in the nation to rank in the top-15 in both blocks (8) and digs (14).

Today’s road trip to Chicago for a 7 p.m. match begins a grueling stretch for the Irish, but also a stretch they are willing and ready to handle.

“We’re all ready to go,” Stasiuk said. “We’re energized.”

Besides an Oct. 5 home match, the Irish won’t play in the state of Indiana until Oct. 21, with seven of their next eight matches away from home.

Despite Loyola’s 3-9 overall record, Notre Dame knows it’s in for a dogfight, and it knows it cannot take the Horizon League team lightly.

The Irish have put together a solid week after their first loss of the season against LSU. After playing a sloppy tournament that weekend – barely beating Tulane and getting handled by the spirited LSU squad – the Irish are determined to play at their own level.