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ND Volleyball: Alugbue earns Big East honors

Laura Coletti | Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For the second consecutive week, a member of the Irish was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.

Sophomore right side hitter Toni Alugbue turned in a stellar performance over the weekend at Notre Dame’s annual Shamrock Invitational and earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award along with the conference honor.

Alugbue’s 49 kills in 103 chances helped the Irish (4-2) win all three matches last weekend. She also chipped in 19 digs and four blocks over the course of the tournament.

“It is a great honor to be honored by the Big East conference,” Alugbue said. “It feels good to have made such an impact this weekend. This award is reflective of the great chemistry that I had with my setters this weekend.”

Alugbue stepped up in a big way in Notre Dame’s 3-1 win over Buffalo. She doled out 21 kills on 30 chances with no errors, good for a .700 attack percentage. Her accuracy made her only the second player to ever hit .700 or higher in a four-set match with a minimum of four attacks a set average. Alugbue’s performance was fueled by Notre Dame’s disappointment in the outcome of their opening weekend in Nebraska.

“Coming back from two losses at Nebraska last weekend motivated me this past weekend,” she said. “I wanted to come back and work on the things that I struggled with against UCLA and Nebraska. In those matches, I played with such in confidence that I’d never played with before. I wanted to recreate that fire and competitive attitude that I had in those matches.”

Alugbue’s performances over the first two weekends of competition have been a continuation of a great freshman campaign. After adjusting to the game at the collegiate level, Alugbue has her sights set on greater goals for this season.

“Freshman year I was learning about the speed of the game and the system we used,” she said. “I earned the starting middle blocker job, and that gave me a lot of confidence, knowing that I had an impact on the team. I became a lot a stronger in the off-season not only physically, but mentally as well. I feel this has made me into a much better volleyball player.

“As a sophomore, I’ve set high goals for myself and goals for my team. Coach Brown expects a lot of great things out of me this year, but most importantly she wants me to have fun while doing this.”

The Irish are looking forward to some more intense competition this weekend when they travel to California. Alugbue is especially excited to be returning to her home state and playing in front of family and friends.

“My team and I are expecting to win all three matches this weekend,” she said. “USC, University of San Diego, and Cal Poly are all great teams. We proved our opening weekend that we can compete with top-25 teams. This weekend, we need to play steady and limit our unforced errors. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe in my team and I know we will come out on top. I’m from [Los Angeles] so I’m really excited to being going home and playing in front my family and friends. I plan on having a lot of fun this weekend and bringing the confidence that I’ve had.”


Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu