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ND Volleyball: Conference competition comes to campus

Joe Wirth | Friday, October 5, 2012

As league play heats up, the Irish will face two important conference home matches this weekend as they take on UConn and St. John’s.

Both games will present a tremendous challenge for the Irish (10-6, 3-1 Big East), who are coming off of a weekend split of Syracuse and Marquette.

The Huskies (11-7, 3-1) have two of the best outside hitters in the Big East with senior Mattison Quayle and sophomore Devon Maugle. Quayle and Maugle have recorded a large portion of the kills for the Huskies. Quayle has the most kills with 186, but Maugle leads the team in kills per set with 3.39.

Irish coach Debbie Brown said both teams will challenge the Irish, but St. John’s (16-3, 3-0) is a talented team and a definite contender.

“Probably the biggest challenge [St. John’s] brings to the table is that they have a lot of new players,” Brown said. “They have many international players who have a lot of experience, but we have not seen much of them. Of course, we are looking at tape, but we will have to rely on in-game adjustments.”

Some of the new players coach Brown referenced include Karin Palgutova, who is a freshman and is second on the team with 187 kills, and Milica Krstojevice, a senior in her first year with the Red Storm after stints at Florida State College at Jacksonville and Oregon.

The Red Storm player the Irish will be most concerned about is sophomore Alexsandra Wachowicz, who leads the team with 205 kills ans 3.20 kills per set. Brown said it helps to have a home-court advantage anytime you play tough competition.

“Our players love playing at home,” Brown said. “We do not have to put up with the hassle of traveling and we get an extra practice day we would not normally get if we were playing on the road. The players get to sleep in their own beds and there is an extra level of comfort and confidence when we play at home.”

The Irish will take on the Huskies on Saturday at the Purcell Pavilion at 2 p.m. and play the Red Storn Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Purcell Pavilion.

Contact Joe Wirth at jwirth@nd.edu