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ND Volleyball: Team takes two Big East wins

Joe Wirth | Sunday, October 7, 2012

After sweeping Connecticut and St. John’s this weekend, the Irish have won six of their last seven matches, including three straight wins.

With the two victories, the Irish (12-6, 5-1 Big East) climbed into a tie for second in the Big East, just one game behind conference leader Marquette.

On Saturday, the Irish were in full control of the Huskies from start to finish, defeating Connecticut 3-0. Irish coach Debbie Brown said it was a solid win for the team, as players who do not get a lot of playing time made solid contributions to the victory. Sixteen Irish players saw action against the Huskies (12-8, 3-2).

“We played well against [Connecticut],” Brown said. “They really did not give us a lot of pressure, but we hit a high percentage of our shots and we were able to get a lot of players playing time.”

Junior Maggie Brindock’s 27 assists led the Irish while senior Hilary Eppink added nine kills and four blocks. It was Eppink’s fourth straight match with at least nine kills.

Sunday’s game brought a different challenge to the Irish. Brown said although St. John’s was ahead of the Irish in the conference standings, the team did not feel that beating the Red Storm (17-4, 4-1) was an upset.

“They were on top of the conference standings, but they have played a softer schedule and, going into the game, it was a team we thought we should beat,” Brown said. “We played well and we are happy to come out with a win, but I would not say that this win gave us an extra confidence boost.”

Sophomore Jeni Houser had 16 kills and seven blocks in the match as the Irish beat the Red Storm 3-1. Houser now has 16 straight matches with at least 10 kills. Freshman Taylor Morey chipped in 13 digs, four assists and three aces.

As the Irish hit a critical juncture of their season, Brown said the team is on the right track, but there are still things they can improve upon.

“Our biggest strength at this point of the season is probably our balanced offense,” Brown said. “We still have to get better at scoring when we are serving, but our big hitters have stepped up and Andrea [McHugh] and Taylor [Morey] have really done well passing, which has helped our offense.”

The Irish will be in action next this Friday as they hit the road for a match against DePaul in Chicago.  

 

Contact Joe Wirth at jwirth@nd.edu