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ND Volleyball: Irish take two in Garden State

Joe Wirth | Monday, November 5, 2012

The Irish extended their winning streak to 10 as they completed the Garden State sweep with victories at Seton Hall and Rutgers this weekend.

The winning streak marks the longest for the program since their 15-game winning streak in 2009 and keeps them in a three-way tie for the Big East lead with Louisville and Marquette.

Despite being out-hit and out-blocked, the Irish (19-6, 12-1 Big East) defeated the Pirates 3-1 in a gritty performance on Friday.

Sophomore outside hitter Toni Alugbue led the team with 17 kills and 13 digs in the game. She also got help from junior setter Maggie Brindock, who recorded her 10th double-double with 51 assists and 11 digs.

The team also received solid contributions from sophomore right side hitter Jeni Houser who recorded 15 kills and freshman libero Taylor Morey who had 21 digs, seven assists and two service aces.

The Irish then travelled down to New Brunswick, N.J., to take on the Scarlet Knights on Sunday afternoon.

The team got off to a slow start, but, despite the shaky beginning, coach Debbie Brown said the team never lost confidence and believed they could get back in the match.

“We were very error-prone in the first set,” Brown said. “We had bad execution early and really dug ourselves a hole. We made a comeback towards the end of the set, but it was too big of a deficit.”

After the first set, the Irish were able to rally and win three straight sets to record the win.

“Our confidence never waned,” Brown said. “We started serving and passing a lot better in the later sets and I was really pleased at how we took control of the match.”

Alugbue and Brindock once again had standout performances as both players notched 12 kills.  In addition to the 12 kills, Brindock recorded 38 assists and 12 digs and earned herself a triple-double.

“Maggie really was great today,” Brown said. “She was attacking in the front row and was really able to see where the defenders were going and make plays.”

The Irish were also able to overcome the early deficit with a solid performance from senior middle blocker Hilary Eppink who had nine kills and four blocks.

The Irish will next be in action this Friday against Cincinnati in the team’s final home match of the season. The match will start at 7 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion.


Contact Joe Wirth at jwirth@nd.edu