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ND Volleyball

Irish to host Golden Dome Invitational

| Thursday, September 4, 2014

After a tough weekend at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Notre Dame is already looking ahead to this weekend’s competition at the Golden Dome Invitational, held Friday through Sunday at the Purcell Pavilion.

The Golden Dome Invitational, one of four regular-season tournaments the Irish are scheduled to play in 2014, is entering its fourth year and will mark the first time the squad will play against competitors at home this season. Irish coach Debbie Brown said she believes this will be a great test for her players, who will be matched up against Washington State, IUPUI and Western Michigan.

Irish senior outside hitter Meg Vonderhaar follows through after a dig during Notre Dame’s 3-1 victory over Virginia Tech on Nov. 20.Caroline Genco | The Observer

Irish senior outside hitter Meg Vonderhaar follows through after a dig during Notre Dame’s 3-1 victory over Virginia Tech on Nov. 20.

“Each of these teams will bring us different challenges,” Brown said. “I love it because we will be forced to play hard in every match, which is the attitude I’m looking to instill in my players. You have to fight hard for every single point. None of these teams are going to give points away. We’re going to have to earn them.”

In spite of the team’s home-court advantage, the Irish will also be challenged in this weekend’s tournament due to the short turnaround times. With less than 24 hours between matches, Notre Dame will battle against Washington State on Friday, IUPUI on Saturday and Western Michigan on Sunday.

“As of right now, we’ve focused all of our energy on Washington State,” Brown said. “It’s challenging with weekend tournaments because you really just have to take it a day at a time. So after we play Washington State, we will have a short amount of time to strategize and think about IUPUI and then turn it around really quickly to prepare for Western Michigan.”

Despite a poor performance in last weekend’s tournament, in which the Irish failed to win a single set against either No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 18 Minnesota, Brown said the team has learned from its mistakes and feel better equipped for this weekend’s match-ups.

“The main thing that we have been working on in practice is our serve receive offense,” Brown said. “We were really poor in that area against Wisconsin, so we have definitely made some adjustments on that front. That was the number one area which had a pretty significant impact on our overall performance.”

With improvements made on offense and a solid week of practices in the books, Brown said she looks forward to seeing her players continually develop not only as individuals but as a team unit.

“It’s just fun to see the girls play together as a team,” Brown said. “With it being so early in the season, I think I’m looking forward to seeing the girls evolve and work together. We have a really great blend of seniors … sophomores and freshmen, so I’m hoping that the girls can gel and figure out a way to successfully become cohesive as a team.”

Notre Dame features six freshman, two sophomores, five seniors, one junior and one graduate student.

The Irish open up the Golden Dome Invitational on Friday, when they will host Washington State at 7:30 p.m. in the Purcell Pavilion. On Saturday, they play IUPUI at 3:30 p.m., before finishing the tourney with a matchup against Western Michigan at 2 p.m.

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About Rebecca Rogalski

Current Notre Dame sophomore majoring in FTT and double minoring in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy and Business-Economics.

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