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ND Volleyball

ND faces conference foe Clemson

| Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coming off of a road loss to Louisville on Sunday, Notre Dame returns home to Purcell Pavilion this weekend for more ACC action, continuing conference play against Clemson on Friday.

Irish junior setter Hanna Muzzonigro lays the ball up for freshman middle/right blocker Sam Fry at Purcell Pavilion on Oct. 5.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish junior setter Hanna Muzzonigro lays the ball up for freshman middle/right blocker Sam Fry at Purcell Pavilion on Oct. 5.

The Tigers (13-5, 2-3 ACC) ride momentum into Friday’s match after edging Virginia Tech, 3-2, on Friday and topping Georgia Tech, 3-1, on Sunday. This weekend’s match will mark Clemson’s first trip to Notre Dame (4-13, 1-5 ACC) with both squads as part of the ACC.

The Irish know they need to take command and fix mistakes made in last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Louisville (11-7, 3-3), Irish head coach Debbie Brown said.

“Going into the weekend, we’re looking at each opportunity we have to play,” Brown said. “We don’t want to carry over from last Sunday’s competition. We had a great practice yesterday where we were able to really focus on Clemson, ourselves and the things that we need to do to be successful against them.”

Brown identified left-side hitting and serve-receive passing as weaker areas against Louisville.

“If we want to win games, we can’t continue to struggle in these key areas,” Brown said. “These aspects have been our biggest focus in this week’s practice, and I feel like we’ve made some significant improvements already.”

In addition to handling hits and passes, Brown highlighted the importance of locking down the fundamentals of the game.

Irish freshman libero Natalie Johnson digs the ball against Duke on Oct. 5 at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame won one set, but Duke won 3-1.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish freshman libero Natalie Johnson digs the ball against Duke on Oct. 5 at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame won one set, but Duke won 3-1.

“For us to be successful this weekend and throughout the rest of the season, we really need to fine-tune the basics of the game. Serving and passing have to be consistent as well as strong,” Brown said. “We need to be able to put pressure on them [the Tigers] with our serving. Conversely, we need to be able to pass well to keep ourselves in system offensively.”

To compete against a strong opponent like the Tigers, the Irish need a tough mentality and focus on every second of every play, Brown said.

“We can’t get by this match without having a strong, competitive drive,” she said. “Everything we do is a competition, and we need to continue to strive for success in every drill we do or match we play.”

Last season, Notre Dame lost to Clemson on the road in three straight sets. Clemson sophomore outside hitter Leah Perri totaled 14 kills as the Tigers dispatched the Irish, 27-25, 25-22, and 25-21. Perri is second in kills this season for the Tigers and will be a significant challenge for Notre Dame’s blockers, led by senior Jeni Houser and freshman Sam Fry. Houser and Fry are top-three in both kills and hitting percentage for the Irish.

Notre Dame and Clemson will take the court Friday night at 7 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion.

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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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