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ND Volleyball

Irish prepare for match with Tigers

| Friday, October 9, 2015

The Irish will look to right the ship and put an end to their current six-match losing streak when they head to South Carolina for a match with Clemson on Friday night.

Coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 (26-28, 25-21, 27-25, 21-25, 15-13) loss to Syracuse on Sunday, the team is trying to stay positive, freshman libero Ryann DeJarld said. The Irish will have a couple more chances to get their first conference victory this weekend.

Notre Dame (5-11, 0-4 ACC) will get its first chance Friday when it visits fellow winless conference opponent Clemson (5-12, 0-4 ACC) before it heads to Atlanta for a match with Georgia Tech (11-5, 2-2 ACC) on Sunday afternoon.

DeJarld, fresh off an impressive 28-dig performance against the Orange last weekend, said the team tried to keep the focus on the positive after the frustratingly close loss to the Orange.

“I feel like we definitely took a step in the right direction on our side of the net,” DeJarld said. “We felt a lot more aggressive, more in sync. It was obviously a really tough loss. When you lose that closely, you tend to look back at a couple plays that could have been made, so going into the next game we just have to make those couple plays I think.”

Sophomore outside hitter Maddie Plumlee, who led the team with a career-high 14 kills on Sunday, echoed that sentiment by citing head coach Jim McLaughlin’s mantra each game is part of a long process on the road to success.

“Jim talks a lot about it being a process, and, you know, there’s no way around it,” Plumlee said. “You just have to go through it, and so right now we’re battling through it and it’s going to take some time. It’s not just going to happen over night. I think Syracuse was definitely a step in the right direction, but just building on our techniques is important. We can’t go back to our old habits, we have to keep going through with Jim’s way — trust in him — and I think Syracuse reflected that and was a step forward.”

Sophomore outside hitter Maddie Plumlee spikes the ball during a 3-2 loss to Syracuse on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.Sarah Olson | The Observer

Sophomore outside hitter Maddie Plumlee hits the ball during a 3-2 loss to Syracuse on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.

The Irish are in the middle of a long season, and their first long winless drought of the current campaign, but neither Plumlee or DeJarld said they were bothered by the stretch. Instead, both underclassmen said they are focused on the little things that will bring success in the near future.

Plumlee and DeJarld both said the team has emphasized continuing to take care of individual assignments.

“Our coaches put a lot of emphasis on doing our own job,” DeJarld said, “Just thinking about ourselves, and sometimes when we’re worrying about the whole team or about someone else doing their job, we forget to do our own, and going into the next match, we just have to remember what our job is.”

“Today [McLaughlin] talked a lot about ‘self-demand,’ and I think that’s very reflective of ‘do your own job,’” Plumlee said. “For me, self-demand, I have to demand this every play, every day. That’s our motto, and we have to go back to it, refer to it, just keep being aggressive and continue this forward.”

DeJarld, Plumlee and the rest of the Irish will look to break their recent losing streak and get back to their winning ways when the face Clemson on Friday at 7 p.m. and Georgia Tech on Sunday at 1 p.m. Notre Dame next plays at home when it welcomes Duke and Wake Forest to campus next weekend.

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