Irish prepare for final regular season home matches
Darcy Dehais | Thursday, November 16, 2017
Notre Dame (19-8, 9-7 ACC) takes on North Carolina and North Carolina State this weekend in the last two home matches of the regular season.
The Irish are coming off of two 3-0 wins against Virginia and Virginia Tech last weekend at home, and they are looking to carry this momentum into their next ACC matchup as the program makes a push for the postseason.
Notre Dame committed a season low in attacking errors against Virginia, something the team has been striving to achieve all season. In addition to minimizing errors, the Irish have also focused on getting out to an early lead in each set, something they did well in the match against the Cavaliers.
Head coach Jim McLaughlin said the Irish aim to continue this trend and learn to recognize the importance of each play within a set.
“We’ve been starting slow, and we addressed it,” McLaughlin said. “We wanted to win the first five points, and we did that in most of those games. Now we have to learn just to maintain it. One or two plays could define the game or the match. We have to play each play like this is the play that could influence the whole thing. It’s really hard; it’s not human nature. But we are fighting that human nature a little bit, and we were better start to finish last weekend.”
Senior middle blocker Sam Fry was a key player for the Irish in the win over Virginia, swinging for her best hitting percentage of the season thus far at .600. Sophomore outside hitter Jemma Yeadon had a team-high 13 kills.
McLaughlin said Fry’s leadership and the individual contributions of all the leaders on the team will be important going forward in the rest of the regular season and looking to the postseason.
“Everybody means everything,” McLaughlin said. “You have to do your job, but if you’re on a good team and you have a good culture, it’s about people doing their jobs with high and positive energy. We’re doing a good job. Then you can become a bit cooperative where you understand your job and do it together and help each other. They are doing their jobs at a high level — nothing more and nothing less.”
In preparing to take on North Carolina (14-10, 11-5) and North Carolina State (19-8, 14-2), McLaughlin said the Irish are committed to playing a high-energy game after resting well during the week leading up.
“We wanted to go short and intense with good, crisp practice this week,” McLaughlin said. “We want low errors but high intensity. We’ll take [Wednesday] off to watch the film, and then we are going to go hard again on Thursday to be ready for Friday night. Mostly, we are looking to play clean but very aggressively with a lot of energy.”
The Irish take on the Tarheels on Friday at 7 p.m. and the Wolfpack on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches will take place in Purcell Pavilion.