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ND Women’s Volleyball: Playing on the road no problem

Tom Dorwart | Friday, October 7, 2005

The Notre Dame volleyball team has put things in perspective.

Notre Dame takes on St. John’s at 2 p.m. Saturday and then travels to Connecticut to face the Huskies at 2 p.m. Sunday, in two Big East Conference matches.

They hit the road today for the matches – their ninth and 10th away matches in their past 12. Despite the long flights and tiring bus rides, the No. 10 Irish aren’t complaining. Instead, they’re thankful.

“One of the things we talked about is that we played … at Texas A&M against LSU and Tulane because they don’t have the facilities, and they don’t have the hotel availability in Baton Rouge because of the hurricane,” coach Debbie Brown said. “So they’ve [LSU and Tulane] been on the road every weekend.

“And I think they’ve [the Irish] done a good job of reminding themselves that there are other teams that are on the road more, and while it can be a difficult stretch, it was good to play at home last night [against Valparaiso].”

Brown said the Irish can wait their turn to play at home more often, and she believes her team will continue to do just fine on the road.

“We know we’ll be on the road a little bit more, and then we’ll get our chance to be home too, so I don’t think it’s been too big of a negative factor,” she said.

Despite playing eight out of their past 10 matches on the road, the Irish went 9-1 in that time period, have won five straight and sit at 12-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big East.

St. John’s has played a total of only six extra games this entire month-and-a-half old volleyball season. They either sweep or get swept. Still, the Red Storm has a solid 15-5 overall record, and a 1-2 Big East mark. As usual, the Irish are focused on being themselves and not on exactly what their opponents do.

“Right now, we’re just worrying about ourselves,” junior defensive specialist/libero Danielle Herndon said. “We respect our opponent as we always do.”

The Red Storm heads into the weekend with a deceiving overall record. They’re only 1-2 in Big East play and are looking to get a streak going. In their last match, they swept Seton Hall 30-25, 30-25, 30-21.

“They haven’t played a real strong schedule, so they have played well against some teams, but it makes it a little bit difficult [to read],” Brown said. “They have a couple of freshmen that are starting, and one of their best players from last year is not back, so we don’t know much about their personnel.

“We just can’t get as good of a read on them just because of the schedule they’ve played.”

The Huskies have struggled for most of the beginning of the season. They sit at 8-7 overall and 1-2 in the Big East. In some of their most notable losses, they were swept by No. 6 and Big East newcomer Louisville (14-0) and by No. 12 Arizona (11-2). They’ve also fallen to solid squads in North Carolina, Western Kentucky, Clemson and Kentucky.

So far, all the East Coast flights and constant travel hasn’t sapped enough energy out of the Irish to slow them down on the court. Winners of five straight, they’ll attempt to keep the momentum going this weekend.

“Right now, we’re just excited just to play again because we didn’t feel we played the way we wanted to against Valpo,” Herndon said.