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ND Volleyball: Irish to play three in California

Ellyn Michalak | Friday, September 14, 2007

The Irish finished last weekend’s Shamrock Invitational with a sense of accomplishment, as senior captain Adrianna Stasiuk surpassed her 1,000th career hit.

The Irish dominated against both the College of Charleston and Alabama, 3-1 (30-24, 24-30, 30-26, 30-19) and 3-2 (25-30, 30-28, 24-30, 30-19, 15-9), respectively. After falling 3-1 (26-30, 30-25, 28-30, 23-30) in a competitive match against No. 17 Ohio, the Irish matched the Crimson Tide with a 2-1-tournament record.

The Irish now hold a 3-4 overall record, with losses only to ranked teams or teams receiving votes in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll.

This weekend, the Irish head to Santa Clara, Calif., for three matches – two against ranked teams – in the Bronco Invitational, their final tournament before the conference season begins.

“This weekend we are really excited to play such good competition because both Cal and Santa Clara are top-25 teams,” Stasiuk said.

The Irish will first face Santa Barbara who currently hold an overall record of 2-7. The Gauchos recently lost 3-1 to Virginia. The match will mark the first time Santa Barbara has played Notre Dame.

The Irish will take on No. 11 California on Saturday. The last time the two teams faced each other was 1991, when the Irish won 3-2. The Golden Bears currently boast an 8-1 overall record with a win over No. 13 Minnesota. Their only loss this season was to Colorado.

In last year’s contest, the Irish fell 3-0 to No. 22 Santa Clara. The Broncos are undefeated (3-0) in their series against Notre Dame and are 6-3 overall in the 2007 season with losses to No. 6 Florida and No. 15 Hawaii.

After the Bronco Invitational, the Irish will commence its conference season play when they travel to Pittsburgh Sept. 22. Last season the Irish fell 3-1 to the Panthers. The Panthers, who are currently unranked, hold an overall season record of 5-5.

“We love playing at such a hard level of competition because competing with tough teams will prepare for Big East opener against Pittsburgh,” Stasiuk said. “Hopefully we can pull off a couple of upsets this weekend.”

This weekend’s matches begin today at 4:30 p.m. when the Irish face Santa Barbara.