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ND Volleyball: Slumping squad tries to regroup

Ellyn Michalak | Friday, September 7, 2007

Notre Dame will compete against three teams during this weekend’s Shamrock Invitational beginning with the College of Charleston tonight at 7 in the Joyce Center.

After facing the Cougars, the Irish will take on Alabama and Ohio. Last season, the Irish defeated Alabama 3-1, but they fell to No. 13 Ohio.

Irish coach Debbie Brown said that while Ohio will pose the toughest challenge to the Irish, the other teams in the tournament pose a considerable threat.

“These are the kinds of teams that are typically NCAA Tournament teams,” Brown said. “This is the level of competition we need to be playing right now in order to prepare ourselves for the conference season.”

This weekend, the Irish will look to senior outside hitter Adrianna Stasiuk and sophomore outside hitter Megan Fesl to lead the team. In last weekend’s triumph over Florida International University, Fesl registered the team high of 20 kills, while Stasiuk earned 14 kills and 8 digs.

Brown anticipates that the weekend’s play will improve her team for conference play.

“We look at each match individually and as an opportunity to learn a lot more about the team’s dynamic. We use each match to continue to get better and better,” Brown said. “I’m really pleased with not necessarily the number of wins and losses [the team has], but the level we’re playing at as a team.”

Notre Dame faces Alabama Saturday at 7 p.m. and Ohio Sunday at 2:30.

Last weekend the Irish went 1-1 at the Tiger Invitational to improve their record to 1-3 for the season, and will try to imrpve their record this weekend.

“It’s important to have a good record against NCAA tournament teams,” Brown said. “We certainly want to win the Big East to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.”

During last season’s Shamrock invitational, the Irish went 2-2. They defeated both Valparaiso and Idaho and fell to No. 20 Missouri and No. 19 Santa Clara.