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ND Women’s Volleyball: Hitting her mark

Sam Werner | Thursday, September 25, 2008

This weekend, Christina Kaelin not only led the Irish past Liberty and UC-Irvine, but the junior outside hitter also spiked her way into the Notre Dame record books.

Against Liberty, Kaelin tallied 11 kills and no errors, notching a .733 hitting percentage, the 10th-highest single-match percentage in Irish history. The Louisville native didn’t let up the next night against UC-Irvine, registering 17 kills and .519 hitting percentage.

“This weekend was one of the better weekends I’ve had so far,” Kaelin said. “I think it was because of my consistency.”

Consistency is key for Kaelin, who noted that the one aspect of her game she wants to improve is her ability to play well in each and every match, as opposed to having flashes here and there.

“I think I need to play a little bit more consistently,” she said. “I’ve had some really good matches and also some matches where I didn’t play up to my potential.”

Kaelin also pointed out that the message of consistency translates to her team’s play as well. The Irish have shown that they can play with anyone in the country, like when they took No. 4 California to five sets. But they also have let a few matches get away, such as Sunday, when they allowed Western Michigan to come back and win after being down by two sets.

“I think that in spurts, we’ve played some really good volleyball,” Kaelin said “I think we just need to work on our consistency.”

Consistency will be crucial as Kaelin and the Irish hope to improve on last season, which she considered to be largely unsuccessful. The Irish finished with a final record of 15-13 and fell to Louisville in the second round of the Big East tournament.

“I think last year we see as somewhat of a disappointment because we didn’t reach the goals that we had set,” Kaelin said. “But I feel that it’s also like a learning experience. We don’t want to be there again.”

Kaelin said she used last season’s shortcomings as motivation during the spring and summer months to make sure that this year had a different outcome.

“In the summer we really hit the weight room hard,” she said.

Now, Kaelin is focused on just one thing on her mind: making Notre Dame a dominant force in the Big East.

“Going into the Big East this weekend,” she said. “One of our big goals is to go undefeated in the Big East.”

The graphic design major knows exactly what she has to do to get the Irish to that goal.

“I think I need to have strong hitting performances every time I go on the court,” she said. “Also, I need to play pretty good defense, especially on the front row, doing some good blocking.

“We’re going to show that Notre Dame is a force to be reckoned with in the Big East.”