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ND Volleyball: Irish take on conference foes

Michael Todisco | Friday, October 1, 2010

Notre Dame will hit the road this weekend as it looks to continue its dominance in conference play with matches against South Florida and Georgetown.

The Irish (9-5, 2-0 Big East) hope to build off of the momentum gained from last weekend, as they took down Big East rivals West Virginia and Pittsburgh in straight sets.

“After a few tough losses, we played really well last weekend,” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “We started to have better rhythm, and our confidence is up for our conferences matches this week.”

Notre Dame’s first match of the weekend will take place  Friday at South Florida (6-7, 2-0). The Irish prepared meticulously to face off against an impressive South Florida offensive attack.

“South Florida’s right side hitter, Allie Boaz, is a dynamic player,” Brown said. “She is a strong hitter and always seems to find a way to elude the blockers.”

The Irish will face a challenge not only from the South Florida players, but even the fans. Brown said that Notre Dame prepared for a loud and energetic environment at South Florida.

“The venue at USF is really tough,” she said. “It’s a small gym that gets really crazy at times. We need to maintain our composure and make sure to communicate well to be successful in that atmosphere.”

The Irish will then head north for a Sunday matchup in Washington, D.C., against Georgetown (11-7, 1-1). Coach Brown stressed mastering the fundamentals against an often-aggressive Hoya squad.

“We put a strong emphasis on passing this week in practice to prepare for Georgetown’s serving,” Brown said. “Their serves are incredibly daring as a team. They take a lot of risks and get a lot of aces, but that can also translate to a lot of errors.”

This week, outside hitter Andrea McHugh won her second Big East Freshman of the Week award. Brown is pleased with the continued development of her freshman standout.

“What was really impressive was to see her rebound from a rocky start to lead us to victory against West Virginia last weekend,” Brown said. “All aspects of her game continue to improve, but to see that type demeanor and composure from a freshman is really exciting.”

Notre Dame’s matchup against South Florida begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, while the game against Georgetown starts on Sunday at 2 p.m.