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ND Volleyball: Squad travels for final games

Michael Todisco | Friday, November 12, 2010

The Irish hope for a successful weekend in the Garden State, as they wrap up their regular season with conference matches on the road at Rutgers and Seton Hall.

As their season comes to a close, Irish coach Debbie Brown reflected on how her team as grown over the season.

“We made tremendous strides this year, with definite progress from week to week,” Brown said.

With the Big East tournament looming and a possible NCAA Tournament berth on the line, Notre Dame’s play this weekend of play will be critical to its postseason future.

“Every time we play we want to stay in a good rhythm,” Brown said. “This weekend is important because [with the Big East tournament next weekend] we want to be in a position where we are going to feel good about our play.”

Importantly, the Irish are peaking at just the right time in the season, according to Brown.

“We are playing our best volleyball of the season right now,” Brown said. “Despite the losses, we played a really good brand of volleyball recently. We still have Big East tournament which will be an opportunity to maybe secure NCAA tournament bid which has been primary goal from onset.”

The first test for the Irish (15-11, 8-4 Big East) this weekend is Saturday against Rutgers (10-16, 2-10). Brown said the Scarlet Knights will produce a unique set of challenges for the Irish.

“Although Rutgers hasn’t done as well in conference as other teams, they are a really good serving team,” Brown said. “We will need to really emphasize passing and being able to get into our system of play, even on a tough serve.”

Notre Dame next travels to Seton Hall (12-16, 6-6 Big East) for a contest with the Pirates. Brown said Seton Hall’s consistency makes them a difficult team to beat.

“Seton Hall is a really balanced team with great ball control ball,” she said. “They typically have long rallies and don’t beat themselves.”

The Irish begin play at 10 a.m. Saturday against Rutgers and 2 p.m. Sunday at Seton Hall.