ND Volleyball: Weekend victories extend Irish win streak to six
Laura Coletti | Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Irish maintained their winning ways during fall break, reeling off three victories in a row and extending their win streak to six matches.
Before the break, Notre Dame (15-6, 8-1 Big East) took down DePaul in three sets. The Blue Demons (7-15, 2-7) had no answer for Notre Dame’s balanced attack, led by sophomore right side hitter Jeni Houser, sophomore outside hitter Toni Alugbue and senior middle blocker Hilary Eppink. Houser and Alugbue each contributed 13 kills in the match, while Eppink chipped in with 10.
After handling DePaul, the Irish turned their attention to Georgetown and Villanova. Junior captain and outside hitter Andrea McHugh knew her team could not take either squad lightly, but thought that the Hoyas (7-15, 1-8) were the tougher opponent.
“Georgetown was probably our toughest opponent from the past weekend,” McHugh said. “They had a very dynamic [middle hitter] that ran a variety of sets and also had a quick arm swing. One of our main goals was to stop her and ultimately get a double block on her every time.”
The Irish were dominant against the Hoyas, only trailing in one set. Alugbue again led the Irish with nine kills and a .643 hitting percentage for the match. McHugh and Houser each added seven kills. The victory over Georgetown extended Notre Dame’s win streak to five matches, marking the longest streak on the 2012 season.
The Irish would extend that streak one more match two days later, when they swept Villanova in three sets. Their victory over the Wildcats (10-14, 4-5) marked the fifth time in six matches the Irish swept their opponent. McHugh attributes all of her team’s recent success to focus and sticking to a game plan.
“We are all really focused and come to practice each day wanting to get better,” she said. “One of our main focuses is our side of the net and making sure we play ‘Notre Dame’ volleyball. While the opponents we face play some role in the outcome, we primarily focus on what we can do as a team on our side of the net to come out victorious.”
McHugh also said keeping a focused mentality has helped the Irish maintain their streak of wins, and moving forward they are going to try to maintain that mentality.
“Our focus and mentality coming into each match has allowed us to play the way we have,” McHugh said. “We continue to get closer to one another on and off the court, which creates better chemistry and trust when we are playing or practicing. Also, our coaches prepare us really well during film and practice and sure we feel confident going into the match.”
The Irish will prepare this week to welcome Pittsburgh to the Joyce Center on Friday at 7 p.m.
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