ND Volleyball: Irish host three teams at Shamrock Invitational
Katie Heit | Friday, September 13, 2013
After finishing their first two weekends of action with a 2-3 record, the Irish will attempt to turn their luck around at the Shamrock Invitational, which begins when they take on Loyola-Chicago tonight at Purcell Pavilion.
The Shamrock Invitational is the second straight tournament the Irish (2-3) have hosted this season. Last weekend at the Golden Dome Invitational, Notre Dame started strong with a 3-1 win over Bowling Green before it dropped a match to Purdue and an exhibition to Dabrowa, a Polish club team.
Senior captain and libero Andrea McHugh said losses are to be expected this early in the season.
“You’re not going to be the best right away,” McHugh said. “We just need to fine tune and start working more as a unit.”
With those losses in the past, the Irish are preparing for their three opponents this weekend. In addition to its match against Loyola-Chicago (5-2), Notre Dame also has games against Oakland and Auburn on Saturday.
Loyola-Chicago enters the tournament on a hot streak, as the Ramblers swept the ECU Invitational last weekend in Greenville, N.C. The Ramblers have already posted three shutouts on the season.
Oakland (4-4) has a force on offense in sophomore outside hitter Cassie Pelloni, who already has 108 kills on the season and an average of 3.86 kills per set.
Auburn (7-1) has gotten off to a strong start so far, losing only a 3-2 decision to Wisconsin-Green Bay on Sept. 5. Senior outsider hitter Katherine Culwell has 107 kills and an average of 3.82 kills per set this season.
McHugh said she values the opportunity to play such a diverse group of teams before the start of conference play.
“The non-conference games have new opponents,” McHugh said. “The coaches scout and equip us well before the game. It’s nice to play a variety of teams before conference begins.”
To prepare for the weekend, McHugh said the Irish would focus on their on-court team chemistry.
“As a team, we need to be eager to come in and work really hard in practices and in the gym,” McHugh said.
The Irish hit the court tonight at 7 p.m. against Loyola-Chicago before taking on Oakland tomorrow at 1 p.m. and Auburn at 7:30 p.m. All matches will take place at Purcell Pavilion.
Contact Katie Heit at [email protected]