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ND Volleyball: Position change doesn’t faze captain McHugh

Katie Heit | Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Senior captain Andrea McHugh will do anything for her teammates – including switching to a completely new, unknown position late in her college career. 

McHugh made the change from outside hitter to libero during the off-season, filling an unexpected hole in the Irish offense. 

“We had a player leave who was the libero,” McHugh said. “Now I’m the libero. It’s definitely different, but I see it as whatever I can do that’s best for the team.”

The difference between her two positions is vast. As an outside hitter, McHugh focused on scoring points and pushing the Irish offense forward. Now her primary role is to assist her teammates in whatever way she can. 

“There’s certain things I can and cannot do,” McHugh said. “I can’t hit, which is challenging. I wear a different colored jersey and now I’m always in the back row. But whatever’s best for the team, I’m going to do it.”

McHugh said she missed scoring points, but her new role allows her to step back and contribute to her teammates’ success in a more subtle way.  

The Yorba Linda, Calif., native looked at several California schools before originally committing to Boise State. Late in her senior year she made the switch to Notre Dame, and she’s never looked back. 

“I had committed somewhere else, and the whole coaching staff left,” McHugh said. “[Irish coach Robin Davis] was the head coach there and came here as an assistant. He kind of brought me along. As soon as I came on campus I fell in love with it and knew it was the right place for me.” 

Though she has a family full of USC fans, McHugh said her family has completely supported her decision to come to Notre Dame.

“They weren’t upset at all,” McHugh said. “They were really excited for me and of course they still cheer for me.” 

Along with learning her new position, McHugh said she’s focusing on spending her senior year trying to be a leader for the younger players.

“I really love being able to be a role model for the girls,” McHugh said. “I want to develop close relationships with them so they can grow and carry it on through their time here.” 

As her final season with the Irish continues, McHugh said she’s trying to embrace every moment she has left. 

“All of the people you meet here are so special,” McHugh said. “Being able to be a part of a university like Notre Dame is a huge blessing. I’m trying to cherish every moment I have left.”

Contact Katie Heit at [email protected]