Irish look to keep momentum on road
Rebecca Rogalski | Thursday, November 13, 2014
After a thrilling 3-2 victory over Louisville on Sunday, the Irish look ahead to this weekend’s match-ups as they travel to North Carolina, where they will face Wake Forest on Friday and Duke on Sunday. Irish coach Debbie Brown said last weekend’s win will contribute to the scrappy mentality the team hopes to carry with it the rest of the season.“I think we have a pretty remarkable group because of the way we come back in after we get knocked down,” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “Because we fought hard and didn’t give up, I think there was just an added element of determination against Louisville to get the win. I’m overall just incredibly proud of the way that we fought.”
After struggling with serve-receive all year, the Irish (6-18, 3-10 ACC) have improved remarkably in the passing game. Senior libero Kathleen Severyn totaled a career high of 18 digs in an impressive passing performance Sunday, while freshmen liberos Natalie Johnson and Jo Kremer tallied 12 and eight digs as well.
“We have identified that we have been struggling with our serve-receive in terms of passing, so it’s a focus everyday in practice,” Brown said. “It’s one of those things that you have to do all the time, and they have to receive tough game-type serves everyday in practice as well as try to groove the passing form. It’s been a focus all year long, and I think the hours we put in are finally paying off now that we’re passing at a higher level.”
The Irish will have the chance keep up their success Friday, when they compete against the Demon Deacons for the first time this season. Wake Forest (13-13, 3-9 ACC) is coming off a 3-2 victory against Georgia Tech.
“I think we have a good amount of momentum and a great report as we head into Friday’s match,” Brown said. “We know what to expect from them and know what shots to use. It’s just going to be a matter of being able to execute and do the things that we know we’re capable of.”
After playing against Wake Forest, the Irish head to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday where they will take on Duke. The Blue Devils, who dropped out of the national rankings following a 3-2 home loss to Pitt, are now 18-6 on the season and 10-3 in the ACC. In its last matchup with Notre Dame, Duke got off to a hot start to defeat the Irish, 3-1, at Purcell Pavilion. Brown said the Irish will have a lot to handle with the Blue Devils.
“Duke is a very strong program, despite dropping in the polls, but by maintaining our consistency and preforming like we did this past weekend, we will put up a tough fight,” Brown said. “I think if we continue to pass at a high, consistent level, it makes all the difference in the world for us.”
The Irish face Wake Forest on Friday at 6:30 p.m., followed by Duke on Sunday at 1 p.m.