ND begins ACC play with visits from Louisville, Florida State
Daisy Costello | Friday, September 25, 2015
Coming off of a 1-2 performance at the Purdue Boiler Box Challenge, the Irish (5-7, 0-0 ACC) commence ACC play this weekend at Purcell Pavilion as Louisville and No. 17 Florida State make their way to South Bend.
After defeating Ball State in straight sets last weekend, the Irish dropped a close 5-set match to South Dakota before falling to No. 20 Purdue to finish off the weekend. The Seminoles, who the Irish face on Sunday, will be the third ranked opponent the team has faced thus far in 2015. The Irish have lost the previous two matches against No. 1 Penn State and last weekend at No. 20 Purdue. Irish head coach Jim McLaughlin said playing consistently will be a determining factor for the Irish this weekend and during ACC play.
“Preparation is preparation,” McLaughlin said. “The girls are learning that we need to approach this in a very internal way and control the things that we can control. I thought we made some progress and did more things well but there’s a lot out there that we need to be more consistent at.”
“Situations in volleyball are basically the same. How people execute is what determines success.”
Louisville, who the Irish will face off against on Friday night, is coming off of a 3-1 loss to No. 24 Kentucky. Led by senior outside hitter Erin Fairs, the team comes into Friday’s match against the Irish boasting a 6-4 (0-0 ACC) record on the year. The Cardinals are averaging 13.9 kills per set with an attack percentage of .228, but the Irish are prepared to slow Louisville’s offensive attack, McLaughlin said, praising freshman libero Ryann DeJarld for her continued improvement in the back row.
“[Ryann] is a remarkable kid in that she’s made a lot of progress and keeps fighting for more,” McLaughlin said. “She is not afraid to push herself and of the discomfort that comes with improving. I have ultimate confidence in her and in anything that she does, but it’s a collective thing. Everyone has to do their jobs and play to play, I’ve seen that improve.”
The Irish are not without an attack of their own. Sophomore outside hitter Sam Fry leads the Irish offense with 151 kills thus far in 2015, averaging 3.21 per set. Meanwhile, junior middle blocker Katie Higgins has a .267 attack percentage on the season.
The weekend does not get any easier for the Irish as No. 17 Florida State (7-4, 0-0 ACC) rolls into Purcell on Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles are coming off of a 3-2 victory over in-state rival Miami on Wednesday. Senior outside hitter Nicole Walch, who finished all-ACC in 2014, leads the Seminoles with 159 kills and a .254 attack percentage. The Seminoles are currently the only ranked ACC team.
The Irish play the Cardinals on Friday at Purcell Pavilion to begin the 2015 ACC schedule. The match starts at 7 p.m.