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ND Volleyball

Irish get set for trip to Rhode Island

| Thursday, September 8, 2016

Notre Dame returns to action this weekend away from home for the first time this season. The Irish (4-2) will travel to Kingston, Rhode Island for the Art Carmichael Invitational, with contests lined up against Stony Brook, San Diego State and host Rhode Island.

Stony Brook (1-6) is coming off of five consecutive losses, with only two set wins in those five games. The Seawolves are led by junior Melann Amory who averaged 1.67 digs and 2.31 kills per set last season. Notre Dame will face Stony Brook on Friday, and Irish head coach Jim McLaughlin noted that even though his team spends most of their time in between tournaments working on improving themselves, the Irish have to prepare for each different challenge they face.

Irish  sophomore libero Ryann DeJarld passes the ball on Aug. 2 at Purcell Pavilion.Michael Yu | The Observer
Irish sophomore libero Ryann DeJarld passes the ball on Aug. 2 at Purcell Pavilion.

“Every team has a characteristic or two, so we pay attention to who we want to serve to on their team, know who they like to set a lot and try to get people in front of them,” McLaughlin said.

In the second match of the tournament The Irish will take on San Diego State. The Aztecs (3-3) come into the tournament with two wins in their last three games, with wins over UC Davis and Murray State. For San Diego State, sophomore Alexandra Psoma leads her team with 2.77 kills per set and 61 kills on the season. The Aztecs are also strong in the serving department, committing 18 less service errors than their opponents this year.

Finally, in the last game of the tournament for Notre Dame, the Irish will take on host team Rhode Island. The Rams (3-3) will begin the weekend on a three game win streak, looking to improve their record on their home court. Senior Layne Self earned Atlantic 10 defensive player of the week honors after her team forced three shutouts in the past week. The middle blocker has contributed 1.32 blocks per set for her team on the season.

Notre Dame will look to find its identity and improve on its game plan as they go into their last tournament before ACC play. With each game, the Irish learn more about who they are and work to improve on their weakness, McLaughlin said.

“We’re still forming the systems and focusing on playing clean and getting good shots,” McLaughlin said. “We took a lot of bad swings last week. We want to take more good swings every week. We had signs of passing better, we got to set better and react to the setter better.”

As the Irish compete away from home court for the first time, McLaughlin said he hopes that they will take lessons learned from last week’s tournament over to Rhode Island.

“I saw us respond to some adversity when we were down 2-0 [against Howard], and we came back, something we didn’t do last year,” McLaughlin said. “We are playing harder, and I think we learned over the weekend that we came out flat in the first two games against Howard, and we control that. Then we had a nice edge in games three, four and five. I see a higher commitment level, and behaviors that are needed to be successful happening more often. All of those things add up to becoming a better team.”

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About R.J. Stempak

R.J. Stempak is a sophomore computer science major who enjoys basketball.

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