Irish hope to ride momentum heading into conference play after road wins
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, October 2, 2018
After defeating Clemson 3-0 and Georgia Tech 3-2 last weekend in a weekend road trip, the Irish will return home this weekend to square up against Wake Forest on Friday and Duke on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame (9-5, 3-1 ACC) currently sits in fourth place in the ACC, coming in behind No. 8 Pittsburgh, No. 25 Louisville and Syracuse.
This weekend will mark the fourth and fifth conference games for Notre Dame so far this season, and as the squad heads into the depths of its 2018 season, every remaining matchup for the Irish will be against a conference opponent.
The Irish will look to ride the wave of momentum from their road trip last weekend back into Notre Dame this weekend, as the Irish were firing on all cylinders against two challenging road opponents last weekend. Against Clemson (9-8, 0-4 ACC), the Irish outscored the Tigers 63-42, tallying 47 kills to Clemson’s 36, seven aces to Clemson’s two, nine blocks to Clemson’s four and 43 assists to Clemson’s 36. In the contest, freshman outside hitter Charley Niego recorded yet another impressive game, tallying 13 kills and 11 digs for the Irish attack. Freshman setter Zoe Nunez led the Irish with 40 assists in the conference matchup as well. And although things weren’t as decidedly in favor of the Irish against Georgia Tech (11-6, 0-4 ACC), they were still stellar, especially for a conference contest. In the matchup, Notre Dame outscored Georgia Tech 90-80, tallied 72 kills to Georgia Tech’s 67, 14 blocks to Georgia Tech’s 10 and 69 assists to Georgia Tech’s 66. In the victory over the Yellow Jackets, Niego led the Irish on attack with 23 kills, a career high and 13 digs. Plus, freshman right-side hitter Sydney Bent tallied 17 kills, and junior outside hitter Lauren Woodard recorded 11 kills. Nunez set another career personal record for the Irish, recording 64 assists in the match. Senior libero Ryann DeJarld tallied 22 digs, which marks the 20th time this season the captain recorded over 20 digs in a match.
Wake Forest (6-10, 1-3 ACC) has struggled so far this season, starting the year with six consecutive losses, three of which were at home, and currently finding themselves 12th in the ACC standings. Duke (7-6, 1-3 ACC) has had a bit better luck than Wake Forest, but the Blue Devils still find themselves 10th in ACC standings having lost four of their last five games, two of which were at home.
In any case, Notre Dame, which currently sits fourth in the ACC standings in what has proven to be a competitive conference so far this season, will look to maintain its good standing this weekend. The Irish will face Wake Forest this Friday at 7 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion and will host Duke on Sunday at 1 p.m.