Notre Dame led by Caroline Meuth en route to two wins in Golden Dome Invitational
Adeline Chappuis | Monday, September 2, 2019
This past weekend, the Notre Dame volleyball team opened its season at the 2019 Golden Dome Invitational with two wins against La Salle University and Bowling Green and a loss against Wright State. With two out of three successes, head coach Mike Johnson remained dissatisfied with the team’s performance but envisions a growth for the team as a whole going forward.
“I think we have to get a lot better. We have a lot of work to do. We have some – a lot – of young kids who are kind of new on the court and I think there are many lessons to learn from game day, and the conditions are different on game day,” Johnson said. “If those conditions change us that tells me there are things that aren’t deeply in place yet. And so, we have work to do. We have an emotional maturity we have to develop – the ability to go very hard all the time, to attack all the time. And [while] we have these lessons to learn with these young kids, these young kids represent the University of Notre Dame and the lessons need to be learned.”
With these goals in mind, Johnson reflected on what he hopes the Irish (2-1) can stand for this year.
“I want to define us more by our effort, our execution, our ability to respond to tough situations, and in that regard, I think we have work to do,” he said.
The team opened competition on Friday, beating La Salle (1-2) 3-1, with three of the four matches being decided by three points or less.
The Irish returned to Purcell Pavilion on Saturday to take on Wright State (2-1). Johnson’s team came back from a 2-0 deficit before eventually falling in five sets. However, they managed to bounce back to earn the win over Bowling Green (1-2).
Johnson referenced the team’s successes in the Bowling Green game as a starting point for their improvements.
“I thought we played cleaner in the Bowling Green match, but we are far from the finished product at this point,” Johnson said.
The team took a 3-1 victory in the match, after Bowling Green forced a fourth set following two sets that ended in Notre Dame’s favor.
The Irish hope to focus their efforts on a simple list according to Johnson — the “ability to improve our serves and serves received, our ability to set with regularity, and our ability to get [the] defense packaged together to put the pressure on people.”
The team hopes to double the effort and up their intensity to have a better chance of a good outcome on the court throughout the regular season.
Shortcomings aside, Johnson spoke highly of freshman outside hitter Caroline Meuth’s performance for exemplifying what the team hopes to work toward.
“She did a really good job of putting very external language and ultimately left her on the floor completely because of it,” Johnson said.
In the midst of the Wright State loss, Meuth led the attack with 21 kills. Both she and sophomore middle blocker Lauren Wenzel were named to the 2019 Golden Dome Invitational All-Tournament Team for their stand-out performances over the weekend.
Johnson and his squad will look to build on their momentum come Wednesday when they host fellow instate rival, Valparaiso. The game is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion. They’ll return to action on Friday to take on No. 17 Purdue at 7 p.m. in one of Notre Dame’s highest profile games of the season.