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ND Volleyball

No. 5 ranked Irish sweep top-ranked Syracuse

| Friday, October 9, 2020

Fifth in the nation after sweeping nationally ranked Syracuse, the Notre Dame women’s volleyball team is off to an undefeated start to the season, and they are just warming up, according to head coach Mike Johnson.

Last weekend, the team overcame then No. 5 ranked Syracuse handily in back to back games. On Friday, they took the first match three games to one, and when they returned on Saturday, they knocked down the Orange in three consecutive sets.

Observer File
Irish junior setter Zoe Nunez sets the ball during Notre Dame’s 3-1 win over Wake Forest on Oct. 11 at Purcell Pavilion.

Now sitting at 3-0, the volleyball team has claimed Syracuse’s former spot at the fifth rank in the NCAA, but Coach Mike Johnson and the players aren’t focusing on the rankings. Johnson says that the rankings are outside of the team’s control, but, “What we do control is our effort, we control our attitude, we control our improvement, and we’ll put our energy there, and let the rankings take care of themselves,” he said.

The Fighting Irish have been doing just that. Despite losing their spring training due to the coronavirus, the coaching staff and players looked for the opportunity in every challenge that they faced. Off the court and on their own, they focused on maximizing physical fitness, coming together as a team despite the oddities of the pandemic, and studying film, according to Johnson. It seems to have worked so far.

They aren’t slowing down either. When asked about the emotion in the locker room after the Syracuse sweep.

“There’s still so much more out there for this group,” he said.

Players and coaches alike are committed to continue improving, and together individuals are already being recognized for their play. This week alone junior Charley Niego was named the ACCs Player of the Week, while freshman Lindsey Miller was chosen as the ACCs Freshman of the Week. Across the pair of wins against Syracuse, the two players totaled 54 kills.

Johnson says that he “would like to think that our team is like a family, and when you’re in a family you fight for your family.”

The Notre Dame women’s volleyball team is going to keep fighting. The 2020 Fall NCAA Championships may have been moved to the spring and cut by 16 teams, but the Irish are certainly making their case for a spot. They are yet to be beaten, and they take on Pitt next weekend at home.

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