Irish look to bounce back after 2 road losses
By MATT LOZAR
Looking to rebound from a disappointing weekend at the Loyola Marymount Classic, the Notre Dame volleyball team travels to Valparaiso today to face the Crusaders at 7:00 p.m.
The difference for the Irish (4-2) in their win and losses this weekend was very simple.
"Pretty much everything," Notre Dame coach Debbie Brown said. "We didn't execute the fundamentals very well against Loyola Marymount or Colorado and I think we were a very determined team against [Saint Louis University]."
"We passed well and that allowed us to hit for a very good percentage. We just struggled in the first two matches and it was good to see the team come back — after seeing the team playing poorly — and play very well," the coach added.
In their two losses, the Irish had hitting percentages of .106 and .274, while in their win they hit .430.
Despite the losses, Notre Dame did take some positives from the season's first road trip.
Brown was able to get more players into game action due to a variety of reasons.
"Against Saint Louis we were up by a lot so we could get a lot of people in," Brown said. "In the other two matches, we were trying to find a combination that worked. In the Colorado match, one person off the bench that played well was Kim Fletcher. We just didn't have anybody else play well enough to help her."
Against the Buffaloes, Fletcher had 10 kills and two blocks.
Meg Henican also played well in Los Angeles. The freshman outside hitter had two kills, two assists and seven digs in the match against Colorado.
"I thought [Henican] did well. She is really very good at passing and defense. I thought she did a particularly good job there," Brown said. "I think she hit some good shots but she also made some errors."
The Crusaders won their first match of the season last weekend. Valparaiso defeated Austin Peay 30-16, 30-18, 30-19. Outside hitter Marion Hansen led the Crusaders with 12 kills and 11 digs. As a team, Valparaiso recorded 13 blocks while Austin Peay only had one.
"It's a little bit of the same [as the weekend matches]. It is important to execute the fundamentals well," Brown said. "If we serve and pass well, the rest of the game will take care of itself. It is good to go on the road and get to experience a different environment. We only have two returning players on the back row so the more we can play, the more experience we get."
Notre Dame has defeated Valparaiso the past four seasons. Last year the Irish won 30-22, 30-12 and 30-17 at the Joyce Center.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, September 10, 2002