ND VOLLEYBALL: Kreher leads Irish in road match at Toledo
By NOAH AMSTADTER
With the Big East's best player on board, the Irish volleyball team boards the bus today for its first midweek non-conference away game of the season as Notre Dame takes on Toledo at Savage Hall tonight at 7 p.m.
The No. 22-ranked Irish (7-3) come in with a four-match winning streak while the Rockets (7-3) enter with three wins in a row. Notre Dame comes in on a high note after sweeping Big East rival Virginia Tech 3-0 Friday night and topping Georgetown in four games Sunday.
Leading the Irish in those two matches was senior opposite Kristy Kreher. Kreher totaled 32 kills in seven games, posting a .407 attack percentage. Kreher's efforts earned her the Big East player of the week award on Monday.
"It's the first time I've ever gotten this award so it's very exciting," Kreher said. "I'm very honored to be chosen for it."
After playing Georgetown on Sunday, the Irish would normally take a day off on Monday. Instead, the team practiced on Monday and heads east to play Toledo for the first time since 1998.
"We're excited to play again, to be able to focus on stuff on our side of the net," Kreher said. "Toledo's not as strong as some of the other opponents that we've had but it's still a match."
One of the keys for the Irish this past weekend was success on the block. Notre Dame totaled 21 blocks in the four-game win over Georgetown, including nine by Malinda Goralski.
Notre Dame hopes to continue that success tonight, albeit by a slightly different approach. Whereas Georgetown's leading scorers played on the outside, Toledo is led by junior middle blocker Jessica Buck and senior middle blocker Lindsey Kretzmann. With the attack coming from the inside, Irish head coach Debbie Brown changed her defensive strategy.
"We're going to do what is called a commit block where we're actually jumping maybe a little ahead of the hitter or for sure right on time with them," Brown said. "We anticipate that we'll get more solo blocks against this team because typically we're not going to commit two people on it but we could commit one."
After Sunday's success against the Hoyas, the Irish look to use their advantage on the block tonight.
"They're not a very strong blocking team at all," Brown said. "In fact, [Irish senior Malinda Goralski] averages more blocks a game than their whole team. Their middles are very offensive, but they're not really blockers."
Kreher is just looking forward to the team unity on the road to Toledo.
"We like road trips," Kreher said. "Bus trips are fun. We have a lot of fun on the bus."
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, October 2, 2001