May 23, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Matchups with 12 NCAA Tournament teams, including national runner-up Wisconsin, highlight an elite 2014 University of Notre Dame volleyball schedule released Friday by 24-year head coach Debbie Brown.
Before the Irish get into Atlantic Coast Conference action in late September, they will first play 11 non-conference matches that feature five NCAA Tournament teams and three Big Ten foes.
"Our four weeks of non-conference action will see us play strong competition that will certainly prepare us well for the ACC schedule," said Brown.
The Irish (13-18, 7-13 ACC in 2013) certainly will not ease into the season as they head to Minneapolis, Minn., for the ACC / Big Ten Challenge where they will meet the Badgers (Aug. 30) in addition to host and reigning NCAA Sweet 16 team Minnesota (Aug. 29).
"This is the first year of a four-year ACC / Big Ten Challenge with Louisville and us representing the ACC and Wisconsin and Minnesota representing the Big Ten. Minnesota is hosting the inaugural event and it will be a great tournament for us for the next four years."
Notre Dame will kick off the home portion of its schedule the following week (Sept. 5-7) as Washington State, NCAA Tournament qualifier IUPUI and Western Michigan come to Purcell Pavilion for the Golden Dome Invitational.
The next week (Sept 12-13), TCU, Northeastern and Northern Iowa come to town for the Shamrock Invitational.
"Our two home tournaments feature great competition," said Brown. "It will be a positive to be able to play back-to-back weekends at home early in the season."
A trip to NCAA Elite Eight program Purdue and the Purdue Active Ankle Challenge (Sept. 19-20) closes out the tournament slate for the Irish. Notre Dame will play NCAA Tournament team Morehead State and Saint Louis before closing out the tourney against the host Boilermakers.
"Purdue is always an exciting place to play," said Brown. "They're a great program and it will be a loud and rowdy atmosphere."
Year two in the Atlantic Coast Conference will present plenty of opportunities to compete against elite competition.
Notre Dame opens the conference slate at NCAA Tournament team Miami (Sept. 26) and NCAA Sweet 16 foe Florida State (Sept. 28).
The Irish will then return to Purcell Pavilion for the ACC home opener against former BIG EAST rival Syracuse (Oct. 3) before welcoming in NCAA Second Round qualifier Duke (Oct. 5) two days later.
Other NCAA Tournament opponents include Louisville (Oct. 12, Nov. 9) and North Carolina (Nov. 21).
Irish road ACC contests after Florida State includes Pittsburgh (Oct. 10), Louisville (Oct. 12), Virginia Tech (Oct. 24), Virginia (Oct. 26), Boston College (Nov. 2), Wake Forest (Nov. 14) and Duke (Nov. 16).
Home matches after Duke includes Clemson (Oct. 17), Boston College (Oct. 19), Georgia Tech (Oct. 31), Louisville (Nov. 9), North Carolina (Nov. 21), NC State (Nov. 23) and Pittsburgh (Nov. 28 - Senior Day).
"We're really looking forward to our second season in the ACC," said Brown. "There was a lot to learn in year one and we know we are better prepared for this second year. The format is a little different as we have two less matches in conference and we don't have any mid-week matches. This will allow for a much better training regimen and will allow us to have better preparation too."
The 2014 Irish return to campus August 10 to begin preparations for the upcoming campaign. Nine monogram winners from 2013 are back for Notre Dame, including two-time AVCA honorable mention All-American Jeni Houser. The program will also welcome in an impressive freshmen class that features six high school standouts.
Season ticket, Irish Spikers and 2014 promotions information will be released towards the end of the summer.
For more information on Notre Dame volleyball remember to follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDVolleyball) and Twitter (@NDVolleyball).
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director