NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Six freshmen joined nine returnees this week as the University of Notre Dame volleyball team kicked off preparations for the 2014 season with The Program Monday and Tuesday before turning to the court for two-a-days Wednesday and Thursday.
While a special feature on The Program will come out before the season opener at Minnesota that will show just what the team went through together, head coach Debbie Brown was pleased with the results of the two-day leadership development and team building session.
"I liked that The Program was practical experience on how to be a good teammate and how to lead," said the 29-year coaching veteran. "The team was challenged and it was pointed out when we weren't doing those things. The experiential learning that took place is really valuable for our team right now. I think the team building that took place has been key for our team bonding. We wanted to have a shared experience right away that we could draw upon, that we could reflect on and help us going forward."
Having put the 15-woman squad that features six seniors, one junior, two sophomores and six freshmen through six practices, Brown sees the results of The Program already.
"I'm really pleased with what we are accomplishing thus far," said Brown. "The thing that is most pleasing is the attitude and the work ethic of the team. I think they are working incredibly hard, being great teammates and holding each other accountable."
After knocking out headshots, team and class photos and video board sessions Friday, the squad returns to the court at 9 a.m. Saturday for the first of two practices scheduled for the day.
Season Ticket Information:
Season tickets are now on sale for Notre Dame's 15-match home schedule that include contests against ranked ACC foes Duke (No. 21) and North Carolina (No. 20) in addition to two home tournaments - the Golden Dome Invitational and the Shamrock Invitational.
The youth club Irish Spikers is also accepting members for the 2014 season. Fans with children that are in the eighth grade or under are encouraged to participate, as membership is just $20 for the entire season and include several great benefits.
This year, first-time season ticket buyers will receive a discount on prices. Instead of $35, adult will pay $26; instead of $20, youth and seniors will pay $15 and instead of $80, a Family 4 Pack (2 adults/2 youth) will be $60.
The Irish will arguably face one of the toughest schedules in the country this year as they play six AVCA preseason top 25 opponents throughout the season. Notre Dame will open up the 2014 campaign with No. 6 Wisconsin (Aug. 29) and No. 12 Minnesota (Aug. 30) in Minneapolis. Three weeks later, the Irish face off with No. 8 Purdue in West Lafayette (Sept. 20). In ACC play, Notre Dame will battle No. 13 Florida State Sept. 28 (at FSU), No. 20 North Carolina Nov. 21 (at Purcell) and No. 21 Duke Oct. 5 (at Purcell) and Nov. 16 (at Duke).
In addition to all 15 Irish home games appearing for free through WatchND, fans can also check out the squad on ESPN3 at Pittsburgh (Oct. 10), at Duke (Nov. 16) and at home versus Boston College (Oct. 19) and Louisville (Nov. 9). Notre Dame will kick off its TV schedule Sept. 20 at No. 8 Purdue on the Big Ten Network (BTN). The first serve is slated for 8 p.m.
How To Follow The Irish:
The Notre Dame volleyball program is now on Instagram (NDVBall) and Vine (NDVolleyball) to add to its social media presence. You can also follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDVolleyball) and Twitter (@NDVolleyball) to get behind-the-scenes coverage of the program.
What's Coming Up:
As we get closer to the start of the 2014 season, head coach Debbie Brown will announce the 2014 captains and we will have a meet the freshmen Q&A segment. In addition, there will be behind-the-scenes coverage of photo and video day Friday. Sometime next week, the team is expected to accept a challenge from ACC rival Boston College to take the #IceBucketChallenge. Until then, a picture of Irish assistant coach Craig Bere accepting the challenge with a little help from senior Erin Klosterman and freshman Natalie Johnson will have to do.
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director