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    Irish Picked Fourth; Alugbue, Houser Named Preseason All-ACC

    FIGHTING IRISH Junior Toni Alugbue was selected with teammate Jeni Houser to the preseason all-ACC team Monday.
    Junior Toni Alugbue was selected with teammate Jeni Houser to the preseason all-ACC team Monday.

    Aug 26, 2013

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Just four days away from an intriguing non-conference matchup with Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team was picked fourth in the ACC preseason coaches poll, while junior standouts Toni Alugbue and Jeni Houser earned a spot on the preseason all-conference team in voting conducted by the league office Monday.

    The Irish, who finished 20-10 and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Championship in their last season in the BIG EAST, received 153 votes and placed behind unanimous league pick Florida State, North Carolina and Miami. The other two programs that are making the move to the ACC - Syracuse and Pittsburgh, were picked 12th and 13th, respectively.

    "Heading into the new conference there are a lot of unknowns but we are looking forward to the challenge," said head coach Debbie Brown. "For us the predicted order of finish doesn't matter. We know where we want to be at the end of the season and we are working towards that in practice every day. We are ready for the new adventure and we are looking forward to facing new opponents every weekend. The competition will be very good and will push us weekly."

    Alugbue and Houser are both expected to have big junior campaigns after being named honorable mention All-Americans in 2012. Alugbue led the Irish last season with 390 kills and 452.5 points, with Houser close behind with 379 kills and 432.0 points. Alugbue also contributed 272 digs and 68 blocks, while Houser hit .324 and totaled 89 blocks. 

    "It's a great honor for both Toni and Jeni to be recognized by the league's coaches even though we haven't even played a league match yet," said Brown. They are both strong players and we are looking forward to seeing what they can do in a new league this year."



    Fifteen teams make up the ACC with each squad playing a 20-match conference schedule. Notre Dame plays each team once and Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Boston College and Syracuse twice.  

    Notre Dame kicks off the 2013 season at 8 p.m. Friday in Murfreesboro, Tenn., at the Blue Raider Bash when it meets the Tar Heels in a match that was finalized before the Irish knew they would be joining the ACC in 2013. Saturday sees Notre Dame play the host Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (12 p.m.) and the University of San Francisco Dons (6 p.m.) to close out the opening weekend.     

    2013 ACC Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll

    No.   Team                        Points      2012 Record (ACC)
      1      Florida State (14)     196           28-4 (18-2)
      2      North Carolina          178           26-6 (16-4)
      3      Miami                    169           25-6 (17-3)
      4     Notre Dame              153          20-10
      5      NC State                133           22-10 (12-8)
      6      Duke                     126           15-17 (6-14)
      7      Virginia Tech           122         16-14 (9-11)
      8      Clemson                109           21-10 (12-8)
      9      Georgia Tech            82          19-12 (10-10)
    10      Maryland                  81          17-15 (8-12)
    11      Virginia                    64             9-22 (3-17)
    12      Syracuse                  51          12-18
    13      Pitt                         49            17-14
    14      Boston College          33          10-22 (4-16)
    15      Wake Forest             29           11-21 (5-15)
    *First place votes in parentheses

    2013 Preseason All-ACC Team


    Katty Workman/Sophomore/Outside Hitter/Boston College

    Mo Simmons/ Senior/Outside Hitter/Clemson

    Emily Sklar/ Sophomore/Outside Hitter/Duke

    Ali McCurdy/ Senior Libero/Defensive Specialist/Duke

    Olivera Medic/ Senior/Outside Hitter/Florida State

    Ashley Neff/ Senior/Middle Blocker/Florida State

    Chanell Clark-Bibbs/Sophomore/Middle Blocker/Georgia Tech

    Ashleigh Crutcher/Junior/Outside Hitter/Maryland

    Adreene Elliot/Junior/Middle Blocker/Maryland

    Alex Johnson/Senior/Right Side/Miami

    Alexis Mourning/Junior/Middle Blocker/Miami

    Ryan Shaffer/Senior/Defensive Specialist/Miami

    Emani Sims/Junior/Middle Blocker/Miami

    Chaniel Nelson/Junior/Right Side/North Carolina

    Paige Neuenfeldt/Sophomore/Middle Blocker/North Carolina

    Jeni Houser/Junior/Middle Blocker/Right Side/Notre Dame

    Toni Alugbue/Junior/Outside/Hitter/Notre Dame

    Victoria Hamsher/Senior/Middle Blocker/Virginia Tech


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