Sept. 8, 2016
By Michael Scholl
SETTING SAIL FOR THE OCEAN STATE
The Notre Dame volleyball team hits the road for the first time in 2016, traveling to the University of Rhode Island’s Art Carmichael Invitational. In addition to the host Rams, the Irish will take on Stony Brook and San Diego State during three matches in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
WHAT: 2016 Art Carmichael Invitational
WHO: Notre Dame, Stony Brook, San Diego State & Rhode Island (host)
WHERE: Keaney Gymnasium - Kingston, R.I.
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 9
11 a.m. - Stony Brook vs. Rhode Island
4 p.m. - Stony Brook vs. Notre Dame
7 p.m. - San Diego State vs. Rhode Island
Saturday, Sept. 10
11 a.m. - Notre Dame vs. San Diego State
4 p.m. - San Diego State vs. Sotny Brooka
7 p.m. - Notre Dame vs. Rhode Island
Head Coach Jim McLaughlin
On practice during the week...
“I liked the intensity. There’s a little edge. We pushed them, but they responded, which is a good thing. I asked them after practice to think about if they understood what they were doing and if they did it better. We’ve got more good swings, fewer bad swings. Even our body language was better. We’re clearing our heads and on to the next play.”
On traveling for the first time this season...
“There’s some travel and a few more distractions, but the distractions are just different. There’s stuff that can happen that you have no control over and can get you wound up a little bit, so you’ve got to let that stuff go. It’s a good test to go on the road and continue to work on our identity to be who we are and not let the conditions change us.
On being halfway through the non-conference schedule...
“Right now, the more the merrier. It’s early in the season, bodies are okay. These kids are starting to understand a little bit higher level. I’m glad we have six more (non-conference matches), we need them. Then I’ll be glad we’re just doing two matches a week. It’s easier on the body, easier on the mind and we can sharpen the focus a little bit.”
SCOUTING THE IRISH
Notre Dame hits the road for the first time with a 4-2 mark after the Golden Dome Invitational and Shamrock Invitational at Purcell Pavilion. Junior setter Caroline Holt (Bloomington, Ill./Central Catholic/Loyola-Chicago) leads the ACC in assists per set at 11.62. She sets-up a balanced attack which has five players averaging over 2.5 kills per set - Sam Fry (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline), Rebecca Nunge (Newburgh, Ind./Castle), Maddie Plumlee (Winona Lake, Ind./Saint Mary’s (N.C.)), Meg Morningstar (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny), and Jemma Yeadon (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island). Meanwhile, libero Ryann DeJarld anchors the defense with 4.14 digs per set, in addition to nine service aces which rank third in the league.
SCOUTING THE SEAWOLVES
Stony Brook makes the trip from Long Island to Rhode Island with a 2-6, most recently having won a four-set decision from Iona in its home opener Wednesday night. McKyla Brooks leads the attack at 2.78 kills per set, followed closely by Liz Pulver at 2.35 and Taylor Wilson at 2.00. Morgan Kath is the setter, averaging 9.63 assists per frame. Kardasia Hitchcock (2.67 digs per set) and Melann Amory (2.50 digs per set) anchor the back line, while Brooks is the leading blocker with 15 on the season. Notre Dame and Stony Brook will be meeting for the first time in volleyball on Friday night.
SCOUTING THE AZTECS
San Diego State makes a cross-country trip with a 3-4 mark, most recently having suffered a five-set loss to UC Irvine on Wednesday. Alexandra Psoma and Deja Harris front the attack and 2.62 and 2.44 kills per set, while Tamia Reeves has added 2.80 kills per set while playing in just 10 frames. Hailey Jones leads SDSU with 5.67 assists per set, while Lauren Utchen (5.33 assists per set) and Indigo Thompson (4.64 assists per set) handle setting. Jones is also the team leader with 2.33 digs per set, while Harris is the top blocker at 1.04 per set. The Irish and Aztecs have squared off one time, with SDSU winning a three-set match in the 1990 Whataburger Classic in Austin, Texas.
SCOUTING THE RAMS
Rhode Island hosts the Art Carmichael Invitational with a 3-3 mark after and 0-3 weekend in California to open the season, followed by three victories in a tournament at the University of Hartford last weekend. Layne Self was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week after totaling 22 blocks and recording a .465 hitting percentage in the three matches. In addition to leading URI with 1.332 blocks per set, Self is second on the team this season with 2.59 kills per set, trailing only Audrey Castro’s 3.68 kills per set on the team. Callan Kinnan is the Ram setter, averaging 10.86 assists per set, in addition to a team-leading 3.09 digs per set. Notre Dame and Rhode Island have met four previous times, with the Irish holding a 3-1 edge in the series. The sides last met in 2003, with the 14th-ranked Irish sweeping three sets from the Rams in Rhode Island.
-- ND --
Michael Scholl joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in August 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and baseball programs at his alma mater. The South Bend native earned a degree in political science from the College of Arts & Letters in 2009 before going on to work in athletics communications at Providence College, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in sport administration at the University of Cincinnati.