Sept. 20, 2013
2013 Kansas Invitational
Notre Dame vs. North Dakota State - Live Stats
Notre Dame vs. Georgia - Live Stats
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After sweeping the Shamrock Invitational in convincing fashion last weekend, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team heads to Lawrence, Kan., this weekend for the Kansas Invitational and matches with North Dakota State, Georgia and the host Jayhawks.
The Irish (5-3) enter the weekend with a three-match winning streak after sweeping Loyola-Chicago, besting Oakland (3-1) and coming from behind against Auburn (3-2) to win the home tournament. Against the Tigers, Notre Dame rallied from a 0-2 hole for the third time in two years to close out the weekend in style. Junior Jeni Houser had herself a tournament as she led the team in kills (42) and blocks (20), while hitting at a .443 clip. Houser turned it on against Auburn as she registered 18 kills and a career-high 13 blocks. The 13 blocks was the most for an Irish student-athlete since Kellie Sciacca had 11 against Villanova in 2007.
So far this season, Houser is tops on the team in points (120.0), attack percentage (.337), service aces (9), blocks (38) and blocks per set (1.15) and is just behind teammate Toni Alugbue (98 kills, 2.97 per set) in kills (89) and kills per set (2.70).
“Jeni really came into her own against Auburn,” said head coach Debbie Brown. “She really dominated at the net on offense and defense. It was really good to see. As a right side hitter last year, Jeni didn’t have the freedom to move across the whole court. As a middle blocker, she is now able to attack and block all different zones and she has been really effective.”
In Kansas, the Irish will have their hands full against some talented opponents. Notre Dame kicks off the weekend against North Dakota State at 10:30 a.m. (ET) Saturday. The Bison (0-9) are looking for their first win of the season, but are battle tested having played solid opponents in Wichita State, Arizona State, Louisville, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa. Emily Miron's 85 kills (3.04 per set) and 20 blocks (0.71 per set) lead the team.
Later Saturday, the Irish play Georgia (8-1) at 8:30 p.m. (ET). The Bulldogs have won convincingly against their opponents so far this season as they have only lost one set in their eight wins. UGA's lone loss came at the hands of then-No. 13 Nebraska, 3-1, in Lincoln. Leading Georgia are five players with 50-plus kills in Brittany Northcutt (77), Lauren Teknipp (75), Stacey Smith (70), Tirah Le'au (61) and Jasmine Eatmon (52).
A matchup with Kansas (7-3) closes out the weekend as the two squads play on ESPN3 at 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The Jayhawks have a handful of impressive wins this season including victories over Arizona (3-1), Arkansas (3-2) and Wisconsin (3-2). Second team All-American Caroline Jarmoc paces the squad with 148 kills (3.52 per set), 10 service aces and 54 blocks (1.29 per set). Talented setter Erin Mcnorton averages 11.86 helpers per set.
“This weekend will present a very challenging field,” said Brown. “Kansas (Big 12) and Georgia (SEC) both come from good conferences. We will have our work cut out for us for sure. With North Dakota State they are a very young team but are talented and have a lot of heart. Anytime a team is looking for its first win, its desire to win goes up every match. We will play them early in the morning so we need to wake up and be ready to go.”
“We grew up as a team last weekend and we need to continue it. We need to get better every match this weekend to get us prepared for ACC play next weekend.”
Fans looking to follow this weekend's matches can use the live stats links at the top of the article. Sunday's match against Kansas can be followed through audio ($2.95) or ESPN3 (Free) in addition to live stats. Links for both are at the top of the page as well.
This weekend marks the last of the non-conference portion of the schedule as Notre Dame hits the Atlantic Coast Conference portion of the slate hard next weekend with a trip to Tobacco Road and matchups with North Carolina and N.C. State.
More information on Notre Dame volleyball can be found on Facebook (/NDVolleyball) and Twitter (@NDVolleyball).
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director