Oct. 3, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After another heartbreaking Atlantic Coast Conference loss Wednesday night, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team gets right back to action at 7 p.m. Friday when Wake Forest makes its first appearance in Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame (6-8, 0-3 ACC) and Wake (11-3, 0-2) are both in search of their first league win of the season as the Demon Deacons lost to Virginia Tech (3-1) and Virginia (3-0) last weekend, while the Irish have struggled against schools from the Tar Heel state, losing contests to North Carolina (3-0), NC State (3-1) and Duke (3-1) in the last six days.
“It’s really important for us to get better at finishing,” said Brown. “We started off strong last night and lost momentum and couldn’t recover. We have a lot to prove to ourselves. We need to play at a more consistent level.”
The matchup between the two programs is the first since 1982, when the Irish won 2-0 over the Demon Deacons in Philadelphia.
Wake Forest enters Friday night with an 11-3 record after going 11-1 in non-conference action with six sweeps. The Deacs won three tournaments – the Deacon Invitational, the UMKC Kangaroo Klassic and the JMU Invitational - with their lone loss coming at Cal State Fullerton (3-2).
Senior Kristin Grissom paces the Demon Deacon attack as she sits first on the team and fifth in the ACC in hitting percentage (.336) and is sixth in the league in blocks per set (1.16). Freshman Sophia Dodd has performed well in her first year at setter as she is seventh in the league in assists per set (9.56). Elsewhere in the league individual standings, libero Megan Miller is ninth in digs per set (4.20) and Matalee Reed is second in service aces per set (0.49).
As a team Wake is third in the league in blocks per set (2.60) and fifth in hitting percentage (.251), opponent hitting percentage (.148) and digs per set (15.20).
“Wake have several really talented players, especially Grissom and Hargreaves,” said Brown. “As a team they have been pretty balanced all year and picked up a lot of wins in non-conference.”
The Irish are still searching for consistency as they have struggled in different aspects of the game in losses this season. Wednesday night against the Blue Devils, Notre Dame hit a respectable .277, but was out dug 57-42 and had eight service errors.
“It seems like all season we will fix something and then something else that we thought was ok goes wrong,” said Brown. “We have to put it all together.
“Thursday in practice we worked primarily on defense as that was our weakest area last night. We also worked on drills that emphasize finishing."
Notre Dame is calling for fans to "White Out Wake" as free white t-shirts will be handed out before the match. Fans that can't make the contest can follow online through Watch ND or gametracker. Links for both can be found on UND.com.
The Irish hit the road next weekend as they travel to the Palmetto State to meet Clemson (7 p.m. – Friday) and to the Peach State to battle Georgia Tech (7 p.m. Saturday).
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director