Nov. 6, 2013
Notre Dame @ Syracuse
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A trip home couldn't have come at a better time for the University of Notre Dame volleyball team. After losing a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference matches on the road to stretch its losing streak to three matches, the Irish returned to Purcell Pavilion this past weekend and took down Maryland (3-1) and Pittsburgh (3-2) in thrilling fashion to gain some momentum with a Wednesday match at Syracuse looming.
The former BIG EAST Conference foes will do battle at 7 p.m. inside the famous Carrier Dome, which is used for football, basketball and lacrosse in addition to select volleyball matches. Syracuse played its first matches inside the dome last season and has played three inside the 49,262-seat facility so far this year.
Fans can follow the match through the live stats link on UND.com.
Last year as members of the BIG EAST, the Irish swept the Orange convincingly at Purcell Pavilion, 25-13, 25-19, 25-22, behind 12 kills each from Alugbue and Houser. The win was the first of 11 consecutive for the Irish that stretched five weeks.
All-time, Notre Dame leads the series 19-2, including 16-1 in BIG EAST play.
This season, the Orange has rebounded from a 12-18 mark a year ago to go 11-13 overall and 6-6 in the ACC. Syracuse has used an efficient attack to earn wins in league play as it sits fifth in the ACC in attack percentage (.241). Leading the charge for the Orange is sophomore outside hitter Silvi Uattara, who is seventh in the league in kills with 302 (3.51 per set), while attacking at a .290 clip.
"We know they play a variety of lineups, which makes it hard to pin point which one they might use," said head coach Debbie Brown. Usually by this point in the season most teams have their lineups established but they don't, which is very characteristic of their head coach Leonid Yelin, who had a similar approach when he was at Louisville."
The Irish, meanwhile, are coming off two of their best matches of the season in wins over the Terrapins and Panthers. Notre Dame hit .312 in the win over Maryland and .288 in the victory over Pitt, which were the second and fourth best totals of the season, respectively.
Sunday, Notre Dame came back from a 2-1 hole to win in five sets. Alugbue, Houser and Smith closed out impressive weekends by combining for 37 kills.
"There's a good vibe going through the team right now," said Brown. "In looking back on the last two matches, we feel good about our offensive production and competitive spirit in earning two wins. Now we have a quick turnaround on the road. We didn't have a lot of time to make any significant changes. We just tried to stay sharp and keep focused. We need to be road warriors over these next two weeks."
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director