Nov. 27, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame volleyball team wraps up its 2013 season this weekend as it welcomes a pair of former BIG EAST rivals - Boston College and Syracuse - to Purcell Pavilion for Atlantic Coast Conference action. The Irish and Eagles will meet at 4 p.m. on Black Friday, while the Orange will be the opponent for Senior Day at 2 p.m. Saturday. Both matches can be followed through the gametracker and WatchND links on UND.com.
The Irish should be quite familiar with both opponents as they are meeting BC and `Cuse for the second time each this season. Just three weeks ago, the Orange swept Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome, but the Irish rebounded with a thrilling 3-2 win over the Eagles where they overcame a 2-0 deficit to pick up a road victory in Power Gym.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series against both teams in convincing fashion as it holds a 12-1 advantage over the Eagles and a 19-3 lead over the Orange.
Boston College (9-22, 1-18 ACC) closes out a tough season under fourth year head coach Chris Campbell with its match against the Irish. While the Eagles have hadn't much luck in ACC play, they have played three five-set matches in their last seven contests and picked up their lone win, a 3-0 sweep of Maryland, November 15 at home.
Syracuse (15-16, 10-9 ACC) has shown significant improvement under second year head coach Leonid Yelin, as the Orange have put together a winning record in the ACC after going just 12-18 and 4-11 in BIG EAST play a year ago. After opening 1-5 in conference play, the Orange have gone 9-4 the rest of the way including winning five of their last seven.
"We want to finish the season strong," said head coach Debbie Brown. "That's been our goal for the last couple of weeks. We've emphasized teamwork and doing what's best for the team. We want to play hard for each other and send the seniors out with two wins."
The two squads met Wednesday afternoon, with the Orange picking up a 3-1 win at home.
After starting off the ACC slate 0-5, Notre Dame (12-17, 6-12 ACC) has had some ups and downs in putting together a 6-7 mark the rest of the way highlighted by wins over NCAA Tournament bubble teams Miami (3-1) and Virginia Tech (3-1) at home. Entering the final two home matches of the season, Notre Dame is 8-5 at home including 4-4 in ACC play.
Last weekend proved to be a microcosm of the season as Notre Dame put together one of its best matches of the year in a satisfying 3-1 victory over the Hokies Friday afternoon, before getting swept by the Virginia Cavaliers Sunday afternoon.
Saturday will mark the final time five standout student-athletes will put on the Irish uniform. Seniors Maggie Brindock, Sammie Brown, Andrea McHugh, Andie Olsen and Nicole Smith have each left a mark on the Irish program individually while helping the program reach the NCAAs last season for the first time since 2009 as the Irish finished 20-10 and tied for second in the BIG EAST's regular season with a 13-2 mark. This year the senior class helped transition the Irish to the more elite ACC.
"These five have been an incredible class," said Brown. "They have been very dedicated to the program from start to finish and have set a great example for their younger teammates. They have demonstrated teamwork throughout their four years and have worked hard for Notre Dame both on and off the court."
As their careers come to a close, Brindock and McHugh have left their mark in the Irish record book. Brindock is safely in fifth place in Notre Dame history for assists (3,126) and McHugh is ninth in digs (1,256) and sets played (446), but would move into eighth in digs with 17 more and into sixth in sets played with five more. In addition, if McHugh plays in both contests this weekend she would become just the sixth player in school history to play in every match of her career.
Junior Jeni Houser joins the senior duo on the records watch as the Louisville, Ky., native is just 11 kills away from becoming the 21st player in school history to reach 1,000 career kills.
For more information on Notre Dame volleyball follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDVolleyball) and Twitter (@NDVolleyball).
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director