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BIG EAST Volleyball Action Starts This Weekend in Gampel

Sept. 24, 2009

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STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut volleyball team opens the BIG EAST portion of the 2009 season against Notre Dame on Friday evening followed by DePaul on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. With an overall 7-8 record this season, the Huskies look to start the conference slate on the right foot as they also welcome back former players for Alumni Weekend.

UConn picks up where it left off in respect to its first BIG EAST opponent this season. Notre Dame was the final conference opponent the Huskies faced last season and as they start the year against the Fighting Irish, the 2009 crew loosk to avenge a bitter end to a successful 2008 campaign. The regular season ended with a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame last year and a first-round exit in the BIG EAST Tournament was a result of a three-set loss to the Fighting Irish.

The Boston College Tournament ended on a high note for the Huskies who saw their three-match winning streak snapped early on. UConn won a four-set decision over Hartford in its final match of the weekend after losing a pair of decisions to Boston College and Rhode Island.

Senior libero Jessica Isaac (Erlanger, Ky.) became the career leader in assists on Saturday and holds the record with 1,748 entering the weekend. She is averaging 3.33 digs pet set thus far. On the offensive side of things, sophomore Jordan Kirk (Plano, Texas) and junior Rebecca Murray (Carmel, Ind.) continue to lead the Huskies in kills. Kirk is averaging 2.73 kills per set while Murray is contributing 2.32 per set.

Notre Dame holds an 18-2 edge in the all-time series against the Huskies and arrives in Storrs with a 6-4 mark. The Fighting Irish are consistently receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Poll undoubtedly because of their early three-set win over then-No. 5 Stanford as well as their narrow 3-2 loss to No. 19 Florida State last weekend. Friday evening's match against the Huskies is also Notre Dame's BIG EAST opener.

Between the second and third sets of the match against Notre Dame, the Huskies will honor their returning alumni on the court.

UConn is undefeated against DePaul with the Huskies continuing their dominance over the Blue Demons with a three-set decision in 2008. DePaul slipped to 6-8 on the year after a 3-1 loss to Northern Illinois on Tuesday. This weekend, not only marks the start of conference action for the Blue Demons, it is also the first weekend that DePaul has not competed in a tournament this year.

Their tournament play came to a close after the Blue Demons hosted their own DePaul Invitational. Led by Sarah Cullen with 37 kills, DePaul finished third after opening the weekend with a four-set win over Eastern Michigan only to fall in three sets to both Western Kentucky and Sacramento State.

The Blue Demons will have faced their first BIG EAST opponent when they arrive in Storrs on Sunday as they take on St. John's (7-8) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Friday night is Residence Hall night at volleyball with FREE T-Shirts for the First 100 Fans while Sunday's 1 p.m. match is Fitness Center Day. As always admission is free for volleyball matches at Gampel.