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Sunday, June 23, 2024
The Observer

ND Volleyball: Team wraps up season with loss at Long Beach

The Irish closed out their season at Long Beach State on Saturday with a loss to the host 49ers. The Irish fell to Long Beach 3-0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-19) on the first day of the Mizuno Thanksgiving Tournament, to finish the season with a record of 18-13.

Long Beach State (23-7) outhit the Irish .252 to .113 and will continue its season against San Diego in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This year marks the 49ers' 24th consecutive bid to the national tournament.

Kristin Dealy led the offensive attack for Notre Dame. The junior outside hitter recorded 10 kills and 13 digs in the contest. Big East Rookie of the Year Andrea McHugh also performed well for the Irish, pitching in 10 kills and 12 digs. Irish coach Debbie Brown said Dealy and McHugh were not only standouts at Long Beach, but also sources of stability for the team over the entire season.

"I think that both Kristin and Andrea played very well," she said. "They were very steady, playing for all six rotations, both defense and offense. They were outstanding during the game and over the course of the season."

While Brown was disappointed her team did not qualify for the NCAA tournament this year, she said the team made marked improvements throughout the season.

"Although we stumbled and put ourselves in a position where we aren't playing right now, we had a lot of growth this season," Brown said. "We finished way better in November than we were in August, both individually and as team."

Looking to next season, Brown believes that a young roster and a strong recruiting class will propel the team to success, despite losing some strong seniors.

"Although there will be holes to fill, we think that with the young players we have coming back supplemented with a really strong recruiting class we are in a really good position," Brown said. "A lot of times this year, we would have four freshmen on the court at same time. They gained significant playing time, and that will be huge for us when next season rolls around."