Sep 10, 2012, 9:55 PM EDT
When the Notre Dame volleyball team arrived on the campus of USC prior to last weekend’s tournament, head coach Debbie Brown was stepping into familiar territory. From 1976-1977, then Debbie Landreth led her Trojan squad over two seasons to an astonishing 72-1 record that included back-to-back national titles. Since 2008, Brown’s name and number have hung from the rafters of the Galen Center, cementing the mark she had on the program during her time as a player at USC.
The 5-foot-8 outside hitter and two-time All-American received the Mikasa Award as the nation’s top overall player during both of her seasons at Southern Cal. To this day, she is remembered as one of the all-time greats at the position despite playing just two seasons for the Trojans. Brown left USC before her junior season to train with the U.S. National Team before eventually completing her degree in Physical Education from Arizona State University.
The trip certainly brought back inspiring memories for Coach Brown as she led her Irish team to a 1-2 record over the course of the two-day tournament. After Friday’s 3-0 sweep against Cal Poly, Notre Dame fought valiantly in Saturday’s double header against two ranked foes, including No. 5 USC. Despite the setbacks, the Irish competed strongly and nearly upset No. 17 San Diego in the first five-set match of the season. For her efforts, sophomore Toni Alugbue was again named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after collecting a career best 22 kills against San Diego.
Notre Dame will return to Purcell Pavilion this weekend as the team looks to improve upon its four close losses on the season, all of which have come against ranked opponents. The Irish will face Xavier on Friday, Loyola Marymount on Saturday, and Kansas on Sunday as part of the Golden Dome Invitational.
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