Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 1, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 48 of 55 OCT. 1, 2018 49 ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE R yann DeJarld faces a tough deci- sion this spring after she walks off the commencement stage at Notre Dame Stadium with her manage- ment consulting degree in hand and a wealth of volleyball options out front. DeJarld is a senior libero for the Irish — aka a defensive specialist — and a very good one. In fact, she's statistically the best libero ever to play at Notre Dame. Entering this season, DeJarld was already the Notre Dame career leader in digs with 1,808, a running total that included a record-shattering 747 digs as a junior in 2017. (She had 195 digs in Notre Dame's first 10 matches this season.) She became the first-ever Irish player to claim first-team All-ACC honors last season, she earned ACC All-Academic honors in 2016, she's never missed a match during her three-plus seasons here, she's an ace machine when serving, and now she's a co-captain in charge of lead- ing a youthful Irish team that lost six seniors from last year and features eight total freshmen and sophomores this season. "It's definitely been fun and excit- ing, and challenging at times to try and figure out what our vibe is as a team, to try and figure out how to make the chemistry work for this sea- son," DeJarld said. "But I am really excited about it and really confident that this group is the right group." DeJarld admits there has been a learning curve to try to flatten throughout this season. "But I think that we have em- braced what the coaches have told us and just embraced improving play by play," she said. This youthful Irish team started out well, winning its first four matches of the season. But as the competi- tion improved, the growing pains surfaced and the wins became more elusive. "It's definitely been a challenge at times," she said, "but we'll work through it." Program records, big wins, indi- vidual honors — DeJarld has many options to choose from when asked for her career highlights. But the few that stand out were a 3-0 whitewash of No. 23 Michigan State last season, a weekend sweep in the Sunshine State of Florida State and Miami (two of the better teams in the ACC) also last season, and the games she squares off against her sister Jane, who is a junior setter at Boston Col- lege. An accomplished player at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago, Ryann DeJarld had many options and offers on where to play her col- lege volleyball, but one school al- ways topped the list. "Notre Dame definitely stood out," she said, "mainly in the way of what it means to be a student-athlete here and the vibe that the campus brings." DeJarld knows she's approaching a "crossroads" when weighing career options after college. Playing beach volleyball or in one of the many overseas leagues are a couple of professional options, and so is using her degree in an invest- ment sales position or some other stock-related occupation. "I'm not sure yet," she said, "but it's not a bad decision to work through." In the meantime, DeJarld will con- tinue to set records on the court, fin- ish her responsibilities off of it and do everything in her power to hold a standard the Notre Dame volleyball program has come to expect. "I think I speak for every athlete here when I say that playing for Notre Dame and having that Irish on your back makes you feel very im- portant," she said. "It makes you feel very special to be an athlete here." ✦ Ryann DeJarld Is Setting Records And Leading The Young Irish Irish Roundup CROSS COUNTRY For the 12th straight year, the Notre Dame men and women both captured the title in the National Catholic Invitational. The top finisher for the women was senior Annie Heffernan with a time of 17:24.47 in the 5,000-meter race, while senior Anthony Williams paced the men by completing the five-mile course in a time of 24:47.74. The Irish will return to competition when they host the Joe Piane Invitational Sept. 28. MEN'S GOLF Junior Hunter Ostrom led the Fighting Irish to a second-place team finish at the Northern Intercollegiate Championship, Sept. 15-16, in Sugar Grove, Ill. Ostrom posted a 54-hole career-low, 6-under-par 210 to capture the individual championship and shoot the Irish up the leader board. Next up for Notre Dame is the Old Town Club Collegiate Invitational Sept. 24-25 in Winston- Salem, N.C. MEN'S SOCCER (3-2-1, 1-0-0 ACC) No. 8 Notre Dame suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of No. 4 Michigan State Sept. 17, surrendering the game-winning goal in the 89th minute. The Irish were looking to snap a two-match losing streak when they took on No. 3 North Carolina Sept. 21. VOLLEYBALL (6-4, 0-0 ACC) The Fighting Irish dropped both matches in their home-and-home series with No. 18 Michigan, falling 3-0 in Ann Arbor Sept. 14 and 3-1 in South Bend Sept. 16. Notre Dame was slated to open ACC play with a road trip to North Carolina Sept. 21 and North Carolina State Sept. 23. — David McKinney DeJarald set a single-season school record with 747 digs in 2017, and is already the program's all-time digs leader with 2,003 and counting as of Sept. 20. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA

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