Fun-loving Dohogne helps power Notre Dame to volleyball final four

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Notre Dame senior volleyball starter Meghan Dohogne leads the team in kills, digs and laughs. (Kit Doyle)

Notre Dame senior Meghan Dohogne will tell you that she loves shopping for dresses with her mother almost as much as she enjoys smashing a volleyball.

Or shooting a basket.

Or scoring a goal in soccer.

Or beating someone in just about anything.

"Even Rock, Scissors, Paper, she has to win," said Alyssa Ruopp, one of her best friends and teammate on the volleyball team. "If she loses best out of three, we have to play best out of five."

Notre Dame's Meghan Dohogne spikes during a match earlier this season. (TIM BRUMITT ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

Dohogne and the Notre Dame volleyball team has made a habit of rebounding against teams that beat it. After the Bulldogs lost to Scott City in early September, Notre Dame returned the favor less than a week later in the SEMO Spike tournament. De Soto knocked off Notre Dame in the Festus tournament only to lose to the Bulldogs in the sectionals.

"You've got to get them back," Dohogne said.

Dohogne's mother, Kim, said the competitive streak runs in her genes.

"She gets it from both sides of the family," Kim said. "Her dad is very competitive and so am I. As a matter of fact, it's kind of a big joke that you don't even want to play board games at our house. We all like to win."

That competitive nature has served her well during her athletic career. She's the kill leader on the Bulldogs volleyball team that will play in the Class 3 final four Friday and Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. She also is a starter on the Notre Dame basketball and soccer teams.

Notre Dame's Meghan Dohogne warms up for the Notre Dame-Leopold volleyball match Oct. 22. (TIM BRUMMIT)

"She's one of the best workers I've ever coached," Notre Dame volleyball coach Tara Stroup said. "She's never looking for the easy way out, never looking just to be done with whatever drill we're doing. She's pushing to get better, not just to be done and go on to something else."

Her work ethic doesn't stop at volleyball. She starts for the Notre Dame girls basketball and soccer teams as well and is a regular on the A honor roll.

"She's just one of those great kids you like to have around," Notre Dame girls basketball coach Renee Peters said. "She's got a great sense of humor, a great team player. She works her tail off but keeps everything in perspective."

It is her sense of humor that stands out to her teammates. Abby Horrell, one of Dohogne's volleyball teammates and closest friends, points to Dohogne's backpack as an example of her quirkiness.

"She has a princess backpack, a fairytale backpack, like for a kindergartener," Horrell said. "She thinks it holds all her books. She has a matching pencil case."

Ruopp quickly chimed in with another example.

"We got her a tiara for her birthday because she thinks she's a princess," Ruopp said.

Jane Morrill, one of Dohogne's teammates on the basketball team, struggled to give a specific example of how Dohogne keeps the team loose.

"She's always making people laugh," Morrill said. "She's just hilarious. Everything that comes out of her mouth is hilarious. It's her personality to be that way."

Dohogne is quick with a smile and laugh. She even pokes fun at herself.

"My mother always calls me a closet nerd," she said. "I like to do all sorts of things. I'm easily entertained you could say."

There isn't much time away from sports, but she tries to find time to hang out with friends and watch movies. Her favorite genre, not surprisingly, is comedy, and will watch anything except horror flicks. She also makes time to watch almost anything on the Discovery Channel, where her favorite week is Shark Week.

"With Meghan, honestly, you see what you get," Kim said. "She doesn't pull too many punches. She doesn't have trouble telling everybody that she's a closet nerd. She is exactly as she seems."

Her friends appreciate that honesty.

"She's very trustworthy," Horrell said. "You can always depend on her. She's very blunt and honest when you need to hear it."

Dohogne also enjoys spending time with her family, especially her mother in stores.

"I'm an avid shopper," she said. "I love dresses. My mom and I, it's something we do. We look around. She loves looking at dresses."

She doesn't mind showing off her recent purchases -- her current favorite is a purple dress -- but when the match starts, fashion isn't what's on her mind.

"There's a time for it, being a girlie girl," she said. "When you're trying to intimidate the other team, you don't necessarily want to whip out your best glow.

"I think you can be both. There are ribbons in volleyball. You can style it up a little bit."

Kim didn't hesitate to offer her opinion on which is the real Meghan -- the intimidator or girlie girl.

"It would be intimidating players," Kim said. "That's more her. She's enjoying dressing up more and doing that kind of stuff and getting her nails done. But her focus is really her competitiveness in her sports."

Getting her start

Dohogne started playing soccer in kindergarten then added basketball and finally volleyball in the sixth grade. Volleyball eventually evolved into her favorite.

"I used not to have a favorite, even coming into high school, but it's developed into my favorite," she said. "It's always changing, it's never the same. The intensity level is so high."

Her mother said it made sense that volleyball developed into her favorite sport.

"Would she go out and shoot a basket? Would she go out and dribble a soccer ball? No, she'd always go out and bump a volleyball," Kim said. "She just kind of always enjoyed that once she started playing."

Dohogne plays middle hitter for the Bulldogs, which offers a challenge. She's listed at 5 foot 8 and often plays against girls who are 4 to 6 inches taller.

"I just have to use what I have and be quick," she said. "I have to be smart and hit around their blocks because they're bigger than I am."

Her coach said that problem solving is what makes Dohogne a special player.

"When you look at her size compared to some of the girls we play, she's not that big for a middle hitter," Stroup said. "But she's a smart player. She's effective because she tries so hard. She reads the court well. She's smart. She doesn't have to try to hit it over people. She tries to hit around them."

Dohogne recorded 288 kills and 118 blocks as a junior and followed that with 293 kills and 87 blocks this season. She also leads the team with 41 service aces and 275 digs.

"She's always up for the big games," Stroup said. "She hasn't had one yet where she's been more concerned with what's going on after the game. She comes to play and is ready to go."

What's next

Dohogne said she's in the process of deciding where to go to school next year. One thing is certain -- she'd love to continue her volleyball career.

"I've been talking to some teams around," she said. "I guess I'm trying to decide on future plans and go from there. I'm really close to my family, so [I[']d like to stay] kind of close."

But that decision can wait a little longer. After all, her mother has been hearing about the final four since Meghan's freshman year.

"I have heard nothing for three years except that A, I want to go to state, and B, I would like to play volleyball in college," Kim said. "I've heard it for three years now. That it has finally happened is just amazing. We're just so excited for her and the whole team."

And Meghan plans to enjoy every minute of the trip.

"I've been playing all these sports and this is the first time that we've made it to the final four," she said. "That's really special to me, especially being my favorite sport and this season. It's pretty much what we've been working for for four years."

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