Sept. 21, 2012
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Behind career highs in kills for Toni Alugbue (26) and assists for Maggie Brindock (54), the Notre Dame volleyball team won a five-set thriller over Cincinnati (19-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 16-14) on Friday night at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Irish trailed 14-12 in the fifth set but wouldn’t give up, as Alugbue and Hilary Eppink each tallied a kill to knot the score at 14. An attack error by Megan Turner gave the Irish the 15-14 lead with Alugbue serving for match point. Before Alugbue could serve however, Turner was awarded a red card, which by rule gave the Irish a point and a 16-14 set win for the 3-2 match victory.
Leading the way for the Irish was Alugube, who broke her career high in kills for the third time this season. She hit .426 on the match, recording only three errors in 54 attempts. The Del Aire, Calif., native also added 11 digs and seven blocks as she recorded her seventh double-double of the season.
Also turning in a career performance was Brindock, who smashed her career high in assists for the second consecutive match. She chipped in three kills, seven digs and six blocks for a productive all-around match.
Elsewhere, sophomore Jeni Houser had 13 kills and four blocks, freshman libero Taylor Morey had 20 digs and junior outside hitter Andrea McHugh had 11 kills, four assists and 10 digs for her fifth double-double of the season.
Cincinnati (2-11) had four players with double-digit kills, led by Jordanne Scott’s 21. Setter Rachel Rohlfs had a remarkable 60 assists, while libero Emily MacIntyre had 34 digs.
As a team the Irish dominated the nets, producing 17.5 blocks to just 5.0 for the Bearcats. The blocks helped offset a season-worst 17 service aces as a team. Notre Dame also out-hit Cincinnati, .301 to .233.
Notre Dame (8-5) travels to No. 10 Louisville on Sunday for a 2 p.m. match. Fans can follow along via live stats or pay $9.95 for a monthly subscription to CARDSTV to watch the match on Louisville’s online video player.
The Bearcats jumped out to a big lead in set one in large part to Irish service problems that prevented Notre Dame from getting closer than five in a 25-19 Cincinnati victory. Trailing 17-8, the Irish went on a 7-3 run to cut the lead to 20-15. But a pair of kills from the Bearcats extended the lead back to seven. The Irish trimmed the lead to five at 24-19, but a kill by Scott ended the first set. Five service aces gave the Bearcats a fourth of their first 20 points, while Turner pounded down five kills in the opening frame. Neither team hit well as Cincinnati held a slim .189 to .162 edge.
Notre Dame rebounded in set two to knot the score at one heading into the break. Leading by a slim 16-15 margin, the Irish reeled off three consecutive points by way of kills from Alugbue, McHugh and Houser. Later in the set with the score at 20-17 in favor of the Irish McHugh tallied a kill followed by a block to increase the lead to 22-17. From there the teams traded points before an Alugbue kill gave the Irish the set, 25-21. The Irish improved their hitting in set two, attacking at a .343 clip, with Alugbue and Houser each pounding out five kills to lead the way.
In the crucial third set, an impressive Irish comeback was for naught as Cincinnati ended the third set on a 5-1 run after Notre Dame went on a 5-0 run to tie the score at 20. Trailing 20-15, Alugbue powered home a kill and then went back to serve. A kill by Houser, two kills by McHugh and a bad set later, the Irish found themselves deadlocked at 20 with the Bearcats. However, Cincinnati regrouped after a timeout and went on a 4-0 run behind three kills from Scott to go up 24-21. After a kill by Houser, the Irish committed their 13th service error of the match to give the Bearcats the 25-21 victory and 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set. The Irish had no answers in set three for Scott, a preseason all-BIG EAST selection, as the senior had seven kills including five from 13-10 on. Notre Dame outhit the Bearcats .342-.310, but committed six more service errors to cripple its comeback chances.
Notre Dame sent the match to the full five sets with a 25-20 win in set four. The Irish trailed 12-8 before going on an 8-0 run to take a 16-12 lead, behind the serving of Brindock and four blocks from the Irish front line. Notre Dame watched as the Bearcats trimmed the lead to two at 18-16, but the Irish didn’t panic, trading points with Cincinnati to get the score to 23-20. A kill by Alugbue and an attack error on the Bearcats sent the match to five. Alugbue continued to put on a show for the Irish, adding seven more kills in the set to up her total to 21 for the match.