Oct. 1, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame fell on the short end of three tightly contested sets while routing Cincinnati in set three, but that effort was not enough during Saturday’s BIG EAST Conference volleyball contest at Purcell Pavilion.
Cincinnati (11-6 overall, 3-0 BIG EAST) received a match-high 25 kills from Missy Harpenau to pull out the 3-1 (27-25, 26-24, 16-25, 25-22) win. The victory marked the first time Cincinnati has defeated Notre Dame (8-5, 1-2) on consecutive occasions in the 14-match series history.
Harpenau added 12 digs for a double-double, a feat also achieved by Irish senior Kristen Dealy and sophomore Sammie Brown. Dealy had 11 kills (.257) and 14 digs with Brown adding 35 assists and 14 digs.
No one covered as much ground as senior Frenchy Silva, who was good for a game-high 24 scoops for her second straight 20+ dig performance.
Freshman Toni Alugbue contributed seven kills with a team-high six blocks while Notre Dame out-stuffed the Bearcats, 10-9.
The Irish also out-hit Cincinnati, .291 to .267, and even out-scored the visitors, 96-92. But Cincinnati pulled out decisive two-point wins in the opening pair of sets while creeping away with a three-point win in the closer.
Notre Dame faces Louisville at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday to close a four-game homestand. Live video, audio and stats will be available at UND.com.
The Irish trailed by three points on eight different occasions in the first before tying it at 15-15. Ten ties would follow and Notre Dame even took a 22-21 lead on one of Hilary Eppink’s nine kills. Staring at set point after McHugh aced the Bearcats, Notre Dame gave up each of the next two to fall into a 1-0 hole on the big board.
The second set played out much the same with 12 ties and eight lead changes. Again, the Irish had set point at 24-23 when the Bearcats took advantage of a service error with another 3-0 run to take a 2-0 lead into intermission.
A number of small spurts in third period behind a .485 hitting performance put Notre Dame ahead by as many as 10 at 23-13 before cruising to the lopsided win. Seven different Irish players recorded at least one kill.
Just as soon as either team took even the slightest of leads in the fourth, the other would rally back to turn the tides. Leading 6-4, Notre Dame surrendered four straight to swing the momentum to Cincinnati’s side of the court. The Irish battled to tie it at 15-15 on a kill by Brown and closed to within a pair at 23-21, with the Bearcats standing tall to take three of the next four for the win.