Sept. 11, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After dropping the first set of Friday evening’s matchup against Wisconsin, the Notre Dame volleyball team rallied to take the final three periods en route to a 3-1 (15-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-18) win at the Joyce Center. Not only was it the first win against the Badgers for Irish head coach Debbie Brown in six tries – and Notre Dame’s first since 1987 – but just the second win overall for Notre Dame against a Wisconsin program that eliminated the Irish from their last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2004, 2005 and 2006).
Playing pivotal roles for Notre Dame (4-3) in the opening match of the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational were senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy. Both players slammed down 19 kills apiece, a career-high for Dealy and season-high for Phillips. Dealy notched her double-double with a team-best 13 digs as sophomore libero Frenchy Silva added 10 more.
“This was a nice win for the team and I’m proud of the way they responded after dropping the first set,” Brown said. “Our offense made the plays they needed to make and we showed a lot of heart and some tremendous hustle.”
The Irish offense hit .353 behind 45 assists from senior setter Jamel Nicholas as senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin and junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca each chipped in seven kills. On the defensive end, Sciacca led all players with six blocks and senior middle blocker Tara Enzweiler stuffed five shots. Notre Dame tallied 10 blocks as a unit.
Brittney Dolgner led Wisconsin (3-4) with 13 kills as the Badgers now face New Mexico State at the Joyce Center Saturday (Sept. 12) at 5:00 p.m. (ET).
Wisconsin cruised to take the first set after hitting .485 in the opening frame. However, it would be the visitor’s highest hitting mark of the evening as they proceeded to hit .080, .062 and .107 in the subsequent frames to finish with a team average of .195. Notre Dame struggled with a .222 in the first set but followed with percentages of .367, .429 and .387, respectively, to wrap up the win.
The Badgers led by a 19-9 margin to start the match and never looked back with a nine-point first-set win.
Notre Dame proceeded to outscore the Badgers by 23 points in the remaining stanzas.
Six of Dealy’s kills came in the second, three of which came on her first trio of swings to make it 3-3. Enzweiler and Phillips teamed for a block at 4-3 to give Notre Dame the lead for good. At 15-11, freshman libero Christina Theofilos checked in and the Irish rode her serve to a 19-11 lead. Phillips kept the margin at eight points with a backdoor kill at 20-12 and Kaelin added two more over the final stretch.
Coming out of intermission, Wisconsin managed a quick 3-0 spurt and led by four (8-4) after back-to-back aces by Elle Ohlander. A Badger error knotted things at 8-8 and Notre Dame grabbed the lead with a Phillips kill at 11-10 during a 6-0 Irish jaunt. One point went to Wisconsin before Notre Dame rattled off five more to make it 19-11. Dealy saved four of her six kills in the set for the remaining Irish points after they led, 21-13. The second-year star was too much for the Badger defense as she used a plethora of shots in her arsenal by going above, around, through and tipping over the block.
Notre Dame and Wisconsin were tied, 4-4, in the fourth before Phillips bounced one of her five kills in the set to give the Irish a lead they would hold on to until the end. Sciacca had a kill at 8-5 then blocked a Caity DuPont attack with Nicholas on the next play to force a Wisconsin timeout. DuPont brought Wisconsin back to within three (20-17) with an ace and the Irish answered by feeding Phillips for two late kills to seal the deal.
Next up for Notre Dame is a Sunday (Sept. 13) matchup with New Mexico State at 2:00 p.m. Live stats will be available at UND.com.