Oct. 5, 2008
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Christina Kaelin poured in a match-high 17 kills on a .467 clip but the Notre Dame volleyball team could not overcome 17 service errors, falling 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 17-25, 25-22) to Cincinnati Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Arena in front of 994 fans, one of the venue’s largest crowds to ever view a volleyball match.
The Irish (8-8 overall, 3-1 BIG EAST) service error total was the highest of the season and the most since the 2007 team faulted 21 times against Florida International on Sept. 1. Cincinnati (12-5 overall, 2-2) did not fare much better from behind the line as the Bearcats had 11 service errors.
Jessie Nevitt led the Bearcats with 16 kills on a .500 average and Annie Fesl managed 42 assists and 15 digs.
Early in set one, Nicholas’ back set put Sciacca in position for a kill on the slide (6-4) though the Bearcats put together a 9-1 run after that play. Notre Dame showed its resilience as Phillips put together a string of three kills (14-18) with the Irish closing the gap to 17-19. That was not enough to stop a Cincinnati offense that hit .577 in the set behind five kills by both Nevitt and Stephanie Niemer.
Leading 8-4 in the second set, Cincinnati surrendered a Sciacca kill but rattled off two more scores. The Bearcats would lead by as many as seven (21-14) when Dealy recorded three consecutive kills for Notre Dame to help steer the visitors to a run that made the score 22-20. Set point for Cincinnati was halted with one of Sciacca’s three kills in the period but the fifth Irish service error of the day closed the scoring.
The Irish tied the third set, 15-15, and later hit a 5-0 run to bring the count to 20-15. Phillips and Justine Stremick teamed for a block on the right side to give Notre Dame a chance at set point, which they earned with Phillips’ 10th kill of the match. The .619 hitting percentage by Notre Dame in the third set was the highest of the season.
Two Stremick blocks in the fourth period helped Notre Dame overcome an early deficit to knot the score at 9-9. The strong swinging of Kaelin help keep the Irish alive as Cincinnati had match point on the table for two rounds until shutting the books. Seven of Kaelin’s kill came in the final set and Stremick also recorded a solo block in the frame.
Notre Dame finished the match with a .254 hitting percentage as Cincinnati hit .288, including a .588 mark in the opening stanza.
The Irish return home and play host to West Virginia (Oct. 11) at the Joyce Center with first serve at 2:00 p.m. (ET).