Sept. 12, 2010
DENVER – Colorado native Kellie Sciacca said goodbye to her hometown fans by lighting up Denver for 14 kills on a .722 clip as the Notre Dame volleyball team defeated the host Pioneers, 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-14). Sciacca, a senior middle blocker from nearby Monument, Colo., was named to the Pioneer Classic all-tournament team along with sophomore Hilary Eppink, whose family recently moved to the Denver area.
“One of our goals for the season was to get better every time we played, and this weekend was a good indication that we’re still learning and making the strides necessary for that to happen,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “I was really pleased with our serving and passing this weekend. Obviously, Hilary and Kellie were phenomenal in their attacking and that was possible because of our good first contacts. Both setters did a great job finding them and getting them the ball. All around, it was a really good team effort throughout the weekend and we’re excited to take this momentum into our three upcoming home matches.”
The Irish return to Purcell Pavilion next week (Sept. 17-19) to host the Notre Dame Invitational.
Sciacca hit .582 across 10 sets in three matches for the weekend with 3.70 kills/set and 1.30 blocks/set. Eppink wasn’t too far behind with a .561 average, nine blocks and a pair of aces.
Sunday’s non-conference win at Hamilton Gymnasium spanned 1:10, tying the program record for the second-quickest match played in the 25-point era. Notre Dame also earned its first three-match invitational sweep since 2005 and hit over .400 as a team for the first time since doing so against Denver in the 2009 season opener. The Irish finished the day with a .488 average from the field and hit .350 on the weekend.
The win improved Notre Dame’s record to 7-2 after winning three matches at the Pioneer Classic as Denver evened out at 6-6.
Junior Kristen Dealy posted nine kills (.350) with five digs and two blocks for the Irish. Freshman Andrea McHugh had seven kills with both Eppink (.667) and freshman Andie Olsen (.857) finishing with six kills apiece.
Senior Angela Puente had two of Notre Dame’s five aces.
Denver was led by Brea Muhle’s nine kills. The Pioneers (33) had 14 fewer kills than Notre Dame on two more attempts (82) for a .195 average.
The Pioneers called two timeouts very early in the first set as Notre Dame went ahead, 12-3, thanks to a 9-0 run behind Puente’s serve. Dealy had five kills and freshman setter Sammie Brown, who had a match-high 34 assists, tacked on four kills of her own in the set.
Six of Sciacca’s kills came in the second on six errorless swings and six more were added to her total in the third.
Olsen, Sciacca and Eppink each had solo blocks in the third and Notre Dame’s offense was sharp with a .667 average (15-1-27) as six players had at least one kill. Sophomore Christina Theofilos started the stanza with an ace to make it 2-0 and the Irish never looked back.