Nov. 25, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A pair of talented middles that should play a big role in turning around the University of Notre Dame volleyball program earned recognition from the Atlantic Coast Conference for an outstanding 2015 campaign Wednesday afternoon, as sophomore Sam Fry became the first second team all-ACC selection in school history, while first-year player Meg Morningstar earned a spot on the league’s all-freshman team.
It marked the first time two Irish players earned regular season conference recognition in the same year since Notre Dame joined the ACC in 2013. Former All-American Jeni Houser received third team accolades in 2013 before Fry claimed all-freshman team honors last season.
After starting the year on the outside following an impressive rookie campaign in the middle, Fry found her way back to middle blocker only a handful of matches into the season. She has flourished in the role by totaling 10+ kills in 17 matches and five-plus blocks in 11 contests with two matches still remaining on the season. The Cincinnati, Ohio native has 10+ kills and five-plus blocks in nine matches including a remarkable 21-kill, six-block performance against Hofstra that saw her set a career high in kills and attack attempts (55).
Other top performances for Fry include 17 kills (.433 A%) and six blocks in a three-set sweep of Eastern Kentucky, 10 kills (.562 A%) and five blocks in a sweep of Ball State, 18 kills (.361 A%) versus South Dakota, 12 kills (.346 A%) and six blocks at Virginia and 19 kills and five blocks at NC State.
She earned all-tournament team honors at the Purdue Boiler Box Challenge after finishing the three-match tourney with 43 kills (.356 A%) and 14 blocks.
Fry has played in all 112 sets this year and leads the Irish in kills (321), kills per set (2.87), solo blocks (8), block assists (108), total blocks (116), blocks per set (1.04) and points (400.0).
She is one of just three Irish players since 2008 to total 300+ kills and 100+ blocks in a season and one of just nine Notre Dame student-athletes to accomplish the feat since 2001.
Meanwhile, Morningstar has played in 91 sets and posted 109 kills (1.20 per set) and 88 blocks (0.97 per set) to go along with a team-high .250 attack percentage.
The Wexford, Pennsylvania native has five-plus blocks in seven matches while reaching double figures in kills twice.
Morningstar has hit at least .300 in exactly half of the matches (8/16) that she has received 10+ attack attempts and has 59 kills and just eight attack errors over her last 148 swings, good for a .345 attack percentage.
Some of her more impressive matches include eight kills (.727 A%) and six blocks at Miami, 11 kills (.524 A%) and five blocks versus Georgia Tech and 10 kills (.474 A%) and five blocks at Middle Tennessee State.
However, her finest performance came on the defensive end against Temple, where she sent back 11 blocks to place herself among the elites in recent Irish volleyball history. The total was the most by a Notre Dame player since 2013 and was tied for the eighth most by an Irish student-athlete in the rally-scoring era (2001-present).
Notre Dame (7-23, 2-16 ACC) closes out its season on the road this week with a 7 p.m. (ET) Wednesday showdown at Syracuse and a 1 p.m. (ET) meeting at Boston College Friday.
For the latest Irish volleyball coverage, be sure to log on to UND.com or follow the program on Facebook (/NDVolleyball), Twitter (@NDVolleyball), Instagram (NDVBall) and Snapchat (NDVolleyball).
ACC Award Winners
Player of the Year: Katie George, Louisville
Defensive Player of the Year: Molly Sauer, Louisville
Setter of the Year: Katie George, Louisville
Freshman of the Year: Molly Sauer, Louisville
Coach of the Year: Anne Kordes, Louisville
All-ACC First Team
Emily Sklar*: Duke
Jordan Tucker: Duke
Nicole Walch*: Florida State
Sarah Burrington: Florida State
Teegan Van Gunst: Georgia Tech
Erin Fairs*: Louisville
Katie George: Louisville
Paige Neuenfeldt*: North Carolina
Victoria McPherson: North Carolina
Taylor Treacy: North Carolina
Kadi Kullerkann: Pittsburgh
Amanda Orchard: Pittsburgh
Silvi Uattara: Syracuse
Lauren Fuller: Virginia
*Denotes unanimous selection
All-ACC Second Team
Katty Workman: Boston College
Sasha Karelov: Duke
Milica Kubura: Florida State
Katie Horton: Florida State
Tess Clark: Louisville
Janelle Jenkins: Louisville
Olga Strantzali: Miami
Taylor Scott: Miami
Alexis Mourning: Miami
Haley Templeton: Miami
Sam Fry: Notre Dame
Gosia Wlaszczuk: Syracuse
Natalie Bausback: Virginia
Lindsey Owens: Virginia Tech
Leah Meyer: Duke
Brianne Burkert: Florida State
Molly Sauer: Louisville
Aniah Philo: Louisville
Blayke Hranicka: NC State
Meg Morningstar: Notre Dame
Santita Ebangwese: Syracuse
Anna Walsh: Virginia
Jaila Tolbert: Virginia Tech
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.