Sept. 13, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame volleyball team picked up a 3-0 win over New Mexico State on the final day of the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational at the Joyce Center. By sweeping the three sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-19) the Irish earned their second consecutive win Sunday to claim the tournament title.
Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy led all players with 12 kills while senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin added 10. Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca each chipped in eight kills. The Irish hit .287 behind 33 assists from senior setter Jamel Nicholas, who also led Notre Dame with nine digs.
Notre Dame (5-3) recorded six blocks with solo stuffs by Kaelin, Nicholas and senior middle blocker Tara Enzweiler.
A career-high four aces came off the stroke of junior outside hitter Stephanie Slatt after she went back-to-back from behind the stripe on a pair of occasions during pivotal Irish runs. Junior libero Megan Dunne had two of Notre Dame’s eight aces.
“We did a nice job of using the momentum from the win over Wisconsin on Friday and came out today and played solid volleyball,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “While there were several great individual performances over the weekend, more importantly, the team is in a good spot right now.”
The Aggies (4-4) received 12 kills from Whitney Woods and 10 digs from Kelsi Phillips.
Dealy came out of the gate with six kills in the first set as the Irish hit .370. Notre Dame trailed by a point before Kaelin put down a kill to tie things at 2-2, and the Irish led by seven (22-15) while Dealy served for the home team during a 4-0 run.
Notre Dame’s best hitting set came in the second as 17 kills came on 30 swings with three errors for a .467 clip. Sciacca (3-0-3) and Dealy (4-0-4) each connected on all of their swings. The first pair of Slatt aces broke the set open at 18-14 and Kaelin delivered the dagger with Notre Dame’s final two kills of the stanza.
Kaelin kept the momentum going with two kills on the first two plays out of intermission and Notre Dame never surrendered its lead. The Irish claimed a seven-point lead with Enzweiler’s block at 14-7 though New Mexico State closed to within three on a Notre Dame hitting error at 16-13. Dunne followed Sciacca’s kill with an ace to put the Irish back ahead by five (19-14) but the Aggies rattled off four unanswered to trail by one. Two more kills from Dealy and a Nicholas ace on match point gave Notre Dame the win.
Notre Dame hits the road next week with a trip to the Seminole Tri-Tournament hosted by Florida State. The Irish face Miami (Sept. 19) and Florida State (Sept. 20) before opening BIG EAST Conference play at Connecticut on Sept. 25.