Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Defeat Howard In Five Set Rally

Sept. 3, 2016

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By Michael Scholl

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame volleyball team rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Howard in five sets on Saturday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion.

The win moved the Irish to 4-1 on the season and 1-1 with a match to play in the Shamrock Invitational. Notre Dame now turns its attention to an evening showdown with Purdue at 7 p.m.

Sam Fry (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) led the Irish attack with 19 kills, while Katie Higgins (Kearney, Neb./Kearney) contributed 16 while hitting at a .583 clip. Lauren Woodard (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) made 14 kills in her collegiate debut.


Higgins came on for the first time in the second set and had an immediate impact, posting three kills while the Irish dropped to a 2-0 deficit. She took over in the pivotal third set, posting six kills on just nine attempts, before matching that performance in the fourth set.


The marathon third set featured 25 ties and nine lead changes before the Irish got over the hump for a 33-31 victory. The largest lead for either team was for the Irish at 18-15. Finally, a kill by Fry put the Irish in position to win and a Bison attack error gave the Irish new life and a fourth set.


  • Notre Dame last won in five sets on Oct. 9, 2015, at Clemson.
  • The Irish last took a five-set match in Purcell Pavilion on Nov. 9, 2014, against Louisville.


Purdue improved to 2-0 at the Shamrock Invitational and 4-1 on the year with a straight-set win over Coastal Carolina (25-19, 25-23, 25-11). Danielle Cuttino led the Boilermaker attack with 14 kills on a .367 hitting percentage, while Purdue hit .312 as a team. Brooke Peters led the back row with 13 digs, while Ashley Evans contributed 30 assists, six kills and eight digs. Leah Hardeman led the Chanticleer effort with 11 kills and eight digs.

It puts Purdue in the driver’s seat for the Shamrock Invitational title, as it enters the evening session as the only 2-0 team.


The Shamrock Invitational concludes with a pair of matches Saturday night. Howard and Coastal Carolina square off at 4:30 p.m., followed by Notre Dame and No. 24 Purdue at 7 p.m.

– ND –

Michael Scholl joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in August 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and baseball programs at his alma mater. The South Bend native earned a degree in political science from the College of Arts & Letters in 2009 before going on to work in athletics communications at Providence College, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sport administration at the University of Cincinnati.