Nov. 27, 2015
By Russell Dorn
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The University of Notre Dame volleyball team looked poised to end a tough 2015 season on a positive note, as it led Boston College 2-1 entering the fourth set of the season finale for both teams Friday afternoon at Power Gym. However, the Eagles used a 9-1 run to win set four before holding on for a 15-13 victory in set five to seal a 3-2 (25-19, 14-25, 23-25, 25-18, 15-13) win.
In the fifth frame the Eagles dominated for much of the early going, forcing Irish timeouts at 3-0 and 11-5. BC held a 12-5 advantage before Notre Dame mounted a furious comeback that saw it trim the Eagle lead all the way to two at 12-10. BC quickly scored two more points to hit set point at 14-10, but Notre Dame ran off three consecutive points to cut the lead to one at 14-13. Highlighting the mini run was a Sam Fry service ace sandwiched between two Maddie Plumlee kills. However, the Irish couldn’t come all the way back as Julia Topor pounded home her 13th kill of the match to give BC a 3-2 win to wrap up the 2015 season.
The match was airtight in virtually every category. BC held the lead in kills (63-62), assists (61-58), service aces (8-6) and digs (67-64). Notre Dame held close advantages in blocks (10-8) and attack percentage (.259-.236).
Fry ended her outstanding year with another gem, as the Cincinnati, Ohio native had 18 kills and eight blocks while hitting .571. Sophomores Sydney Kuhn (12K, 12D, 2SA) and Maddie Dilfer (51A, 14D) each turned in double-doubles, while Plumlee had 15 kills. Junior Katie Higgins totaled nine kills and hit .500.
Calvete had 15 kills and 12 digs to lead Boston College. Topor finished with 13 kills and four blocks, while libero Devon Michaelis had a match-high 29 digs. McKenna Goss finished with 14 kills and Katty Workman added 11 kills and 11 digs.
The Irish wrap up their first season under national championship winning head coach at 7-25 and 2-18 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
BC held the advantage throughout set one, jumping out to a 9-3 lead and eventually stretching the advantage to eight at 16-8 and then to 10 at 19-9. The Irish didn’t give up though as they went on a 10-4 run to trim the Eagle margin to four at 23-19 and force a Boston College timeout. However, the Eagles claimed the 1-0 lead after Topor pounded home a kill and Sol Calvete served up a service ace.
Notre Dame rebounded nicely in set two, as it capitalized on a 6-0 run midway through the frame to turn a 6-6 tie into a 12-6 advantage. From there the two teams traded points with the Irish maintaining a six to eight point lead virtually the rest of the set. Notre Dame went up nine (22-13) on a solo block from Fry and reached set point at 24-14 on a big kill from Higgins. Dilfer then tapped over a kill to tie the match at one entering the break.
The Irish won a thriller in set three after trailing 21-18 late. Notre Dame fought back from the deficit to tie the set at 21 on a kill from Higgins, a block from Fry and a bad set on the Eagles. The set stayed tied at 22 and then again at 23, but the duo of Fry and Dilfer swung the frame in favor of the Irish. Tied at 23, Fry pounded home a kill off an assist from Dilfer to give Notre Dame set point. The duo then went up for a block to put Notre Dame up 2-1 in the match going to the fourth frame.
BC used an impressive 9-1 run to end the fourth set to snatch the momentum in the match and send the contest to a deciding fifth set. After a Fry kill gave Notre Dame a 17-16 lead, BC began its run on a kill by Calvete. Taking the serve, BC highlighted the run with a pair of service aces and three kills by Goss to win 25-18 and take the match to frame five.
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.