December 5, 1998
STANFORD, Calif. – The Notre Dame women’s volleyball team lost to eighth-ranked Stanford 15-1, 15-5, 15-1 in the second round of the NCAA playoffs to end their 1998 campaign.
Stanford controlled the net all game long, blocking six balls in the first game alone. With the huge Cardinal block, the Irish hit -.286 in the first game, .125 in the second and .128 in the third for their second lowest hitting percentage of the season. Tara Conrad lead the Stanford attack with 15 kills and added eight blocks.
The Cardinal jumped out to an early lead in the first game, scoring six points on consecutive plays before Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.) hit a cross court kill for a sideout to end the run. On their next posession, Stanford went on another run of seven points as the Irish were unable to get around the Cardinal’s block. The first and only Notre Dame point of the match came on a Stanford hitting error at 13-1. One sideout later, Stanford ran off the game’s final two points to win the first it 15-1, just under 15 minutes into the match.
Stanford began the second game with a 1-0 lead, before the Irish took their first lead of the match on an ace by Lindsay Treadwell (Austin, Texas) and two Cardinal hitting errors at 3-1. A few plays later, the Irish added another point on a block by Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.), but Stanford tallied two points on overpass kills and one on a Kreher hitting error to pull even at 4-4. A Stanford hitting error gave the Irish back the lead at 5-4, but another overpass kill for the Cardinal equalized the score at five apiece. Before an Irish timeout, Stanford retook the lead on a Kerri Walsh cross-court spike at 6-5. After Girton was blocked, the Cardinal added five more points on an ace, three kills and a block of Marcie Bomhack (Waukesha, Wis.). With Lindsay Kagawa serving, Stanford put away game two with an ace, a block and a kill off a bad pass to win 15-5.
Game three started with an early 2-0 lead by Stanford on a back row kill and a kill after a botched Mary Leffers’ (Tampa, Fla.) hitting attempt. Several rotations later, the Cardinal tacked on three more points on a kill, a Notre Dame hitting error and an illegal back row attack by Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.). The first Irish point of game three came on a Stanford hitting error at 5-1, but the Cardinal quickly moved their lead to 7-1 on an ace and a kill after a long rally. Three points later and the score 10-1 in favor of Stanford, Girton was blocked again and the Cardinal score two additional points on a hitting error and kill after another long rally. With Walsh serving, Stanford scored another on a Treadwell hitting error and ended the match on a Girton hitting error after a rally filled with several spectacular digs at 15-1.
With the loss, the Irish dropped to 18-13 and are 0-5 all-time against the Cardinal.
“Overall the season was very good,” said Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown. “We had a lot of ups and downs, but the team persevered when others would have just folded. Hopefully, we’ll learn something from being here.”