Oct. 25, 2017
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame (16-6, 6-5 ACC) battled its way back from a 2-0 deficit for the second straight match, but unlike Sunday’s come-from-behind win over Miami, the Irish could not complete the comeback against Louisville (16-6, 9-2 ACC), falling 3-2 (25-22, 25-17, 18-25, 18-25, 15-10).
Notre Dame’s attack was led by Rebecca Nunge, who finished with a team-high 16 kills and a hitting percentage of .304. The 16 kills were one shy of matching the junior’s career high. Seniors Sam Fry (13) and Sydney Kuhn (10) also finished in double figures for kills. Junior Ryann DeJarld totaled a team-high 28 digs to lead the Irish defense.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish attack came out firing on all cylinders, as Notre Dame jumped out to an early 9-2 advantage in the first set, with five of the points coming from kills. The Cardinals abruptly responded, as the visitors rallied to tie the set at 13-13. Louisville began to pull away, taking a 23-18 lead in the opener, however, the Irish staged a late rally to cut their lead to two at 23-21 courtesy of a block from Kristin Baer and Nunge. In the end, the comeback fell short, as the Cardinals took the opening set 25-22.
Louisville carried its momentum from the first frame into the second, building a 19-13 lead. The Irish rebounded to claim four of the next five points, cutting the deficit in half at 20-17. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, Louisville won the final five points of the set to grab the set 25-17 and open a 2-0 lead in the match.
Notre Dame regrouped during the 10-minute intermission and came out ready to play in the third. The Irish outhit the visitors in the set .351 to .165 en route to a comfortable 25-18 win. Notre Dame dominated from the start, racing out to a 7-1 lead. The Irish never trailed in the stanza and led by as many as eight points on four occasions before taking the set and cutting the visitor’s match advantage to 2-1.
The excellent run of play continued into the fourth set for Notre Dame, as the Irish reeled off six straight points to open the set. Notre Dame did not let up throughout the fourth, as it led by as many as nine at 22-13 before closing out the frame with a score of 25-18 to level the match at 2-2. The Irish totaled 13 kills and three aces in the fourth to tie the match.
The fifth set started poorly for Notre Dame, as Louisville used two aces and a kill to quickly go up 3-0. After the score moved to 4-1 the Irish rattled off four consecutive points of their own to take their first lead of the fifth at 5-4. The two sides traded points and Notre Dame held on to its one-point advantage at 9-8. The Cardinals then took control of the fifth frame, winning six of the final seven points to take the set 15-10 and escape with a 3-2 victory in the match.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Fry matched her season-high for kills in a match with 13 against the Cardinals. The senior was Notre Dame’s most efficient hitter, posting a hitting percentage of .423 (13-2-26) over the five sets of play. The Cincinnati native also added a team-high three blocks, two digs and an assist.
HEAD COACH Jim McLaughlin’S TAKE
On what changed between the first two sets and the third and fourth sets…
“I don’t think a whole lot changed. It’s simple, we played better and had better energy. When we do that everything is taken care of. We had a good emotional win and took a lot of energy and emotion down in Miami. We had a bad practice yesterday with no energy or emotion. We’ve got to play the same way every time. We can’t come out and get behind and not play well. We fought at times. There were some good things but not enough good things.”
On Sam Fry’s play…
“Sam has been good over time. Sam has been consistent and its all about consistency and doing the things you are supposed to do with consistency.”
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- DeJarld surpassed the 20-dig mark for the 17th time this season, finishing with a team-high 28 digs.
- Nunge recorded 10+ kills for the eighth time in 2017 on Wednesday.
- Kuhn finished with double-digit kills for the ninth match this season, notching 10 against the Cardinals.
- Yeadon posted her double-digit digs for the 17th time this season (11 digs).
- Madison Cruzado tied her career high in digs with 12.
- Natalie Johnson tallied two aces in the match and has now finished with multiple aces 12 times during her senior campaign.
Notre Dame is back in action at home at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 29, as it hosts Pittsburgh in the team’s annual Block Out Cancer match.
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Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men’s lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sport management and business administration and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.