Sept. 19, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Four Notre Dame volleyball players posted double-figure kills as the Irish rallied to down Miami, 3-2 (17-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15, 15-13) Saturday afternoon during the visitor’s opening action at the Seminole Tri-Tournament hosted by Florida State in Tully Gymnasium. Notre Dame (6-3) trailed, 2-0, before taking the final three sets behind 18 kills and 13 digs from senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips. Senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin (11), junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca (14) and sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy (14) each joined Phillips with 10+ kills on the day.
The last time Notre Dame dropped the first two sets in a win was against Houston in 2003.
Dealy added 11 digs to match Phillips’ double-double in Notre Dame’s first five-set match this season. Sciacca had seven blocks – three solo – with Phillips adding four more of the team’s 11.5 rejections.
“We saw a number of momentum shifts throughout this match, and at times it appeared that we didn’t feel too comfortable, but our team showed a lot of character today,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “There was plenty of fire out there on the floor the last three sets and we continued to elevate our game. We felt like all the pieces were in the right spots by the end of the match.”
Senior setter Jamel Nicholas, who had five kills and six digs, had 49 assists as the Irish hit .259. Nicholas was also one of four players with two aces (along with Phillips, Dealy and freshman libero Christina Theoflios) as Notre Dame yielded a season-high 11 as a squad. That total was the highest since Notre Dame registered 10 aces against DePaul on Oct. 19, 2007.
Sophomore libero Frenchy Silva led the Irish with 15 digs.
Lane Carico had 16 kills and 23 digs for Miami (7-4 overall, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
More than a handful of plays did not benefit the Irish in the first set and 18 knotted scores with seven lead changes marked the second. Miami had just two hitting errors heading into intermission.
Notre Dame rallied to tied the third, 9-9, and took a 13-10 lead on junior libero Megan Dunne’s ace. Sciacca and senior outside hitter Megan Fesl teamed for a block at 14-10 to force a Hurricane timeout. Miami responded by scoring on the next four plays. Theofilos’ ace made it 21-19 and Sciacca had a hand in three more blocks over the final stretch.
Phillips secured her double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs through the third.
Phillips’ backrow attack on Silva’s dish (13-8) kept things comfortable for Notre Dame in the fourth. Phillips then put the Irish on top by seven (17-10) with a slam from the right side and Sciacca’s back-to-back rods grew the lead to eight (22-14). Coming through again for the Irish was Phillips with an ace at 24-14 to help cap off a .536 (17-2-28) hitting set for Notre Dame.
The fifth was a tight tilt until Sciacca had a hand in three blocks during the early stretch as Notre Dame mounted a 10-7 cushion. With match point on the line at 14-11, the Irish dropped the next two rallies before picking up the win.
Notre Dame faces No. 19 Florida State on Sunday (Sept. 20) at 1:00 p.m. (ET).