NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame volleyball team knocked off No. 18 Purdue in a five-set thriller on Friday night inside Purcell Pavilion to improve to 4-1 overall.
After dropping the first set to the Boilermakers, 25-16, the Irish evened the match with a 26-24 victory in set two. Purdue regained the lead with a 25-22 decision in the third frame before the Irish rallied with 25-21 and 15-12 wins to clinch the 3-2 victory.
Charley Niego racked up 15 kills, 14 digs, five service aces and four blocks for the Irish over the five sets of play. Sydney Bent paced Notre Dame with 20 kills while freshman Caroline Meuth notched 10 kills. Zoe Nunez dished out 50 assists in the match.
Freshman libero Kiara Schmidt led Notre Dame with 19 digs. As a team, the Irish racked up 11 blocks, including five from Kristin Baer.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After falling behind 2-0, the Irish had back-to-back kills from Meuth and Bent to even the set. Purdue then took a 10-5 lead before the Irish pulled within one, 15-14. Despite four kills each from Meuth and Bent and Schmidt’s seven digs, the Irish fell in the first set, 25-16.
The second frame featured 18 ties and seven lead changes in total. After Purdue earned a 13-12 advantage, two kills by Niego spurred a 4-2 Irish streak that gave them a 16-15 lead. The Boilermakers regained an 18-17 advantage before the Irish rattled off five of the next six points to go up 22-19. The two sides worked to a 24-all tie before a kill by Lauren Wenzel and a Purdue attack error sealed a 26-24 Irish win.
The Irish and Boilermakers continued their back-and-forth battle in the third set, locked at seven apiece. A service ace from Madison Cruzado, followed by kills from Niego and a second service ace put the Irish up 10-7.
With neither team holding more than a two-point advantage at any time, the Irish and Boilermakers worked to a 19-all tie before Purdue eventually earned a 25-22 set win.
A Purdue service error and clutch kills from Bent and Niego helped build the Irish lead to 12-9 to open the third stanza.. Back-to-back Boilermaker attack errors and a Meuth kill helped the Irish stay in front at 20-13. Purdue responded with a 4-1 spurt to cut the hosts to 24-21 before a kill by Niego forced a fifth set and notched a 25-21 Irish victory.
A 4-0 Irish run, which included three Purdue attack errors, put Notre Dame up 6-3 to open the decisive frame. After an ace by Bent put the Irish up 10-6, Purdue rallied with a 5-1 run to even the set at 11-11. Notre Dame closed the set with three consecutive points to earn a 15-12 set win and 3-2 victory over the 18th-ranked Boilermakers.
Notre Dame heads to Highland Heights, Kentucky, for the Northern Kentucky Invitational next Friday and Saturday (Sept. 13-14). The Irish open the event against Cincinnati on Friday at 3:30 before taking on Northern Kentucky and Ball State the following day.
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