Sophomore Hilary Eppink tied for match-high honors with seven rejections.

Irish Outlast Belmont, 3-2

Sept. 3, 2010

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RENO, Nev. – Junior Kristen Dealy converted a strike from the left side on match point Friday at Virginia Street Gym to give Notre Dame a 3-2 (25-18, 21-25, 21-25, 25-17, 15-9) non-conference volleyball win over Belmont on the opening match of the Nevada Invitational. The game-winner was the second for Dealy this season in five-set Irish victories, as she also delivered the deciding kill on the final play of last week’s meeting with Cal Poly.

Dealy had 14 kills and eight digs for the Irish (3-1), who were led offensively by freshman Andrea McHugh. McHugh lit up the box score with 15 kills, two aces, five digs and five blocks – including two of the solo variety.

Senior Kellie Sciacca (11) joined Dealy and McHugh with double-digit kills. Sciacca added five block assists. Sophomore Hilary Eppink stuffed seven shots, and Notre Dame out-blocked Belmont (2-3) by a 14.0-10.5 margin.

Notre Dame also out-hit Belmont, .263 to .180, despite hitting under .100 in two sets. Freshman setter Sammie Brown stayed cool and fought through a bit of errant Irish passing to dish out 38 assists. Brown also had four digs and four blocks.

The Bruins received a match-high 17 kills from Kayla Albritton and four Carly Frazier aces. Belmont’s nine aces were offset by 16 service errors.

Senior Megan Dunne had a team-high 13 digs for the Irish, who return to the court for two matches Saturday (Sept. 4), with the first starting at 10:00 a.m. (PT) versus Weber State.

It was a match of streaks on both sides of the net with Notre Dame’s offense clicking early while the defense carried the team in the later stages. The Irish stumbled out of the gate and the Bruins had two big blocks to take a 9-6 lead. Tied at 10-10, Eppink had two of her four blocks in the set over the next few rallies as the Irish went ahead, 21-15. Out of a Belmont timeout, Dealy bounced one of her three kills to put the set out of reach.

Dealy, McHugh and Eppink each had three kills and Notre Dame hit .333 in the first.

Belmont fell behind, 8-2, to start the second before putting together a 6-1 run. Belmont would continue to improve upon its lead as the Irish hit .083 (8-6-24) and the Bruins improved their .154 average in the opening set to .207.

Notre Dame scored four straight out of intermission after Belmont dropped the opening serve for an ace. The two teams evened at 14-14 and would tie three more times until the Bruins went on a 4-0 spurt after the 18-18 mark.

Sciacca smacked three early kills in the fifth to put Notre Dame ahead, 9-6. Eppink, Nicole Smith, McHugh and Dealy each contributed at least one kill apiece for the Irish after the point.