Sept. 12, 2015
Box Score – Notre Dame 3, Eastern Kentucky 0
Box Score – No. 1 Penn State 3, Notre Dame 0
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Riding the momentum of a thrilling 3-1 win over Mississippi State Friday night to open the Golden Dome Invitational, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team picked up its first sweep in nearly two years Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 decision over Eastern Kentucky to lock up a winning weekend for the young Irish squad.
Later that evening the Irish suffered a 3-0 setback to No. 1 Penn State (8-0), who increased its streak of consecutive sets won to start the season to 24.
After going 1-2 at each of their first two non-conference tournaments to open the 2015 campaign, this weekend provided a boast of confidence to a squad that routinely plays virtually all freshmen and sophomores.
Meanwhile, sophomore middle breaker/outside hitter Sam Fry put together an outstanding weekend with 33 kills, 14 blocks, nine blocks and two service aces.
Notre Dame (4-5) wraps up non-conference tournament play next weekend (Sept. 18-19) at Purdue. There the Irish will meet South Dakota, Ball State and the No. 20 Boilermakers.
MVP: Megan Courtney – Penn State
Ali Frantti – Penn State
Bryanna Weiskircher – Penn State
Rebecca Nunge – Notre Dame
Haley Bonneval – Notre Dame
Evie Grace Singleton – Mississippi State
Celina Sanks – Eastern Kentucky
MATCH 1: Notre Dame 3, Eastern Kentucky 0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-14)
Behind 17 kills and six blocks from Fry, the Irish picked up its first sweep in almost two seasons with a 3-0 triumph over Eastern Kentucky in the first match Saturday.
The win improved Notre Dame to 4-4 on the year, which marked the first time the program has sported a .500 record or better since September 2013.
Notre Dame’s last sweep came on the road at Georgia Tech Oct. 12, 2013.
The Irish hit .298 for the match, while holding Eastern Kentucky to a .101 percentage.
Fry led the way, totaling just four errors on 30 swings to hit .433. Freshman defensive specialist Kelly Byrne had 11 digs and sophomore defensive specialist Natalie Johnson posted seven digs and a match-high three service aces.
Notre Dame hit .379 and .346 over the final two sets, respectively.
The match featured just nine ties and four lead changes.
MATCH 2: No. 1 Penn State 3, Notre Dame 0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-16)
The No. 1 Nittany Lions certainly played the part this weekend at Purcell, as they swept the Irish to complete another perfect weekend. Penn State (8-0) has yet to lose a set all season.
Against Notre Dame the Nittany Lions attacked at a .320 clip in pounding home 45 kills. The Irish hit .097 and totaled 27 kills.
Penn State had 17 kills and hit .517 in the first set.
PSU also sided-out at 79% for the match, including remarkable totals of 88% and 87% for the first and third frames, respectively.
Golden Dome Invitational MVP Megan Courtney tied for the match lead with 14 kills. She also completed a double-double with 15 digs. All-tournament team member Ali Frantti registered 14 kills and four digs, while fellow all-tournament team selection Bryanna Weiskircher posted 40 assists, six digs and two blocks.
For Notre Dame, Nunge wrapped up her all-tournament team selection by totaling seven kills (.333 A%) and three blocks.
Byrne closed out her solid weekend with nine digs to tie for the team lead with sophomore Natalie Johnson.
The match featured 12 ties and three lead changes.
Notre Dame stayed within striking distance of the Nittany Lions early in all three sets. The Irish led 10-9 in set one before Penn State steadily pulled away. A 7-1 run closed out the set.
The Irish trailed by just three in set two at 15-12, but PSU quickly went on a 6-2 run to push the lead to 21-14. Notre Dame trimmed the lead to four at 22-18, forcing Penn State to call its only timeout of the entire weekend. However, a quick 3-1 run gave PSU a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
After the Irish tied the third frame at 11, Penn State ran off 14 of the final 19 points to wrap up the win.
–Russell Dorn, Athletics Communications Assistant Director