Oct. 7, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Behind 16 kills and seven blocks from sophomore Jeni Houser, the Notre Dame volleyball team topped St. John’s, 3-1 (25-19, 25-13, 17-25, 25-17), in BIG EAST volleyball action on Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion.
With the win the Irish improve to 12-6 overall and 5-1 in BIG EAST play, while the Red Storm fell to 17-4 overall and 4-1 in the BIG EAST.
Houser paced the club with her 16th double-digit kill match as the Louisville, Ky., native hit .536. Senior Hilary Eppink turned in her fifth consecutive match with nine or more kills as she recorded 10 kills while hitting .438. Setter Maggie Brindock led the team with 36 assists and also chipped in four kills, two digs and two blocks. Libero Taylor Morey had 13 digs, four assists and three service aces. Morey has now recorded three service aces in two consecutive matches after only having two in a match once this year.
“I thought both Jeni and Hilary were very efficient today,” said head coach Debbie Brown. “Jeni was intense from start to finish and we were able to rely on her. Hilary continues to hit for a high percentage and provide key kills for us.”
Notre Dame continued to show improvement in the serve as it tallied seven aces to just two for St. John’s. The Irish also held a slim lead at the net as they had 12.5 blocks to 10 for the Red Storm.
The Irish jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Red Storm and held on to improve to 6-0 when it wins the first two sets. They claimed the first set, 25-19, behind four kills each from Eppink and Houser. St. John’s led by three as late as 14-11. However, Notre Dame started chipping away at the lead behind the serving of Morey. The Muncie, Ind., native produced a pair of service aces as the Irish went on a 5-0 run to take a 16-14 lead. Notre Dame pushed the lead to three at 18-15 and 20-17, before extending it to four at 21-17 on a block by Brindock and Andie Olsen. After a pair of Red Storm’ points trimmed the lead to 21-19, Notre Dame claimed the final four points to pick up the first set win. An attack error and bad set by the Red Storm pushed the lead to 23-19 and a block by Houser and Olsen and a kill by Houser ended the set.
Notre Dame dominated the second set, jumping out to a 9-2 lead before cruising to a 25-13 victory. Included in the opening run was a two straight kills from Olsen and Morey’s third service ace of the match. Later in the set with the Irish up 17-8, Houser had three consecutive kills to push the lead to 20-8. Another kill by Houser and a block by Eppink and Houser gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead heading into the break. The Irish hit .321 for the set, while limiting the Red Storm to just a .034 attack percentage.
St. John’s rebounded to take set three, 25-17, as it hit .300 to just .121 for the Irish. Notre Dame knotted the score at 15, but watched as the Red Storm went on an 8-0 run behind server Deniz Mutlugil to put the set away. After the Irish scored two points to make the score 24-17, an attack error from Notre Dame gave St. John’s the set.
The Irish closed out the match with a 25-17 fourth-set win. With the score tied at six, Notre Dame went on a 7-0 run behind the serving of Marie Roof and a pair of kills from Houser. The Irish were able to maintain at least a five-point lead from 16-11 to the end of the match. The squad upped their lead to six at 18-12 on a kill from Toni Alubgue and to eight at 21-13 on a block from Roof and Houser. A kill from Sam Brown and an attack error on the Red Storm gave the Irish the four-set victory.