Sophomore Kellie Sciacca had nine kills and a pair of blocks in Friday's 3-0 win over IPFW.

Irish Storm Past Mastodons To Win Season Opener

Aug. 29, 2008

Final Stats | Photo Gallery 1 media-icon-photogallery.gif | Photo Gallery 2 media-icon-photogallery.gif

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Carrying a five-game regular-season win streak into the 2008 season, the Notre Dame volleyball team added a sixth victory to that total with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-21) win over IPFW Friday evening at the Joyce Center. Freshman Kristen Dealy had 12 kills and 10 digs while junior Serinity Phillips paced all players with 13 kills and 12 digs for the Irish.

With the win on the first day of the Shamrock Invitational, the host-Irish begin the season with a 1-0 record while IPFW drops to 0-1. Notre Dame is now 22-7 all-time in season openers. It was the first-ever matchup for Notre Dame and IPFW under Irish head coach Debbie Brown.

Notre Dame (1-0) hit .293 as a squad behind the setting of junior Jamel Nicholas and freshman Beth Wildermuth, who posted assist totals of 26 and 14, respectively. Junior Tara Enzweiler stepped up and made several key plays for the Irish while tacking on five kills, three blocks, three digs and an ace. Freshman Frenchy Silva – one of three first-year Irish players to see significant playing time – tied for match-high honors with 12 digs.

Senior Mallorie Croal (four kills, two digs) and junior Christina Kaelin (two kills, two digs) both got in on the action after missing the majority of the 2007 due to injury.

IPFW received 11 kills apiece from Rebeka Roehm, Mayara Schlindwein and Jessica Miller. Jessica Dominiak had 33 assists and 11 digs to lead the visitors.

The Irish tripped out of the gate by giving up a pair of quick points to IFPW in the first set. The first of four ties in the set came at 6-6 when Phillips and sophomore Kellie Sciacca combined for a block at the net. Notre Dame totaled six team blocks on the evening. Sciacca slammed a Wildermuth set to give Notre Dame its first lead of the season (7-6) and junior Megan Fesl’s tip pushed the lead to a pair (10-8).

Three freshmen (Silva, Dealy and Wildermuth) were on the court together for a significant duration in the first set, each showing bright signs of maturity and flashes of athleticism to help Notre Dame build a 20-15 cushion. Nicholas struck gold with an ace (21-15) before IPFW cut the lead to two (23-21). Dealy knocked a kill into the far corner (24-21) before Sciacca closed the set with a missile that found ground in the heart of the Mastodon defense.

Dealy, Sciacca, and Phillips each had four kills to start the match as the Irish hit for a .395 clip in the set to get things rolling.

Enzweiler aced IPFW to give Notre Dame a 15-10 lead in the second frame, but IPFW took the next four ponts. Sciacca showed her finesse with a pair of tips over the Mastodon blockers to keep Notre Dame out front by an 18-15 count. IPFW did not back down, staging a 6-0 run to take the lead, 22-23. Again, Enzweiler shouldered the load for Notre Dame with a pair of kills and a solo block to register each of the final three scores.

Dealy’s power game was on par for the third and final set. She racked up six kills on 13 swings and scurried for four digs. IPFW staged a late rally to draw the set at 21-21, setting the stage for a pair of kills by Phillips and Enzweiler’s second set-winning score of the evening. Twelve of Nicholas’ assists came in the stanza, as Notre Dame totaled 18 kills over the final stretch.

Notre Dame plays Nevada at 7 p.m. (ET) at the Joyce Center on Saturday (Aug. 30). Live stats, video and audio can be accessed free of charge at IPFW and Valparaiso will meet at 5 p.m. to kickoff day-two action of the Shamrock Invitational.