LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Notre Dame volleyball team opened the season with a road sweep (27-25, 25-22, 26-24) on Friday afternoon inside L&N Federal Credit Union Arena.
Charley Niego (11K) and Caroline Meuth (10K) led the Irish attack with a combined 21 kills while Aubrey Hamilton added eight kills and Lindsey Miller notched seven kills with a .385 hitting percentage in their Irish debuts. Zoe Nunez collected 32 assists to go with 10 digs.
Freshman Hattie Monson led the Irish with 20 digs and three aces in her first collegiate contest. Hannah Thompson tied for a game-high five blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The hosts used a 5-0 run to jump out to a 6-2 advantage, and eventually earned an 11-5 lead to force an Irish timeout. After the Cardinals extended their lead to 19-12, the Irish converted three straight points, including an ace by Niego, to get within four. Back-to-back kills by Hamilton cut the Cardinals’ lead to 20-17 before a solo block by Hamilton trimmed the margin to two at 22-20.
After falling behind 24-21, the Irish rattled off four consecutive points to take a 25-24 lead. A bad set by Louisville followed by a block by Thompson completed the Irish comeback and gave Notre Dame a 27-25 victory in the opening set.
Momentum stayed with the Irish to open the second set as three straight aces by Monson helped the Irish jump out to a 9-2 lead. A 3-0 Irish run, which included a kill by Meuth, extended Notre Dame’s lead to 16-8 and forced a Cardinals timeout. Louisville answered by earning four of the next five points to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 17-12 and make the Irish take a timeout of their own.
Louisville continued to inch closer with another 4-1 run after the Irish timeout to make it 18-16. A Cardinals attack error and a kill by Hamilton put the Irish up 20-16 before Louisville earned back-to-back points to make it 20-18. Consecutive kills by Niego pushed the Irish lead to 23-19. Niego’s fourth kill of the set gave the Irish set point before a kill by Meuth clinched a 25-22 victory and 2-0 lead for Notre Dame.
The Irish used a 7-1 run, which included a pair of kills by Meuth, to take a 9-5 lead to open the third frame. Four straight points pushed Notre Dame’s lead to 13-6 before Louisville responded with a 5-1 stretch to cut the Irish lead to 14-11.The Cardinals converted five straight points to take a 16-15 lead before the teams worked to an 18-all tie. After Louisville earned a 21-18 lead, Thompson delivered a kill and a solo block to help the Irish even the set once again at 21-21. With the set tied at 24-all, Miller and Hamilton sealed the Irish sweep with back-to-back kills to cap their collegiate debuts.