Nov. 20, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Christina Kaelin and Serinity Phillips each pounded 12 kills as Notre Dame picked up a 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-19) win over Seton Hall during Friday’s quarterfinal action of the 2009 BIG EAST Conference Volleyball Championship at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The Irish (21-4) now play the winner of the final quarterfinal match between fourth-seeded Louisville and fifth-seeded Syracuse. Saturday’s semifinal match for the Irish starts at 3:30 p.m. (ET).
No. 23 Notre Dame, the tournament’s top seeded team, recorded its 11th sweep of the season and made quick work of the eighth-seeded Pirates (12-19), who struggled from the field with a .094 hitting percentage.
“From start to finish, this was one of our cleanest matches of the season,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “We were focused and played at a high level. Seton Hall came right out of the shoot to take an early lead, and I’m proud of not only how we responded, but the all-around team effort that gave us the win today.”
Phillips and Kaelin posted nearly identical stat lines – 12 kills and one error on 27 attempts – as Phillips blocked five shots and Kaelin recorded to solo stops.
Kristen Dealy finished the day with seven kills on 17 attempts, the first match of her career without an error. Dealy added a team-high 11 digs and two aces.
Kellie Sciacca had seven kills and three of Notre Dame’s 10.0 blocks.
Jamel Nicholas had a match-high 40 assists as nine Irish players combined for 44 kills and a .333 hitting average.
Seton Hall managed just two blocks and went without a service ace, the third time Notre Dame has held an opponent without a free point from behind the line this season. The Pirates, who were making their first BIG EAST Championship appearance since 1994, were paced by Sarah Osmun’s 14 kills.
Seton Hall scored the first three points to start the match and built an 8-4 lead. The Pirates’ enthusiasm would only last so long as the veteran Irish took over with Phillips connected with a swing from the right side at 9-9. Phillips and Hilary Eppink then combined for a block to give Notre Dame’s its first lead at 10-9. Nicholas had an ace at 11-9 and Sciacca slid one by the block at 16-12, part of a 9-1 Irish run that pushed the score to 22-13. Dealy caressed a crafty tip over the Pirate block on set point.
Notre Dame had five blocks – eight block assists and one solo – in the first set. Dealy had five digs and four kills. Each of Eppink’s three blocks came in the frame.
The second set started as a close affair, but after a 6-6 tie Kaelin recorded a pair of solo blocks and it soon became a 12-7 contest in favor of the Irish. Dealy dropped an ace at 22-13 to give Notre Dame complete control of the period.
The Pirate’s ship took on more water in the third as Dealy put together a brilliant shallow crosser at 9-4. Just when Notre Dame began to make its move Seton Hall scored three straight, but that run was halted by Megan Barnicle’s solo bock at 10-7. Dealy’s second ace was delivered at 13-8, and Kim Kristoff went with the two-handed dump at 18-9 as the Irish continued to pull away. Phillips’ roller made it 20-13, but Seton Hall mustered a rally to come within 21-17. Kristoff punched in an ace at 23-17 as the Irish took care of business to earn their 15th consecutive win.