Irish Sweep Tar Heels in ACC Opener

Irish open ACC play with victory

NOTRE DAME, Ind. —  An electric crowd at Purcell Pavilion propelled the University of Notre Dame Volleyball team to a sweep (25-23,26-24, 25-20) over North Carolina in its ACC opener Friday night.

Sophomores Sydney Bent and Charley Niego each led the Irish with a game-13 kills while classmate Zoe Nunez earned 34 assists in three sets. Junior libero Madison Cruzado racked up 18 digs in the victory.

As a team, Notre Dame limited the Tar Heels to a hitting percentage of .150 while totaling 10 blocks. Graduate student Kristin Baer paced the Irish with eight blocks while freshman Caroline Meuth added five.


First Set
The Irish and Tar Heels began the stanza in a 11-11 tie before the Irish earned three straight points to take a 14-11 lead. North Carolina rallied with 5-1 and 4-1 spurts to take a 22-19 lead and force an Irish timeout. After the break, three North Carolina attack errors spurred a 5-0 Irish streak and gave the hosts a 24-22 advantage. Bent’s fourth kill of the frame clinched the 25-23 set win for Notre Dame.

Second Set
Kills by Nunez and Niego helped Notre Dame go up 3-1 before the Tar Heels converted six straight points to take a 7-3 advantage. The Irish used a 3-0 spurt, which included kills by Bent and Meuth, to tie the set at 12-all. Another 6-0 run by North Carolina put the Tar Heels up 22-16, and an Irish service error gave the visitors a 24-20 advantage. Notre Dame responded with six straight points, including an ace by Paige McKnight, in a come-from-behind 26-24 set win. Six of Notre Dame’s 10 blocks on the night came in the stanza.

Third Set
A pair of kills by Niego and Bent lifted the Irish to a 10-7 lead to open the third set. Notre Dame stayed in front until a 4-0 Tar Heel streak gave the visitors a 20-19 advantage. For the second straight set, the Irish closed the stanza with six straight points, including a pair of kills by Meuth, to clinch the 25-20 victory and match.

Notre Dame continues ACC play at home vs. NC State on Sunday (Sept. 29) at 1 p.m. ET. That contest is set to be televised live on the ACC Network. For tickets, click here.

For a behind the scenes look at the Notre Dame volleyball program follow the Irish on Twitter (@NDvolleyball), Instagram (@ndvball) and Facebook (/NDVolleyball).