Aug. 25, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. – Using a balanced offensive and defensive effort, the Notre Dame volleyball team picked up its first win of the 2012 season with a 3-0 victory over Saint Louis on Saturday afternoon at the Nebraska Coliseum on the campus of the University of Nebraska.
On offense, five players had two or more kills, with Toni Alugbue (11) and Jeni Houser (10) pacing the squad. Junior tri-captain Andrea McHugh had a balanced match, tallying eight kills, nine digs and two service aces.
Sammie Brown led the team in assists for the second day in a row (16), with Maggie Brindock chipping in with 12. Brown also had two service aces and four digs. For the second consecutive match, Brindock turned in a double-double, adding 12 digs to go along with her 12 assists.
On defense, freshman libero Taylor Morey had 12 digs. However, she had plenty of help as Brindock also had 12 as seven Notre Dame players had two or more digs.
A day after struggling with blocks and service aces against No. 1 UCLA, the Irish got back in stride with five blocks and five service aces.
Notre Dame closes out its opening weekend with a showdown in Omaha with No. 4 Nebraska on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The match can be followed via live stats or by purchasing the video broadcast through BTN.com.
The Irish opened the match on a strong note, taking the first set, 25-19, on the strength of strong serving from Andrea McHugh and Sammie Brown. McHugh served during six Irish points, while Brown served during five. Notre Dame used a balanced attack as Alugbue (4) and Houser (3) each three or more kills, while four players dished out two or more assists and five players recorded two or more digs.
Saint Louis kept it close throughout the opening set, pulling to within one at 16-15. The Irish responded by going on a 5-0 run to push the lead to 21-15. McHugh served all four points after getting the ball at 17-15. After the teams traded points to put the score at 23-19, a block by Houser and Olsen and a service ace by Sammie Brown gave the Irish the first-set victory.
The second set proved to be a series of runs, as the Irish would take big leads only to see the Billikens fight their way back into it. Notre Dame had a six-point lead at 13-7, but Saint Louis ran off four consecutive points to pull back within two at 13-11. The Irish went on another run to take an 18-13 lead, but the Billikens trimmed the lead to 18-17 behind a pair of kills from Aleksandra Niemiec. However, Notre Dame would regroup and close out the set (25-20) by going on an 8-3 run, highlighted by a pair of kills from Houser.
The Irish closed out the Billikens with an impressive third set, hitting .414 on their way to a 25-17 victory. Saint Louis hung around for half of the set, as they were only down 10-8. However, Notre Dame went on an 11-4 run to put the set out of reach. During that stretch Alugbue had three kills. Two kills by Houser put the score at 23-13 and a kill by senior Hillary Eppink gave the Irish the set and match.