Irish Top Wolverines in Five Sets

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Caroline Meuth, Charley Niego and Zoe Nunez each notched double-doubles to help propel the Notre Dame volleyball team to a 3-2 win (25-23, 27-29, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13) against the Michigan Wolverines Wednesday night inside Purcell Pavilion.

The non-conference win improved Notre Dame’s overall record to 7-2. It marks the second time the Irish have knocked off a Big Ten opponent after they earned a five-set triumph over #18 Purdue back on September 6th.

Niego led the Irish with 19 kills while also recording 12 digs. Meuth recorded 12 kills and 16 digs while Nunez collected 50 assists and 15 digs. Sydney Bent also racked up 17 digs for the Irish attack.

On the defensive end, Madison Cruzado led the Irish with 21 digs. Middle blockers Kristin Baer and Lauren Wenzel each had a game-high six total blocks. As a team, the Irish out-blocked Michigan 14-5.


First Set
The Fighting Irish persevered in a back-and-forth first set to win 25-23 in a stanza that featured 11 ties. The Irish sealed the frame with a closing 3-0 run that featured a kill by Nunez and a set-clinching ace by Niego.

Second Set
The second stanza, which featured 12 lead changes, was equally as back-and-forth as the first set. Notre Dame climbed back from a 7-1 hole with a 7-2 streak to even the score at 9-9. The two sides traded 4-1 spurts en route to a 15-all tie before splitting the next 10 points to be knotted at 20-20. A kill by Niego put the Irish up 24-23, but Michigan fought back to take the second set, 29-27.

Third Set
The Irish used a 5-1 run to turn a 15-11 deficit into a 16-16 tie in the middle of the third set. The two teams worked to a 19-19 tie before the Wolverines closed the third frame with a 6-1 run to win the stanza, 25-20, and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Fourth Set
Notre Dame used a 4-0 stretch to gain a 10-7 advantage before Michigan rattled off three straight points to even the set at 10-10. After Michigan went up 16-13, a kill by Wenzel sparked another four-point run for the Irish as the hosts gained a 17-16 lead. Michigan worked to earn a 22-20 advantage, but the resilient Irish went on their third 4-0 stretch of the frame to take a 24-22 lead. A kill by Bent clinched a 25-23 set win for Notre Dame and forced a decisive fifth set.

Fifth Set
A pair of kills by Niego, along with an ace by Paige McKnight, lifted Notre Dame to a 5-1 lead to open the final frame. The Wolverines clawed back with a 7-2 stretch to go up 8-7 before four consecutive Irish points gave Notre Dame an 11-8 lead. The teams worked to a 13-all tie, but Niego’s 19th kill and McKnight’s second ace of the set clinched the match for the Irish.

The Irish and Wolverines will meet again on Sunday (Sept. 22) at 3 p.m. ET in Ann Arbor. That contest will be televised on ESPNU.


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