NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame volleyball team overcame a 1-0 deficit to take down Northern Kentucky, 3-1, in its second game at the NKU Invitational Saturday afternoon. The Norse earned a 25-19 victory in the opening set before the Irish took the next three frames by scores of 25-20, 25-22 and 27-25. The victory improves the Irish to 5-2 overall to begin the 2019 season.
Freshman Caroline Meuth paced the Irish with 15 kills while sophomores Sydney Bent and Charlie Niego each added 13 kills. All three players reached the double-digit dig mark to record double-doubles, with Niego having 17, Meuth collecting 16 and Bent notching 10 digs.
Sophomore Zoe Nunez also recorded a double-double with 43 assists and 11 digs. Junior Madison Cruzado matched Niego with a team-high 17 digs.
Kristin Baer led all players with nine block assists and 10 total blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish jumped out to a 6-4 lead in the first set, but the hosts responded with five straight points to go up 9-6. Notre Dame fought back, with help from four kills by Bent, to tie the set at 17-all. Northern Kentucky answered with a 4-0 run to regain control of the frame at 21-17. The Irish got back within two at 21-19, but the Norse closed the set with another 4-0 run to earn the 25-19 set win.
NKU opened the second stanza with a 3-1 lead before the Irish rattled off five straight points to go up 6-3. Baer came up big for the Irish on that 5-0 run, recording a kill and two block assists. The Norse came back with a 5-1 streak to regain an 8-7 advantage. NKU opened up a 12-9 lead before kills by Bent and Niego evened the stanza once more at 12-all. The sides worked to a 17-all tie before the Irish closed the stanza on an 8-3 spurt to even the match. Meuth recorded three kills down the stretch to help Notre Dame earn the set win.
The Irish earned a 7-4 lead to open the third stanza, but the Norse answered with a 5-0 run to lead 9-7. NKU maintained the advantage until the Irish used a 5-1 spurt to even the set at 19-19. A 4-1 run, which included kills by Bent, Meuth and Niego, clinched a 25-22 set win for the Irish and gave Notre Dame a 2-1 lead.
Notre Dame converted three straight points to cut NKU’s led to 8-7, but the Norse responded with a 7-3 stretch to lead the fourth set, 14-10. A kill by Baer got the Irish within one at 15-14, but the Norse responded with a 5-1 spurt to lead 20-15. Notre Dame clawed back once again, with a pair of kills each by Niego and Meuth helped the Irish even the set at 24-24. A kill by Baer gave the Irish a 26-25 lead before an NKU attack error clinched a 27-15 set win and 3-1 victory for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame closes out the Northern Kentucky Invitational against Ball State later today at 5:30 p.m. Live stats will be available at nkunorse.com/sidearmstats/wvball.