Kellie Scicca (left) and Mallorie Croal helped Notre Dame register nine team blocks Saturday versus UC Irvine.

Kaelin Carries Notre Dame In Victory Over UC Irvine

Sept. 20, 2008

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior outside hitter Christina Kaelin collected a match-high 17 kills on a .519 average Saturday night at the Joyce Center to muscle the Notre Dame volleyball team over UC Irvine, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-23). Kaelin used 27 swings to net her average just one day after slicing Liberty for 11 kills on a .733 clip.

With the home victory over the Anteaters (5-7) on the second day of the Golden Dome Invitational, host Notre Dame (5-6) will look to complete a three-day sweep on Sunday versus Western Michigan at 2:00 p.m. (ET).

Notre Dame hit over .230 in each of the three sets and finished with a .261 average on the night. Freshman Kristen Dealy had 11 kills and seven digs with two aces as sophomore Kellie Sciacca finished with six kills and five blocks. Sophomore Megan Dunne saw significant action and logged a season-high 15 kills, even adding a kill to her name. Junior setter Jamel Nicholas had 27 assists and seven digs.

Kari Pestolesi’s 15 kills and Devon Sutherland’s 14 digs led UC Irvine. The Anteaters staged a number of rallies and tied the contest 31 times and forced 11 lead changes.

Dealy’s attack from downtown put the score at 7-2 in the first period as the Irish sought to set the tone early. Kaelin delivered a pair of tip for scores and junior Mallorie Croal teamed with Sciacca for a block (19-12) before UC Irvine scored the next four points. Dealy slammed a kill from the left side (20-16) and Nicholas left a dump in Anteater territory for a score (21-17) to give the home squad some cushion before capturing the set.

Sciacca had three kills and four blocks with Kaelin notching six kills in the set. Nicholas assisted on nine of Notre Dame’s 15 kills.

UC Irvine managed a three-point lead to start the second set that was marked by 15 ties and five lead changes. The Anteaters held a late lead when Sciacca’s kill stalled the set at 23-23. A pair of Anteater errors helped Notre Dame shelf the final two points for the win.

Dealy led all players in the set with six kills and two blocks then turned around and won a joust at 11-10 in the last frame to help Notre Dame regain the lead. She also aced the UC Irvine defense (14-11), but right back came the Anteaters as they scored five of the next six points. Kaelin fisted a shot to stop the bleeding at 16-16. Kaelin also came through with a facial (23-22) and soon converted Nicholas’ assist for the final kill of the night.