Sept. 28, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) pounded 24 kills on .404 hitting, but it was not enough as the Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (5-5) lost 30-23, 30-25, 27-30, 32-30 to Michigan (11-2) Tuesday evening in Cliff Keen Arena. The Wolverines put together late runs in each of the games they won, and that proved to be the difference.
Kelbley set a career high in kills, making just five attack errors on 47 attempts. She also was in on four blocks to finish with 27 points, just under her career best. Michigan had its own effective offensive weapon, as senior OH Jennifer Gandolph ended up with a match-high 26 kills on a .407 percentage to go with 14 digs.
Michigan won five straight points to win game one after being up 25-23 and then claimed four straight with the score 26-25 to go up two-games-to-none. In the final game, Notre Dame held a 28-26 lead, but the Wolverines fought back, saved a game point, and prevailed 32-30.
Notre Dame’s offense was superb in game three, but the other three frames saw its struggles continue, as the Irish hit below .180 in all of the games they lost. Notre Dame had 19 kills on .405 hitting in the third game to bring its match hitting mark to .227. Freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) ended up with 39 assists and two digs on three attempts, while sophomore S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School) had 15 assists.
Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was in double figures in kills for the ninth time in 10 matches this season, ending up with 12 on a .294 attack percentage. Senior MB Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) finished with 11 kills, while junior captain OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) notched seven in her return to a hitting role. She had been the Irish libero over the last five matches due to injuries.
In a matchup of two of the top 15 blocking teams in Division I from a year ago, the Irish prevailed with a 12-5 advantage. Brewster led all players, taking part in six blocks, while Loomis and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) were in on five each.
Henican led the Irish in digs with 19, while Stasiuk added 16, but the Wolverines ended up with a .292 hitting mark, the second-highest for an Irish opponent this season.
Michigan was strong offensively early, but the Wolverines could not pull ahead by more than four during the first half of the initial game. The Irish eventually rallied to tie the score and take their only lead of the game at 18-17. The Wolverines won the next five points, but the Irish got back into the contest by winning five of the next eight. Its lead cut to just 25-23, Michigan won five consecutive points to end the game and take a 1-0 advantage. Gandolph was the most effective Wolverine attacker in the opening game, finishing with five kills and no errors on six attempts.
Notre Dame held modest leads early in the second game, but then Michigan went on a run to extend its lead to seven points at 21-14. The Irish made a push and cut the lead to two on two occasions and then pulled to within 26-25. The Wolverines then won four consecutive points to win the game, which ended on an ace by Erin Cobler. Michigan’s floor defense was instrumental in holding the Irish to a .170 hitting mark in the game, as the Wolverines registered 26 digs.
In the third game, Michigan led by as many as three early, but the Irish came back to tie the score at 13-13. After five consecutive ties, Notre Dame finally won three straight points to go up 20-17. Michigan would fight back to within a point on four occasions, but could not tie the score, as the Irish eventually got a kill from Brewster to extend the match to a fourth game. The Wolverines saw 23 of their 27 points come on kills, as they hit .455 in the frame, but still could not close out the match.
The early going of game four featured back and forth play, as the score was tied 11 times before either side won its 16th point. The Irish finally put together a bit of a run to open up four-point advantages on three occasions, including at 25-21. Michigan fought back and, after being down 28-26, won three points in a row to garner a match point. A kill by Kelbley saved that, while the 24th kill by the Irish junior – on the ensuing point – gave Notre Dame a 30-29 advantage and a chance to send the match to a fifth game. A Gandolph kill, a service ace by senior setter Lisa Gamalski, and another Gandolph kill then gave Michigan the victory, its third in the last four matches against the Irish (after Notre Dame had won six of the first seven meetings).
Notre Dame, picked to finish first in the league in the preseason coaches’ poll, will open BIG EAST Conference action this weekend, traveling to Syracuse (13-3) for a Saturday 2 p.m. (EDT) match.