Nov. 15, 2002
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (21-6, 11-1) suffered its first setback in six matches with a five-game loss at Miami (23-4, 9-3) Friday evening. The Hurricanes are enjoying a solid first-season of BIG EAST Conference volleyball action and came through to hand the Irish their first conference regular-season loss in 43 matches.
Notre Dame might get a chance to face the Hurricanes again in just over a week. The Irish have already secured a spot in the BIG EAST Championship (Nov. 23-24), while Miami still needs to win out and defeat Syracuse on Sunday. Entering the weekend, the Hurricanes were tied with Virginia Tech and Connecticut in the conference standings. Notre Dame will take on Virginia Tech Sunday in Blacksburg.
The Irish hit well in the match against Miami, putting up a .243 team percentage compared to a .186 mark for the Hurricanes. The deciding fifth game, however, was dominated by the home team. Miami scored six kills on 21 swings, while the Irish had six kills and six hitting errors (for a .000 hitting mark).
Miami captured the first two games of the match, led by Valeria Tipiana. Tipiana ended up with a match-high 28 kills and also had 16 digs. Miami libero Jamie Grass also was outstanding with a match-high 27 digs.
For the Irish, Emily Loomis led the offensive effort with 18 kills, though Miami held her to a .174 hitting percentage. Freshman Lauren Kelbley had 13 kills (on .481 hitting), while Lauren Brewster added 11 and Katie Neff 10. Brewster also had 11 blocks.
Junior setter Kristen Kinder held tough for the Irish in the match, putting up 55 assists, 14 digs, eight kills and four blocks.
Notre Dame also struggled with their serve reception, as Miami was able to score 10 aces in the match. The loss to the Hurricanes was the first setback for Notre Dame against a BIG EAST Conference opponent in 36 matches.