NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 13 Notre Dame volleyball team (7-1, 6-1 ACC) opened the spring portion of its 2020-21 campaign with a five-set victory (25-14, 19-25, 22-25, 26-24, 15-10) over Valparaiso on Thursday afternoon inside Purcell Pavilion.
Caroline Meuth paced the Irish with 17 kills while Charley Niego added 16 kills and Aubrey Hamilton earned 13 kills. Zoe Nunez totaled 57 assists in the five sets of play.
Niego and Meuth notched 21 and 14 digs, respectively, to each earn double-doubles. Hattie Monson led the Irish with 27 digs while Kiara Schmidt added 20 and Nunez totaled 18 digs.
Meuth, Lindsey Miller and Hannah Thompson each notched four blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame broke a 6-6 tie with a 5-0 run and led the rest of the way to take the first set, 25-14. Valpo stayed within five points at 14-9 before Notre Dame used a 7-2 stretch to extend its lead to 21-11. Thompson and Meuth each led the Irish attack with four kills in the frame as Notre Dame hit .379 in the set.
Valpo led from start to finish in the second frame to take the set, 25-19, and even the match.
The Irish responded to take a 3-0 lead in the third stanza before Valpo answered to take a 7-6 advantage. After the teams worked to a 10-all tie, Notre Dame earned five of the next six points to go up 15-11. The visitors responded to even the score again at 15-15 before using a 4-0 run to take a 20-18 lead.The visitors stayed in front from that point to take the third set, 25-22, and a 2-1 lead.
A back-and-forth fourth set featured 16 ties and 10 lead changes. Valpo opened the frame with a 4-1 run before the Irish used a 4-0 run to go up 5-4. From there, the teams stayed within one point until the Irish earned four consecutive points to take a 19-16 lead. Valpo worked to tie the set at 23-all. A kill by Thompson put the Irish up 24-23 before a Valpo kill made it 24-24. The Irish clinched a fifth-set with a Valpo service error followed by an ace by Monson to take the fourth set, 26-24.
Notre Dame broke a 3-3 tie in the decisive set with an 8-3 stretch, which included three kills by Niego, that put the hosts up 11-6. Valpo fought back to get within one at 11-10 before Notre Dame closed the contest with four straight points and back-to-back kills by Meuth to clinch a five-set victory.