Sept. 12, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (6-1) began its quest for a fourth consecutive Shamrock Invitational title with a four-game (30-24, 30-23, 28-30, 30-19) victory against Indiana (4-3) Friday evening in the Joyce Center. On Saturday at 7 p.m. (EST), the Irish, winners of five straight, will take on Utah, which also opened the tournament with a win, sweeping South Carolina.
Notre Dame got good hitting performances from a pair of players. Senior OPP Katie Neff (St. Louis, Mo./Cor Jesu Academy) had 11 kills and just two errors for a .375 hitting percentage, while sophomore MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) also registered 11 kills. She had a .348 attack percentage.
The Irish struggled at times hitting as a team, posting a .208 attack percentage for the game, but benefited from Hoosier inaccuracy. IU hit just .085 (58 kills and 44 errors) for the match, hitting over .075 in just one game.
Notre Dame’s net play was a big reason the Indiana offense had trouble, with the Irish registering a season-high 16 blocks. Leading the way was sophomore MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), who was in on seven, while Brewster took part in six blocks.
Junior OPP/OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) led Notre Dame in kills with 16. She has registered 10 or more kills in each of her last 13 matches, dating back to last season.
Sophomore OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) paced the floor game with 13 digs, while senior OH Jessica Kinder (Fresno, Calif./Bullard H.S.) had 10.
Indiana started off well, winning six of the first nine points, but the Irish came back to finally take the lead at 19-18 and went on to win by six.
It was the Irish who jumped out early in the second game, taking a 10-4 lead and maintaining an advantage throughout to take a 2-0 lead. Indiana hit .000 on the game, hitting 15 kills but making 15 errors on 40 swings.
Game three was close throughout, with neither team holding more than a three-point advantage. Trailing 29-26, the Irish saved a pair of game points, but Indiana finally converted on a Notre Dame block error to capture the game.
The Irish never trailed in the final game, maintaining a comfortable advantage and going on to win by 11.