Nov. 21, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Meeting in the BIG EAST Championship for the fifth time in as many seasons, top-seeded Notre Dame and fourth-seeded Louisville went head-to-head and put on a show in the semifinals of the 2009 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship Saturday afternoon at the Kentucky International Convention Center. With the home crowd behind them, Louisville upset the Fighting Irish, 3-2 (24-26, 25-16, 18-25, 25-16, 15-13) in the first match of the tournament that went five sets.
No. 23 Notre Dame (21-5) saw its 15-match winning streak snapped but received a solid outing from Kristen Dealy, who led the team with 23 kills. Louisville native Christina Kaelin added 17 and Frenchy Silva scooped 17 shots for the Irish.
BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Lola Arslanbekova totaled 21 kills and 16 digs for Louisville (19-10) while Justine Landi posted five kills in the final set, including the match-winner.
Notre Dame travels to Florida next Saturday (Nov. 28) for a single match in Gainesville.
The first set was tied at 3-3 when Louisville scored three straight and extended that lead to 12-6. Serinity Phillips and Kellie Sciacca teamed for a block at 13-11 and the Irish tied it at 15-15 after taking advantage of a free ball. Stephanie Slatt stepped in for an ace at 19-16, and a huge rally was capped by Phillip’s roller at 23-22. Louisville fended off set point but committed a hitting error to give Notre Dame its win.
Dealy had seven kills on 11 errorless swings in the frame with Sciacca adding three blocks.
Louisville committed nine attack errors and hit .176 in the frame while Notre Dame hit .297.
The Cardinals took control of the second set early, building a 5-1 lead and did not look back. UofL extended its advantage to 17-8 and continued its hot hitting to take the second set, 25-16. Louisville failed to convert on any of its first three set points.
Silva sparked the Irish in the third with a pair of digs at 6-5 which resulted in an Irish point. Dealy’s backrow attack dropped at 12-10 and Phillips’ solo block made it a 20-13 affair. Louisville scored the next three but Phillips sent back an overpass on set point.
The Irish responded from a .031 hitting percentage in the second with a .342 clip in the third.
Arslanbekova came up big for Louisville in the fourth with three quick kills to give her team a 10-5 lead. She would add four more over the course of the set. Sciacca’s kill at 15-13 was as close as the Irish would get, and Louisville closed the frame with a 10-3 run.
The two teams traded points seven times until Notre Dame went on top, 10-7, when Phillips and Tara Enzweiler teamed for a block. Louisville took the next three en route to the win.