No. 6 Irish Take Down No. 5 Orange

Charley Niego leads Irish with 19 kills & 18 digs

NOTRE DAME, Ind.  — The sixth-ranked Notre Dame volleyball team improved to 2-0 (2-0 ACC) with a four-set victory (25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 25-21) over fifth-ranked Syracuse on Friday night inside Purcell Pavilion.

Friday marked the first top-five victory for the Irish since they took down #5 Stanford in straight sets on August 29, 2009. 

Charley Niego led the Irish with 19 kills and 18 digs while Caroline Meuth also notched a double-double with 15 kills and 13 digs. Zoe Nunez racked up 51 assists and 12 digs over the four sets of play.

Freshman Lindsey Miller earned 11 kills with a .611 hitting percentage while Hattie Monson, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Week, collected 13 digs.


First Set
Two kills and a trio of blocks by Meuth helped the Irish jump out to an 8-5 lead to open the first set. Back-to-back kills by Niego pushed Notre Dame’s advantage to 11-7 and forced a Syracuse timeout. The Orange responded by earning eight of the next 12 points to even the set at 15-all. 

After Syracuse earned a 17-16 lead, the Irish converted four of the next five points, including two kills by Miller, to go up 20-18. A 3-0 spurt, capped by an ace by Nunez, pushed the Irish lead to 23-19. Kills by Niego and Meuth, who both finished the frame with four kills, capped off a 25-20 set victory for Notre Dame.

Second Set
Momentum stayed with the hosts as the Irish opened the second set with a 7-2 lead to force an Orange timeout. Notre Dame stayed in control after the break, and three consecutive kills by Niego pushed the Irish lead to 14-5. After another Syracuse timeout, the Irish extended their scoring run to seven straight to go up 17-5. A Syracuse attack error and a kill by Niego closed out a 25-16 set for Notre Dame and gave the Irish a 2-0 lead. 

As a team, the Irish hit .345 with 15 kills in the second set while limiting the Orange to .000 hitting percentage. Niego paced Notre Dame with seven kills in the frame.

Third Set
A 5-0 run helped Syracuse earn a 7-3 lead to open the third stanza. The Irish got within two at 10-8 before the Orange rattled off three straight points to go up 13-8. After the Orange went up 15-9, Notre Dame went on a 4-0 run to get back within two at 15-13. The Irish also got within two at 17-15 and 19-17, but the Orange held on to take the set 25-20 and force a fourth frame.

Fourth Set
The fourth set opened as a back-and-forth affair as the sides worked to a 7-7 tie. The Irish earned the next three points, in part to a pair of Niego kills, to go up 10-7. Two straight kills by Meuth pushed Notre Dame’s advantage to 12-8 and forced an Orange timeout. The Irish extended their lead to 18-12 before the Orange earned three straight points to make it 18-15. The Irish seized control with a 5-1 run, capped with an ace by Monson, to lead 23-18. A kill by Hamilton sealed the set, 25-21, and clinched the four-set victory for Notre Dame. 

The Irish and Orange meet again tomorrow (Oct. 3) at 6 p.m. ET inside Purcell Pavilion. The match will be streamed live via ACC Network Extra. 

For a behind the scenes look at the Notre Dame volleyball program follow the Irish on Twitter (@NDvolleyball), Instagram (@ndvball) and Facebook (/NDVolleyball).