Aug. 30, 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Reigning NCAA runner-up Wisconsin (No. 6 – AVCA Coaches Poll) swept the University of Notre Dame volleyball team, 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-16), Saturday night in the final match of the ACC / Big Ten Challenge for both teams.
One night after giving No. 12 Minnesota all it wanted in a pair of nail-biting sets, Notre Dame couldn’t do the same against a powerful Wisconsin squad that hit .346 for the match. The Badgers limited the Irish to a .100 attack percentage and also tallied eight service aces compared to two for Notre Dame. In all, Wisconsin had 41 kills to 24 for Notre Dame and 35 digs to 25 for the Irish.
Notre Dame graduate student Nicole Smith had a team-high six kills, while junior setter Hanna Muzzonigro was a perfect 5-for-5 to hit 1.000 for the match. For the second night in a row, freshmen Jo Kremer and Natalie Johnson had the lone two service aces for the Irish. Johnson also led the Irish with eight digs.
In the first action of her career, freshman Sydney Kuhn had four kills, four digs and a block.
For Wisconsin, senior outside hitter Ellen Chapman was tough to stop all night as she had a match-high 12 kills to go along with just one error as she hit .440. Preseason second-team All-American Lauren Carlini tallied match highs in assists (28) and service aces (3) to go along with six digs and two kills, while Notre Dame transfer Taylor Morey had a match-high 15 digs and two service aces.
The Irish (0-2) open the home portion of their schedule next weekend when they welcome in Washington State, IUPUI and Western Michigan for the Golden Dome Invitational. Notre Dame kicks off its weekend with a 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday contest with the Cougars.
Wisconsin looked very comfortable in set one as it opened up a 9-1 lead early and cruised to a 25-16 victory. The Irish only tallied eight kills in the opening frame in hitting .077. They also struggled with the serve as they had three service errors and no aces while the Badgers totaled three aces. Wisconsin also controlled the net as it had four blocks. Throughout the set the Irish had little answer for Chapman, who produced six kills on 11 attempts for a .545 attack percentage. On the other side, Kuhn saw the first action of her career and led the Irish with three kills on five attempts.
It was more of the same in the second frame for the Irish as Wisconsin cruised to a 25-15 set win to take a 2-0 lead into the break. One of Wisconsin’s big runs came early in the set when it took a 2-2 tie and turned it into a 12-4 advantage. Up 19-10, the Badgers overcame a mini Irish run (5-1) to close out the set with five consecutive points. Wisconsin hit .385 for the set and limited Notre Dame to a .087 attack percentage.
The Badgers closed out the match sweep by hitting .370 to earn a 25-16 victory. A big run early in the set gave Wisconsin a 12-6 lead and forced an Irish timeout. Later in the frame, Notre Dame was forced to use its second timeout of the set after an Irish attack error pushed the Wisconsin lead to 21-13. With the score 23-16, back-to-back kills by Chapman ended the match.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director