Grad student Nicole Smith tallied 12 kills, four digs, two blocks and a service ace in Saturday night's match against Northern Iowa.

Northern Iowa Tops Notre Dame, 3-1, In Shamrock Invitational Finale

Sept. 13, 2014

Box Score

Northern Iowa 3, Notre Dame 1Get Acrobat Reader

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After picking up its first win of the 2014 campaign Saturday morning with a 3-1 win over Northeastern, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team fell to Northern Iowa Saturday night, 3-1 (25-20, 25-21, 18-25, 25-17), in the finale of the Shamrock Invitational at Purcell Pavilion.
The Irish turned in a sterling performance on offense against UNI, as they pounded home 57 kills to just 11 errors in hitting a season-high .331. However, Notre Dame recorded 11 service errors and had 17 less digs than the Panthers (61-44) to stop any thoughts of a Saturday sweep.
None of the sets had much drama, as the match featured only 17 ties and five lead changes, with the first two sets boasting 15 of the ties and four of the lead changes.
The Irish couldn’t stop sophomore outside hitter and tournament MVP Lindsey Schulz all night as she had 17 kills and no errors in 29 chances to hit a whopping .586. Meanwhile, setter Kinsey Caldwell turned in a brilliant performance with 46 assists, nine digs and seven kills in hitting .538. All-tournament performers Kayla Haneline (11K, .450 A%) and Eryca Hingtgen (13K) also had big nights for the Panthers.
For Notre Dame, senior Jeni Houser, sophomore Katie Higgins and freshman Sydney Kuhn continued their strong day. Houser tallied 15 kills (.387 A%) to move into 18th place on the Irish career kills ledger (1,097), while Higgins tallied a career-high seven kills (.538 A%) to break her previous career best from earlier in the day against the Huskies. The Kearney, Neb., native also had a team-high four blocks. Kuhn added 10 kills (.320 A%), eight digs and two blocks, while fellow freshman Sam Fry chipped in with nine kills (.364 A%) and two blocks. Grad student Nicole Smith was the only other Irish player to reach double-figures in kills (12).
Houser and Kuhn earned spots on the all-tournament team.
With the win, Northern Iowa (5-5) finishes the weekend with a perfect record and clinches the tournament title. TCU, Notre Dame and Northeastern all finish with a 1-2 mark, with tiebreakers placing the Horned Frogs in second, the Irish in third and the Huskies in fourth.
The Irish (1-7) close out the tourney portion of their schedule next weekend at the Purdue Active Ankle Challenge in West Lafayette, Ind. Notre Dame plays Morehead State and Saint Louis Friday, before battling No. 8 Purdue at 8 p.m. Saturday night on Big Ten Network (BTN).
For more information on the Notre Dame volleyball team, follow the Irish on Facebook (NDVolleyball), Twitter (@NDVolleyball) and Instagram (NDVBall).
Final Tournament Results
1. Northern Iowa (3-0)
2. TCU (1-2)
3. Notre Dame (1-2)
4. Northeastern (1-2)
All-Tournament Team
Lindsey Schulz, Northern Iowa (MVP)
Kayla Haneline, Northern Iowa
Eryca Hingtgen, Northern Iowa
Sarita Mikals, TCU
Ashley Smith, TCU
Jeni Houser, Notre Dame
Sydney Kuhn, Notre Dame
Natalie Skiba, Northeastern
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director