Aug. 30, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The puzzle pieces just did not seem to fit Sunday during Notre Dame’s final match of the Shamrock Invitational. The Irish dropped a non-conference volleyball affair to LSU, 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-23), at the Joyce Center as their overall recorded dipped to 2-1 on the season. LSU (2-1) was boosted in the final match by Michele Williams’ 11 kills and four blocks. Williams, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, finished the three-match event with 37 kills (2.85/set) and 19 blocks (1.46/set).
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy represented Notre Dame on the all-tournament team. Dealy led the Irish against the Tigers with 15 kills while narrowly missing out on double-doubles in Notre Dame’s first two matches. Phillips steadied the Irish attack with 3.11 kills/set and 2.89 digs/set in three matches.
Brittnee Cooper (LSU), Cassidy Lichtman (Stanford), Gabi Ailes (Stanford) and Emmy Davidsmeyer (Denver) rounded out the all-tournament team.
Notre Dame now travels to Cincinnati next week for the Xavier Invitational. The Irish will face Xavier (Sept. 4), Tennessee (Sept. 5) and Michigan (Sept. 6).
LSU seized control of the match early by hitting .522 in the first set and finished with a .347 average. Notre Dame managed a .202 average despite hitting .083 in the second set. Both teams struggled from behind the charity stripe with eight service errors apiece, but LSU also managed five aces.
The Irish received seven kills from both senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin and junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca. Senior setter Jamel Nicholas, who had 30 assists, also had two blocks. Senior middle blocker Tara Enzweiler matched Nicholas and Sciacca in the block column with two of her own.
LSU’s Sam Delahoussaye led all players with 17 digs.
Five first-set service errors haunted Notre Dame. The Irish knotted the score at 10-10 with a Phillips kill before LSU won 10 of the next 13 points. The loss broke Notre Dame’s streak of nine-straight sets won dating back to the 2008 closer against Xavier (Nov. 28).
Neither team could slip away in the second until LSU turned a 9-9 tie into a 13-9 lead, which proved to be the pivotal run the Tigers needed to earn the seven-point win.
Junior outside hitter Stephanie Slatt used her serve to get the Irish going in set three, giving Notre Dame an 11-6 advantage after four strikes. Back came the Tigers, this time mounting a steady attack of their own by rattling off five-straight while staring at a 14-10 deficit. The last tie of the set came at 22-22.
The match featured 29 tied scores and 17 lead changes, most of which came in the third set.