Sept. 15, 2017
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame volleyball program is on a roll. The Irish (8-1) defeated No. 23 Michigan State (5-2) by a score of 3-0 (25-23, 28-26, 25-22), posting their second consecutive win against a ranked opponent. The last time Notre Dame defeated ranked teams in back-to-back matches was in 1995. With Friday’s win, the Irish remain unbeaten at home with a record of 5-0.
Sophomore Jemma Yeadon once again led the Irish attack, posting 19 kills. Senior Sam Fry also impressed in the attack, recording eight kills and a highly efficient hitting percentage of .375. Junior Ryann DeJarld entered the weekend as the country’s leader in digs per set and bolstered her ranking on Friday, recording 29 digs over the three sets.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish and Spartans battled throughout the opening set but Notre Dame prevailed in the first frame, claiming a 25-23 victory to take a 1-0 match lead. The Irish attack came out firing on all cylinders in the opener, recording eight kills for the team’s first eight points. With Notre Dame holding a 9-5 advantage the Spartans came to life, reeling off nine consecutive points to go on top 14-9. The Irish then battled back to level the set at 20-20 before taking the first frame 25-23.
The Spartans controlled the early stages of the second stanza, as the visitors held a 17-11 lead midway through the set. The Irish then inserted sophomore Lauren Woodard for the first time in the match and the outside hitter made an immediate impact, posting a kill and solo block to give Notre Dame a spark. The Irish reeled off nine consecutive points with Woodard on the floor to take a 20-17 lead, however, Michigan State fought back and leveled the set at 20-20. From that point on it was a see-saw battle with both teams having set points. A Spartan attack error at 27-26 gave the Irish the second set by a score of 28-26 to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead in the match.
The beginning of the third set was a continuation of the previous two, as the two teams battled to a deadlock score of 13-13. The Irish then went on a blocking rampage, posting four blocks over the next six points to take a 19-13 lead. The Spartans put up one last comeback attempt, managing to cut the Irish advantage to one at 22-21. That is as close as the visitors would get, as Notre Dame closed out the match with a third set win of 25-22 to seal the victory.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Yeadon posted her seventh double-double of the season with the aforementioned 19 kills to go along with 11 digs. The super sophomore also added five blocks to complete her remarkable evening. The 19 kills are just one shy of her career high. Yeadon has now recorded at least 10 kills in all eight matches she has played in during the 2017 season.
ND STAT OF THE MATCH
Despite having a major height disadvantage on the frontline, the Irish went toe-to-toe with the Spartans at the net and outblocked Michigan State 13.5 to 13.0 on Friday. Five Notre Dame student-athletes finished with three or more blocks. Junior Meg Morningstar led the charge with seven blocks, matching her season high.
HEAD COACH Jim McLaughlin’S TAKE
On recording back-to-back wins over ranked opponents…
“We just have to keep moving forward. We are growing up as a program and we have to pass the test. We can’t just take the test anymore, we have to pass it. We have to learn the lesson and you can do that when you are winning. I think you learn more when you are winning than when you are losing. I think we are moving in the right direction and passing the test.”
On outblocking a taller Michigan State team…
“Blocking is a lot of stuff, it is not just height. You have to be in good spots at good times and I thought we had good eye work and I thought we responded to some situations. But we can clean it up, we didn’t play clean. We can get better. But to beat a good team like Michigan State is a big deal right now.”
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- The Irish are 5-0 at home in 2017.
- Notre Dame improves to 5-8 against Michigan State, recording its first win over the Spartans since 1991.
- The Irish are 2-1 against the Big Ten this season, with all three matches coming against ranked teams in the conference.
- Notre Dame’s 8-1 start to the season is the program’s best since also posting an 8-1 mark in 2005.
- Kuhn recorded a season-high 17 digs in the victory.
- DeJarld surpassed the 20+ dig mark for the seventh time this season with a team-high 22 digs.
- Natalie Johnson has recorded at least one ace in all nine matches this season and has compiled a team-high 20 aces in 2017.
- Jemma Yeadon has recorded 10+ kills in all eight matches she has played in this season.
Notre Dame has a quick turnaround, as it wraps up the Shamrock Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16 with two more matches in Purcell Pavilion. The Irish face Southern Illinois at 12:30 p.m. and Central Michigan at 7 p.m. to conclude the non-conference portion of the regular season.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
— ND —
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men’s lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.