Sept. 27, 2009
QUEENS, N.Y. – Senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin led the Notre Dame volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-11, 27-25, 25-19) win at St. John’s with 13 kills and a .500 hitting percentage as the Irish improved to 8-4 on the season and 2-0 against BIG EAST Conference teams. The sweep over St. John’s (9-9 overall, 1-1 BIG EAST) Sunday afternoon at Taffner Field House was the first for Notre Dame since 2004.
Notre Dame showed plenty of composure with a strong start in the first set and never trailed until the third period.
“I thought we had a very good focus coming into the match and we executed really well from the beginning,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “It’s always good to sweep a team and it’s especially good when everyone can contribute to a win such as this.”
Junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca set Kaelin to a kill at 4-3 in the opening stanza then gave the Irish a two-point lead with her second swing of the rally at 6-4. After senior setter Jamel Nicholas registered her first of her two kills in the match, she teamed with Sciacca for a block at 8-4. Notre Dame forced a Red Storm timeout and came back onto court to see freshman outside hitter Marie Roof set Kaelin to another kill, a play they also duplicated at 10-4. Kaelin’s first ace of the season came at 12-5 and Sciacca posted two more blocks during an Irish run. Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy had an ace at 19-8, and senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips ended the set with back-to-back aces.
St. John’s hit .038 in the first set as Sciacca recorded three blocks in the period with Phillips and Kaelin chipping in three kills each.
Senior middle blocker Kim Kristoff got in on the action in the second set with a gorgeous dish to Kaelin from the left side at 6-1. At 10-6, freshmen middle blocker Hilary Eppink locked in on her second kill of the frame, but St. John’s rallied to come within two (11-9). Darlene Ramden, who had five kills in the set for the home team, then brought St. John’s to within one at 12-11. Kristoff’s ace capped a 5-0 Irish run (16-11) but St. John’s remained relentless by making the score 19-18 due to a number of Irish errors. Kun Song tied the set at 22-22 but Kristoff skied for a block with Phillips to give the lead back to Notre Dame. Dealy ended things after an intense rally on Notre Dame’s third set point with a kill from the left side.
Kaelin had six of Notre Dame’s 21 kills in the set.
Notre Dame lost five of the first seven rallies in the third set but came back to take the lead at 8-7 on another Kaelin kill. Sophomore middle blocker Megan Barnicle (13-9) and junior libero Angela Puente (21-14) both aced the Red Storm defense in the final period. Puente, who was celebrating her 20th birthday, help steer the Irish to four more points to pick up the win.
Notre Dame hosts Villanova Oct. 4 (Sunday) at the Joyce Center. Live stats will be available at UND.com.