Sept. 5, 2009
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Tennessee received 14 kills from Nikki Fowler as Notre Dame dropped a 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-22) non-conference volleyball match to the Lady Vols Sunday at the Cintas Center. Day two of the Xavier Invitational saw Notre Dame’s overall record drop to 3-2 as Tennessee improved to 4-1.
Sunday’s first serve for the Irish against No. 7 Michigan will be at 12:00 p.m. (ET). Live stats will be available at UND.com.
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and junior libero Angela Puente each had 11 digs for Notre Dame with Phillips leading the team with seven kills and three blocks. No Irish player finished with double-digit kills for the first time since an Oct. 19, 2007, match versus DePaul.
Senior setter Jamel Nicholas had 29 assists but Notre Dame struggled from the field with a .103 hitting percentage. Tennessee turned in a team average of .200.
Senior outside hitters Christina Kaelin and Megan Fesl both had six kills. Kaelin’s initial kill came off of her opening swing of the match as she landed a starting role for the first time this season. Junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca took care of the next two Irish points but Fowler’s ace capped a Lady Vol run that put her squad ahead, 11-6. Notre Dame scored a quick pair and Puente’s kill brought them within one (16-15) prior to Phillips’ backrow kill off a textbook set from senior middle blocker Kim Kristoff (16-16). Two late Irish service errors spoiled the comeback effort.
Fowler and Phillips shared set-high honors with five kills as Puente came off the bench and contributed eight digs in the frame.
Tennessee built a 5-0 lead in the second that was broken by Fesl’s overpass which turned into a kill. The Lady Vols ran out to a 9-2 advantage but Notre Dame chipped away and came within four (19-15) on a Tennessee hitting error. Out of a timeout, Tennessee scored the next three to help close the book on an Irish team that hit .000 in the set.
Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy started the third with a kill and an ace to start a 4-0 Irish run. Tennessee rallied to tie the period at 5-5 and Fesl laid down kills from the left side at 7-6 and 9-7 to keep the Irish on top. Tennessee staged another rally and went ahead by four (16-12) when Fesl smacked another kill from the same spot as her previous two. Fesl `s ace tied the set one final time at 19-19.