Sept. 4, 2009
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips churned out 19 kills and sophomore libero Frenchy Silva recorded a career-high 23 digs as Notre Dame beat host Xavier, 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 18-25, 25-18), Friday evening at Xavier’s Cintas Center. The non-conference volleyball victory improved Notre Dame’s record to 3-1 and dropped the Musketeers to 1-3.
“It was great to come out in the fourth set after taking a step back in the third,” Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown said. “Several individuals stepped up and shouldered quite a load for us. We didn’t start out too sharp and there are several areas in which we still need to improve.”
The Irish look ahead to a date with Tennessee on day two of the Xavier Invitational beginning Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (ET). Live stats will be available for the match at UND.com.
Phillips hit at a .444 rate and Silva an Irish defense that held Xavier to a .000 hitting average in both the second and fourth sets. Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy added to the Irish output with 15 kills and nine digs. Senior setter Jamel Nicholas led all players with 46 assists.
To open the match, the first of Dealy’s set-high seven kills landed for Notre Dame’s first point (1-1) and she never looked back. Dealy delivered from all angles on the court and finished the set with a .429 hitting clip (7-1-14).
Nicholas and senior middle blocker Tara Enzweiler tied the score at 7-7 with a double block after sophomore outside hitter Stephanie Slatt aced the Musketeers following an Irish timeout. Leading by a pair, Dealy connected on two kills assisted by Silva at 11-8 and 12-8. The Irish took a handy lead when senior outside hitter Megan Fesl posted back-to- back kills prior to Dealy’s backrow attack to end the set.
Notre Dame hit at a .324 rate in the first set while holding the Musketeers to a .131 average. Silva scrambled for nine digs and Enzweiler finished with three kills and a pair of blocks.
Dealy picked up right where she left off with a kill on her first swing in the second. Freshman middle blocker Hilary Eppink made her presence known with a kill and block while Fesl rolled a kill into the campfire at 7-6. Xavier aced the Irish (13-13) for one of the set’s 10 ties. The Irish even fell behind three times though Nicholas took matters into her own hands with a dump at 16-16. A Musketeer hitting error (18-16) and Eppink’s solo block (22-18) gave the Irish enough of a wave to ride for the win.
Phillips had six kills in the set while the Irish defense held Xavier to a .000 hitting percentage. Notre Dame hit .357 but accumulated 10 services errors through the first two sets to keep Xavier alive.
Both teams traded service errors in the early stages of the third and Xavier took a 7-4 lead. Junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca stopped the bleeding with a kill at 8-5 and Nicholas’ push to the corner made it 10-6. Eppink got the Irish to within three (10-7) with a tip over the double block which came before the Musketeers rallied ahead to a nine-point lead (21-12). The Irish would come as close as six scores (24-18).
The fourth set was all Irish beginning with Sciacca’s slam of a Xavier overpass. Dealy killed the defense at 5-2 and a Xavier error gave the visitors a six-point lead. But Xavier bounced back with two aces to make it 8-5 and Notre Dame answered to double-up the Musketeers, 14-7. The Irish held on to that advantage for a better portion of the match’s remainder.