Sept. 14, 2008
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Sophomore middle blocker Kellie Sciacca was named to the Diet Coke Classic All-Tournament squad after she registered a team-high nine kills on a .350 average against No. 11 Minnesota on Sunday at the Sports Pavilion. The Irish fell to the Golden Gophers, 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-21), in a matchup that pitted Notre Dame against a ranked opponent for the third time in as many days.
The Irish (3-6) got a pair of kills and 24 assists from junior setter Jamel Nicholas, who helped the team to a .202 overall hitting percentage. Minnesota (8-1) was paced by 15 kills from Kyla Roehrig and hit .358 in the contest.
A Beth Wildermuth ace in the first set gave Notre Dame a 6-3 lead with Sciacca expanding that lead to four (9-5) with the first of her two kills in the frame. Following a slam by senior Justine Stremick (11-9) the Golden Gophers proceeded to rattle off six straight points until junior Christina Kaelin’s kill ended the scoreless streak. Stremick’s solo block brought Notre Dame within three (18-21), the closest the Irish would get to Minnesota before the set ended.
Notre Dame totaled 11 kills in the first set on a .162 hitting clip. Minnesota managed 17 kills with a .353 average.
The Irish took a 7-6 lead in the second set when Sciacca killed a Golden Gopher overpass. But the Golden Gophers hit another streak, this time rattling off four consecutive points. Kaelin stopped the rally with a shallow tip that found ground. Kaelin had a pair of kills in the set with Sciacca adding three.
Notre Dame came out swinging in the third set and finished with a .351 average over the final stretch. After falling behind, junior Serinity Phillips’ backrow attack turned things into a 12-9 game in Minnesota’s favor. Sciacca killed an over pass (15-14) and freshman Kristen Dealy’s ace tied things at 16-16. Phillips’ kill (17-17), senior Mallorie Croal’s kill (18-18) and Sciacca’s kill (20-20) kept Notre Dame on the edge of taking the lead but the team could not overcome the final Golden Gopher surge.
Phillips (eight kills, 11 digs) and Dealy (eight kills, 12 digs) each finished with solid outings for the Irish. Croal stepped in and notched four kills.
Notre Dame welcomes Liberty (Sept. 19), UC Irvine (Sept. 20) and Western Michigan (Sept. 21)to the Joyce Center when it plays host at the Golden Dome Invitational.