Oct. 4, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After a frustrating loss to Boston College Friday night, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team looked much improved Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion, as the Irish went toe-to-toe with Atlantic Coast Conference foe Syracuse in a heartbreaking 3-2 (26-28, 25-21, 27-25, 21-25, 15-13) setback to the Orange.
In a 3-0 sweep to the Eagles Friday, the Irish didn’t score more than 19 points in a set and produced just 26 kills and 24 assists in the match.
A completely different team stepped foot on the court Sunday against the Orange, as the Irish appeared energized and didn’t get down after a tough, third-set loss (27-25) put Syracuse on the brink of victory.
Notre Dame claimed the critical fourth set by going on a 5-1 run to end the set and tie the match at two.
In the fifth frame, the Irish went down by three points three times, overcoming those deficits each time in trying to secure their first conference win of 2015.
After trailing at 6-3, 8-5 and 10-7, the Irish went on a 5-1 run behind the serving of sophomore Sam Fry to take a 12-11 lead and bring the crowd to its feet. Later in the set the Irish led 13-12, but the Orange wouldn’t give up as a pair of kills sandwiched between a Notre Dame attack error gave the visitors the thrilling 3-2 win.
Each set was ultra competitive, as none of the frames saw less that six tie scores. Overall, the match featured 41 ties and 19 lead changes. Two frames (1st & 3rd) needed extra points to decide a winner.
Several impressive totals dotted the box score for the Irish:
– Notre Dame’s 87 digs were the most since the Irish had 93 at Louisville (Sept. 23, 2012).
– ND’s 16.5 blocks were the most since it had 18.0 versus Boston College (Oct. 19, 2014).
– Libero Ryann DeJarld’s 28 digs were tied for the 11th most in program history in the rally-scoring era (2001-present) … she had 30 earlier this year against Hofstra (Sept. 5).
In addition, several student-athletes produced career highs. On the back row freshman Kelly Byrne totaled 14 digs to top her previous high of 13 set at No. 22 Purdue earlier this year.
Sophomore outside hitter Sydney Kuhn posted her sixth career double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs to go along with four blocks and a service ace. The Wichita, Kansas native achieved the total on a career-high 59 attack attempts.
Fellow sophomore outside hitter Maddie Plumlee posted a career-high 14 kills to go along with four digs and three blocks, while junior middle blocker Katie Higgins set a career standard with 10 blocks to go along with 12 kills.
Elsewhere, sophomore defensive specialist Natalie Johnson had 15 digs while tying a career high with three service aces, and freshman outside hitter Rebecca Nunge had a career-high seven blocks to go along with six kills and two digs.
Fry continued her steady year with 12 kills (.290 A%) and four blocks.
Perhaps most impressively, however, was the play of sophomore walk-on setter Taylor Zwickl, who was playing club volleyball for Notre Dame in 2014 and making the first start of her career Sunday. The Muncie, Indiana native steadied the offense and just missed out on a double-double by posting 50 assists, nine digs, three blocks and a service ace.
For Syracuse, setter Gosia Wlaszczuk had an outrageous match with 58 assists, 11 digs, six blocks, six kills (.333 A%) and a service ace. Libero Belle Sand had 26 digs and six assists, Monika Salkute tallied 19 kills, 10 digs, four blocks and two service aces and Nicolette Serratore had 19 kills and 14 digs.
The Orange bested the Irish in kills (69-57), attack percentage (.168-.152), assists (66-56), digs (89-87) and blocks (17.0-16.5) while Notre Dame held the advantage in service aces (7-5).
Notre Dame (5-11, 0-4 ACC) looks to get off the conference schneid next weekend on the road, as it travels south to meet Clemson (5-12, 0-4 ACC) at 7 p.m. Friday before facing off with Georgia Tech (11-5, 2-2 ACC) at 1 p.m. Sunday in Atlanta. More information on how fans can follow both matches will be available later on in the week at UND.com/NDVolleyball.
–Russell Dorn, Athletics Communications Assistant Director