Nov. 11, 2001
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (18-5) became the first BIG EAST Conference squad to post a 12-0 record in league play with a 3-0 victory (30-26, 30-17, 30-25) over Seton Hall (13-12, 6-6) at the Joyce Center on Saturday.
The Irish earned their 18th victory of the season by following the pattern of their previous 17 wins, utilizing a balanced offensive attack and solid defense at the net. Three Notre Dame hitters posted double-digit kills in the match, led by senior Kristy Kreher and sophomore Kim Fletcher with 11 each. Senior co-captain Marcie Bomhack added 10 kills on .444 hitting. Notre Dame also posted 10 team blocks for its ninth-consecutive match with 10-or more team stuffs.
The Irish also extended their home-court win streak to 19 matches, the second-best streak in Irish volleyball history.
Seton Hall stayed close to Notre Dame throughout the first game, until a rash of Pirate hitting errors provided the Irish with a three point cushion at 20-17. After a Kristen Kinder kill, Seton Hall rallied back with three consecutive kills to cut the Irish lead to just one at 21-20.
Notre Dame looked to its two hottest hitters to put the first game of the match away. Kreher and freshman Emily Loomis (both earned BIG EAST weekly awards on Nov. 5) each scored two kills a piece over the last six points of the game to give the Irish a 1-0 lead in the match.
Defense would key the Irish performance in game two, as Notre Dame was able to record four team blocks and hold the Pirates to a -.031 hitting mark in the game. The Irish offensive effort was led by Bomhack, who would end up with five kills and an ace in the second game alone. Bomhack and Fletcher keyed a six-point burst by the home team early in game two, as Notre Dame built an 11-4 lead and never looked back. The lead would build to as many as 13 points when Kreher and Malinda Goralski combined for a block on game point to put their team ahead 2-0 in the match.
Down two games to none, Seton Hall would give the Irish a solid fight in the third and final contest. Neither team could build more than a two point edge in game three and Notre Dame found itself down two points 21-19 after two Pirate kills and an Irish hitting error.
After a timeout, Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown inserted outside hitter Jessica Kinder into the lineup. Three Seton Hall errors gave the Irish a one-point advantage at 22-21, then Jessica Kinder and Fletcher combined on a block to put their team up two points. Both teams battled back and forth, but Jessica Kinder would end up recording a kill and an ace at crucial points during the final plays of the match to put her team ahead to stay. A thunderous kill by Kreher on game point provided a 30-25 game victory and a 3-0 match win for the Irish.
Notre Dame’s 12 league victories in 2001 improved the team’s all-time BIG EAST regular season record to 76-2 and extends its streak of consecutive conference victories to 34. The Irish are also undefeated (43-0) at home in BIG EAST action. The perfect conference record this season also is the team’s sixth in seven seasons of BIG EAST Conference competition.
The Irish will return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m., against Illinois State in the Joyce Center. It will be the last home match of the season for Notre Dame and the Irish will honor seniors Marcie Bomhack, Malinda Goralski and Kristy Kreher on Senior Appreciation Night. After Wednesday’s match, the Irish will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., for the 2001 BIG EAST Championship tournament on Nov. 17 and 18.