Sept. 13, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After a beyond frustrating beginning to the 2014 season for the University of Notre Dame volleyball team, the proverbial monkey is off its back after defeating Northeastern, 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 25-17), Saturday morning for its first win of the year.
The Irish (1-6) have been close on several occasions, including suffering narrow losses to No. 12 Minnesota, Washington State and TCU. However, Notre Dame put it all together against the Huskies as it pounded home 50 kills and had eight big service aces. The Irish also attacked above their season average, hitting .248 behind big efforts from senior Jeni Houser, sophomore Katie Higgins and freshman Sydney Kuhn.
After tying her career high with 20 kills last night against the Horned Frogs, Houser turned in another fine effort with 12 kills in addition to attacking at a .391 clip. Higgins earned the start and made the most of her opportunity with career highs in kills (8) and attack percentage (.467). Kuhn, meanwhile, continued her incredibly steady pace by tying for the team high in kills (12), while hitting .385.
Notre Dame struggled a bit on offense in sets two and three, but bookended those frames by hitting .409 in set one and .351 in the closeout frame.
Notre Dame closes out the Shamrock Invitational at 7 p.m. Saturday night against Northern Iowa. Fans can follow the match through live stats and WatchND’s free video stream. Links for both are on UND.com.
The Irish came out strong in the first set as it hit .409 to claim a 25-18 victory. Kuhn, Houser and grad student Nicole Smith all tallied three kills to lead Notre Dame. Holding a slim 17-15 lead in set one, the Irish went on a mini 3-0 run behind a Smith kill and back-to-back Husky attack errors to push the lead to 20-15. Notre Dame upped its lead to 23-17 on a kill from Kuhn, and finished off the Huskies on a Houser kill.
Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead into the locker room for the first time this season as they cruised to a 25-19 victory. The Irish never trailed in the match and consistently held a 3-5 point lead. A Houser kill ended a set for the second time in a row. Notre Dame didn’t hit particularly well (.143), but held the Huskies to a -.083 attack percentage as they totaled just six kills in 24 chances.
Northeastern showed they wouldn’t go away in the third set, as it rallied late for a 25-20 victory. Notre Dame led 15-11 and also held a 19-18 lead, but the Huskies won seven of the last eight points to stave off defeat. Three Irish attack errors and four Brigitte Burcescu kills aided in the comeback. Burcescu had seven kills in the set and a match-high 15 kills for the contest. Houser played well for the Irish in the set as she had four kills and hit .571.
The Irish closed out the Huskies in convincing fashion in the fourth set with a 25-17 victory. Leading by as much as eight at 20-12, Notre Dame closed out the match on a kill from freshman Maddie Plumlee. The appearance for Plumlee was the first of her career. The Irish had 17 kills in the frame, and held Northeastern to just seven.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director