Dec. 2, 2000
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (26-7) ended its 2000 season with a five game loss (12-15, 15-13, 15-9, 6-15, 13-15) to Ohio State (26-6) in the second round of the NCAA tournament at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday night.
Notre Dame was led by seniors Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.) with 17 kills and Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.) with 60 assists, nine digs, six kills and three blocks.
“It was a very competitive match,” Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown said.
“It was one of those matches that seemed destined to be decided in a fifth game.”
The match was a roller coaster ride of emotions and momentum swings for both teams. Notre Dame led 7-4 in game one before a furious Buckeye rally put the host team ahead 12-8. The Irish were able to rebound and tie the score at 12, but Ohio State’s Sue Calligaris recorded two kills and an ace to earn the game victory for her team.
Calligaris would be the thorn in the side of the Irish all night, as she tallied a career-high 28 kills on .442 hitting – most of which came in the final three games of the match.
After dropping the first game, Notre Dame put the Buckeyes and the 829 fans at St. John Arena on notice that the match was far from over. Behind a devastating display of blocking, the Irish built a 12-1 lead in game two. Seven of Notre Dame’s points in the game came on blocks, including four from junior middle blocker Malinda Goralski (Missouri City, Texas). Senior Jo Jameyson (Alvin, Texas) also tied a career-best with 10 blocks in the match.
Ohio State was only able to score two more points in the game and Notre Dame evened the match 1-1 with a 15-3 game two victory.
Typical of the momentum swings on the night, Notre Dame carried the game two momentum far into game three. The Irish posted a lead of 9-3 before OSU was able to react and put together their own run. Three straight Buckeye kills cut the lead to 12-8, but a Goralski kill and two straight OSU hitting errors would provide Notre Dame a 2-1 advantage in the match.
“Each team had a game that they dominated,” Brown said.
“With such an emotional match, they had the edge in momentum after capturing game four.”
Calligaris was once again the star for Ohio State in the fourth game, helping her team build a 10-5 lead that the Irish were unable to recover from. With the momentum of the second and third game victories lost, the Irish faced the tough task of playing a fifth game under rally scoring rules on the Buckeyes’ home court.
“I thought we played with a lot of poise in game five,” Brown said.
“I was really proud of the way our players fought to the final point.”
Neither team built more than a two-point lead in the fifth game, but that lead, belonging to the Buckeyes, came at a crucial point. With Notre Dame matching OSU point for point, two kills from Calligaris put the Buckeyes up 12-10 and Notre Dame was unable to answer.
“The turning point in the match was when #12 (Calligaris) got hot,” Brown said.
“We tried a number of things to slow her down, but on this night she was unstoppable.”
The Irish complete the 2000 season with a 26-7 record after capturing their fifth BIG EAST regular season and conference championship titles. It was also the last match at Notre Dame for BIG EAST Player of the Year Boylan, all-BIG EAST first team selection Girton, Jameyson (Alvin, Texas), Michelle Graham (Austin, Texas), and Adrienne Shimmel (Mission Viejo, Calif.).