RALEIGH, N.C. — Notre Dame (7-5, 1-1 ACC) could not complete a comeback at NC State (7-5, 1-1 ACC), dropping a 3-1 decision to the Wolfpack on Sunday afternoon to complete the first weekend of ACC play.
The Irish attack was paced by junior Jemma Yeadon and freshman Charley Niego, who finished with 18 and 16 kills, respectively. Freshman Zoe Nunez posted a career-high 48 assists in the defeat, while Niego and senior Ryann DeJarld combined for 53 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two sides traded points to start the match, with the score deadlocked at 11-11. The Irish then reeled off five straight points to grab its largest lead of the set at 16-11. After the Wolfpack trimmed the lead to two points at 21-19, Hannah Thompson registered a kill to put the Irish just three points away from a first set win. However, NC State went on a 5-0 run of its own and ended up stealing the first frame by a score of 25-23.
The Irish held a two-point advantage early in the second stanza, leading 9-7 in the early stages. The hosts responded with five straight points to go on top 12-9. The Wolfpack lead grew to five at 21-16 but Notre Dame then went on a 4-0 run to trim the lead to one at 21-20 thanks to kills from Niego and Yeadon and blocks from Thompson and Nunez. The comeback fell bid fell short, as NC State went on to win 25-22 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set was close throughout, as it featured 10 ties and five lead changes. The Irish were able to build a two-point lead at 15-13 and the Wolfpack never led from that point forward. NC State got to within one point at 23-22 before the Irish closed the door on the set by winning each of the last two points off kills from Thompson and Niego to force a fourth frame.
Notre Dame led for the majority of the fourth frame, holding as large as a four-point advantage at 19-15. The Irish looked poised to level the match at 2-2 and send it to a decisive fifth set with a 22-19 lead late in the fourth, but NC State had other ideas. The Wolfpack won six consecutive points to halt the Notre Dame comeback and win the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Niego excelled in the attack and on defense for the Irish on Sunday, recording the second-most kills in the match for the Irish with 16 while leading the squad in digs with 29. The 18 kills are the second most any Irish student athlete has recorded this season and the 29 digs mark a season high for any Irish player.
The Irish are back on the road next weekend, as the squad faces Clemson at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 in Clemson, South Carolina.
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