LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Notre Dame volleyball team (10-7, 4-3 ACC) dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 22 Louisville in a match that was played at Sacred Heart Academy after power outages at the University of Louisville forced the two teams to change venues. The Irish took the first two sets 29-27 and 25-20 before Louisville took the next three frames 25-17, 25-20 and 15-12 to earn the victory.
Senior Rebecca Nunge recorded 14 kills for the Irish attack with a whopping .565 hitting percentage. Freshman Charley Niego led Notre Dame with 21 kills while freshman Sydney Bent added 12 kills.
Senior Ryann DeJarld anchored the Notre Dame defense with 20 digs. Freshman Zoe Nunez and sophomore Madison Cruzado added 13 and 11 digs respectively.
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a thrilling opening set, the two sides battled to an 11-all tie before the Cardinals used a 4-0 spurt to take a 15-11 lead. The Irish responded with a 4-1 streak to cut the Louisville lead to 16-15. Louisville eventually earned a 23-20 advantage, but a kill by Sydney Bent followed by three consecutive attack errors gave Notre Dame a 24-23 lead. Each team failed to cash in on a pair of match points en route to a 27-27 tie before a kill by Nunge and an attack error by Louisville notched a 29-27 win for the Irish. Notre Dame held the Cardinals to a .103 hit percentage in the frame.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the second stanza but three straight kills by Niego evened the score for the Irish. Notre Dame worked for a 17-15 advantage, and a pair of kills by Nunge spearheaded a 4-1 run to put the Irish up 21-16. Notre Dame stayed in control of the frame from there to earn a 25-20 win and a 2-0 lead.
The hosts earned the first five points of the third set and stayed in control of the frame to halve the Irish lead. A 4-1 Irish run cut Louisville’s lead to 21-16, but the Cardinals took four of the next five points to earn the 25-17 set win.
A trio of kills by Niego led the Irish to a 6-2 lead to open the fourth stanza. Louisville worked its way to a 12-12 tie after a 5-2 streak of its own. The Cardinals broke a 13-13 deadlock, and took control of the set, by earning six of the next seven points to go up 19-14. Back-to-back kills by Nunge and Niego cut the Cardinals’ lead to 23-20, but the hosts captured the next two points for the 25-20 victory.
The Cardinals pulled away from a 3-2 lead in the decisive frame by earning six of the next nine points. Trailing 12-8, the Irish earned the next three points to get within one, but Louisville collected three of the next four points to take the final set 15-12.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Nunge recorded season bests with 14 kills and a .565 hitting percentage. She has now reached double-digit kills in her past two contests after notching 12 against Duke last Sunday.
The Irish return home to take on Virginia Tech this Sunday at 12 p.m. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.