NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A valiant comeback by the Notre Dame volleyball team fell just short as the Irish fell to Duke, 3-2, to move to 10-6 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. The Blue Devils took the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 28-26 before the Irish stormed back with 25-19 and 25-17 victories. The Blue Devils earned a 15-12 win in the final set to come out victorious.
Freshman Charley Niego led the Irish attack with 15 kills while junior Jemma Yeadon added 14 and senior Rebecca Nunge collected 12. Zoe Nunez racked up 46 assists in the five sets of play.
Senior Ryann DeJarld paced the Notre Dame defense with 22 kills. Niego and Nunez each posted 10 kills.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame jumped out to a 12-7 advantage before the Blue Devils responded with a four-point streak to get within one. The two sides remained close until Duke broke a 17-17 deadlock with a 5-1 run to grab control of the frame. A kill by Nunge got the Irish within two at 23-21, but Duke recorded the next two points to take the first set, 25-21.
In a thrilling second stanza that included 11 ties, Duke scratched out a 28-26 victory to take a two-set lead. After the teams battled to an 8-8 tie to open the set, the Blue Devils rattled off three straight points to make it 11-8. Duke maintained the lead until a 4-0 run by the Irish evened the score at 19-19. Notre Dame equalized on three different set-point opportunities by the Blue Devils before Duke eventually clinched the 28-26 win.
Trailing 14-13 in the third set, the Irish went on a 7-0 run to earn a 20-14 advantage to control the stanza. Niego lead the Notre Dame attack during the streak, recording three of her team-high 15 kills in that stretch. A kill by Nunge sealed the 25-19 win for Notre Dame and forced a fourth set.
Notre Dame led from start to finish in the fourth set to clinch a 25-17 win and force a decisive fifth set. Four kills by Yeadon helped the Irish earn a 14-9 advantage in the frame. After the 3-1 Duke spurt cut the Irish lead to 21-17, Notre Dame rattled off four straight points to earn the set win.
A back and forth final set led the Irish and Blue Devils to a 10-10 tie. After a kill by Meg Morningstar gave Notre Dame an 11-10 lead, Duke finished the contest on a 5-1 run to take the final set and earn a road victory.
The Irish return to action when they travel to Louisville and take on the No. 25 Cardinals on Wednesday at 7 p.m. That contest will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.