NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame volleyball team overcame a 2-1 deficit to earn a five-set victory over Louisville here tonight in its final home match of the 2018 season. The Irish claimed the first set 27-25 before Louisville took the next two frames by scores of 25-22 and 25-19. Notre Dame rallied with 25-19 and 15-11 victories to earn the win on Senior Night. With the victory, the Irish improve to 16-11 overall and 10-7 in ACC play.
Seniors Kelly Byrne, Ryann DeJarld, Meg Morningstar and Rebecca Nunge were all honored before their final home match of their Irish careers.
Freshman Sydney Bent led the Irish attack with 19 kills while classmate Charley Niego added 17 kills.
The Irish had four players record double-digit digs, including DeJarld with 26, sophomore Madison Cruzado with 15, Niego with 14 and Bent with 11 digs. Kristin Baer and Bent each notched seven blocks for the Irish while Morningstar added six blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After the teams opened the match with a 6-6 tie, a 5-0 run by the Irish gave the hosts an 11-6 lead and forced a Louisville timeout. The Cardinals worked to eventually cut Notre Dame’s lead to 16-14 before a 3-1 spurt by the Irish made it a 19-15 score. Louisville earned five of the next seven points to get within one and force a Notre Dame timeout. A kill by Niego gave the Irish a 23-20 lead, but Louisville answered with a 4-1 streak to even the score at 24-24. Niego’s team-high sixth kill of the set, followed by a block by Morningstar, clinched the 27-25 victory for the Irish in the first frame.
The Irish rebounded from an early 4-1 deficit to knot the score at 5-5. The sides remained close until a 6-1 streak by Louisville put the visitors ahead 14-11. The Irish got within one point on two occasions, including at 22-21, but the Cardinals closed the set with a 3-1 spurt to win 25-23 and even the score.
The momentum stayed with the Cardinals as they opened the third stanza with a 6-3 advantage. After Louisville took an 11-8 lead, the Irish answered with a 4-0 run to go up 12-11 and force a Cardinals’ timeout. Louisville responded by taking four of the next five points to regain a 15-13 lead. A kill by Niego got the Irish within one at 17-16, but the Cardinals took control of the frame with a 6-1 streak to extend their advantage to 23-17. Back-to-back kills by Bent put the Irish within four before Louisville claimed back-to-back points to earn the 25-19 win and take a 2-1 lead.
A pair of kills by Morningstar helped Notre Dame claim a 9-3 lead to open the fourth frame. The Cardinals took a pair of points before the Irish claimed five straight to open up a 14-5 advantage. That cushion was enough to propel Notre Dame to a 25-16 victory in the fourth and set up a decisive fifth set. Nunge paced the Irish with five kills in the frame.
A 7-0 Irish run was the difference as Notre Dame claimed a 15-11 victory in the fifth set for the win. With the score tied 3-3, the Irish claimed seven consecutive points to take control of the frame. After Louisville earned two straight points to cut the Irish lead to 14-11, Bent’s 19th kill of the night clinched the match point for Notre Dame.
The Irish close out the 2018 regular season on Wednesday (Nov. 21) on the road against Duke. First serve in Durham is set for 2 p.m. and the match will be streamed live via ACC Network Extra.