Nov. 9, 2002
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (21-5, 11-0), keyed by its strong defense at the net and accurate hitting, earned a 3-0 victory (30-26, 30-21, 30-26) at Syracuse (19-10, 5-6) on Saturday afternoon.
Notre Dame entered the match ranked second in the country in team blocks and used their expertise at the net to post 16 team blocks, led by its two talented freshman middle blockers. Lauren Brewster, ranked fifth in the country in block average, had six blocks while classmate Lauren Kelbley put up five blocks. Kelbley also had 10 kills on .643 hitting.
The strong Irish effort at the net kept the Syracuse offense to a .143 hitting percentage, though SU’s Kristen Conway and Morgan Jones were able to score a match-high 15 kills each. Notre Dame, on the other hand, hit over .300 for their third consecutive match (.333 vs. Syracuse) while setter Kristen Kinder had 39 assists, eight digs and three blocks.
Many of Kristen Kinder’s sets went to junior opposite Katie Neff, who led the team in kills with 13 on 29 swings. Neff also had four blocks, including two solo.
Behind the Notre Dame block at the net, junior outside hitter Jessica Kinder and senior libero Keara Coughlin both had 10 digs.
The Irish return home late Saturday night to begin preparation for possibly its most important road trip of the season next weekend. Notre Dame will face Miami, which has three losses in the BIG EAST Conference after dropping a five-game match to Pittsburgh on Friday, then travel to Virginia Tech, which currently sits in second place in the conference standings with two losses. Depending on what happens in conference action on Sunday, the Irish might have already assured themselves a spot in the BIG EAST Championship (the top four teams in the conference standings will make the trip to Pittsburgh, Pa., for the tournament on Nov. 23), but the regular-season title will be determined next weekend. Notre Dame will face Miami on Friday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. and Virginia Tech on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m..