Oct. 29, 2002
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team moved to 18-5 on the season with a hard-fought four-game victory (18-30, 30-19, 30-22, 30-28) at Illinois State (10-11) on Tuesday evening.
Lauren Kelbley led four Irish hitters in double-digit kills with 15 on .462 hitting, while Jessica Kinder had a great match, posting a double-double with 12 kills, 16 digs, three aces and two blocks.
The Irish had a tough time finding their groove early in game one, as the host team came out focused on building a strong lead. Five Redbird kills, coupled with two Notre Dame attack errors provided Illinois State with a 12-8 lead and Debbie Brown burned a timeout to get her team settled down.
The Redbird momentum was too much to overcome. Illinois State exploded for an 11-2 run to close out game one 30-18. Seven kills, a block and an ace composed the bulk of the run.
Notre Dame started to get their entire game back together in game two. The Irish passing improved and the offense started to click. Emily Loomis contributed three kills and ace, while Jessica Kinder’s jump serve provided two aces during a 10-4 run to build a 20-12 lead.
Illinois State could draw no closer than seven points the rest of the game, as Notre Dame evened up the match with a 30-18 victory. The Irish defense at the net finally started to effect the Redbird hitting as the hitting numbers reversed themselves in game two. ISU went from a .436 team hitting percentage in game one to a .089 mark in game two. The Irish, on the other hand, improved from a .093 number in game one to .310 in game two.
The Irish came back with the momentum in game three and kept the pressure on, building a 15-8 lead. The team hitting numbers followed the pattern from game two, as the Irish ended up with a .458 mark while ISU managed just .241. The Redbirds also began to struggle with their serve, handing the Irish eight points on eight service errors in game three. A 30-22 Irish victory left Notre Dame just one game away from a come-from-behind four-game victory.
Illinois State would not let the Irish off that easy. Game four turned into a battle, as neither team was able to enjoy more than a three point lead. Three Kelbley kills kept Notre Dame with the Redbirds early in the game, while Jessica Kinder continued to chalk up digs and key kills from the Irish backcourt.
ISU was right there, however, and Jennifer Kabbes contributed a kill and an ace to give the home team an 18-17 lead that quickly turned into a 20-18 advantage. The Irish climbed back to cut the lead to 23-22 and then kicked into over drive to seize control of the game. Jessica Kinder perfectly place a roll shot into the middle of the Redbird defense and Kelbley followed up with two consecutive kills. After Kelbley and Kristen Kinder blocked the next attack, Notre Dame was suddenly up 25-23 and ISU called a timeout.
The Redbirds came back with two kills and a solo block to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 27-26 and the drama continued to build, but an ISU service error broke their momentum. Katie Neff put away a kill to end the game and hand Notre Dame their third-straight four-game match.