Sept. 21, 2002
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (9-3) ended up 2-1 against the Big Ten Conference in 2002. After defeating Northwestern on Sept. 13, then losing a bit of momentum with a mid-week loss at Purdue on Wednesday, the Irish came through with a four-game victory (30-22, 30-24, 23-30, 30-20) over Michigan (6-4) on Saturday evening. The Notre Dame home court winning streak also was pushed to 30 matches, as the Irish have not suffered a loss on the Joyce Center home court since Sept. 7, 2000.
Notre Dame utilized a strong ball control offense, with some exceptional passing, to overcome the Wolverines. Notre Dame hit an unspectacular .234 as a team, but in game two, when the Irish grabbed momentum in the match, they hit .324 as a team. Setter Kristen Kinder was her usual dependable self, contributing 39 assists, running all over the court for 11 digs and adding three blocks.
The top Irish offensive player ended up as Emily Loomis, who hit .406 with 15 kills, three aces, six digs and four blocks. Junior opposite Katie Neff was steady as well, with 13 kills and three blocks.
Neff also performed the best play of the game, stuffing a solo block on match point to end the Irish victory on a high note. The fourth game was actually tied at 16-16, but the Irish put together a strong run while junior Kim Fletcher served for eight consecutive points as Notre Dame pulled away. Fletcher provided more than just a serving boost for Notre Dame, coming off the bench to put up three kills, two aces and two digs.
Jennifer Gandolph led Michigan with 20 kills and 17 digs.
Next up for the Irish will be the BIG EAST season, which begins Friday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Joyce Center against Connecticut.