Sept. 18, 2015
Box Score – South Dakota
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Day one for the University of Notre Dame volleyball team at the Purdue Boiler Box Challenge began with a dominating sweep of Ball State but ended with a disappointing five-set loss to South Dakota after the Irish failed to maintain the momentum they gathered from winning the fourth frame.
The Irish beat Ball State, 25-16, 25-18, 25-19, and lost to South Dakota, 25-23, 20-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-6.
Impressive play at the net that featured a .313 attack percentage on offense and 7.5 blocks on defense powered the Irish past the Cardinals in match one. Junior Sam Fry tallied 10 kills (.562 A%) and five blocks to help lead her squad to victory.
In the night cap, South Dakota pounded home 64 kills and hit .360 – including .647 in the decisive fifth set – to hold off a late Notre Dame charge that saw the Irish overcome a 2-1 deficit in the match to force the fifth frame.
Fry had another big match with 18 kills (.361 A%) and two blocks to finish the day with 28 kills (.423 A%) and seven blocks, both team highs.
Notre Dame (5-6) closes out its non-conference regular season schedule at 8 p.m. (ET) Saturday, as the Irish meet No. 22 Purdue inside Mackey Arena. Fans can follow the contest through a free Purdue online audio stream, free live stats or a paid video stream. Links for all three are available on the volleyball schedule page on UND.com.
MATCH 1: Notre Dame 3, Ball State 0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-19)
Behind 10 kills and five blocks from sophomore middle blocker Sam Fry, the Irish picked up their second sweep in the last three matches Friday afternoon with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-19) blanking of in-state foe Ball State.
Notre Dame controlled the match from beginning to end against the Cardinals, as the contest featured just eight ties and no lead changes.
Ball State hit in the negatives through the first two sets (-.080 & .000) before finishing with 14 kills and five errors in the third frame to close out the match with a .079 attack percentage. The total was the lowest by an Irish opponent since Loyola-Chicago hit .078 September 13, 2013.
Meanwhile, the Irish attacked at a season-high .313 clip behind 10 kills from Fry (.562 A%), eight from Sydney Kuhn (.333 A%) and seven from freshman Meg Morningstar (.333 A%). The .313 attack percentage was the highest by the Irish since hitting .331 against Northern Iowa September 13, 2014.
Kuhn added seven digs to tie for team-high honors, while Fry posted a team-best five blocks.
Fry reached double digits in kills for the fifth time in 10 matches this season and totaled at least five blocks for the third time in the last five contests.
In the first set the Irish jumped out to a 7-1 lead and cruised all the way through, holding a 10-point advantage at 17-7 and an 11-point edge at 23-12 and 24-13. A service error by Ball State gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the match. The Cardinals hit -.080 for the opening set, posting eight kills to 10 errors.
Set two saw the Irish hit .290 and pound home 13 kills. Ball State again struggled at the net with eight kills and eight errors to hit .000. Notre Dame held an early 7-2 advantage but saw the lead quickly disappear as Ball State tied the frame at 10. From there the two teams went back and forth before the Irish closed out the frame on a 9-2 run after the set was tied at 16.
While Ball State improved on offense in set three (14K, .273 A%), the Irish were nearly perfect on their end, hitting .419 and posting 14 kills to just one error. Senior Haley Bonneval had four of her six kills in the final frame, while Morningstar and fellow freshman Rebecca Nunge each had three.
The Irish held a 17-9 lead when Ball State called its first timeout of the set and a 22-16 advantage when the Cardinals burned their second. A few points later Morningstar finished the match with a kill.
Notre Dame improved to 4-2 all-time against Ball State after not playing each other in almost 20 years (1996). The last Irish win in the series before Friday came in 1993.
MATCH 2: South Dakota 3, Notre Dame 2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-6)
Notre Dame’s play at the net that was so impressive in match one didn’t fair as well against South Dakota, as the Irish hit .219 to .360 for South Dakota, as the Coyotes pounded home a whopping 64 kills.
On defense, South Dakota had nine blocks to six for Notre Dame.
The effort on offense and defense by the Coyotes helped offset 15 service errors.
A tight match throughout, South Dakota quickly killed any Irish momentum that was gathered in a 25-19 victory in the fourth set by jumping out to a 6-0 lead to start the fifth frame that eventually became an 8-1 advantage at the side change.
Notre Dame got no closer than six points the rest of the way, as the Coyotes pounded home kill after kill to the tune of 12 in the final set alone to hit .647.
Six Coyote players tallied six or more kills, with five of them hitting .333 or better. Rachel Schmidt (15K, .522 A%), Brittany Jessen (9K, .692 A%), Lindsey Brown (7K, .462 A%), Kelsey Biltoft (6K, .375 A%) and Sydney Dimke (15K, .333 A%) were particularly efficient.
Jessen finished one kill shy of completing an impressive triple-double, as she totaled 47 assists, 12 digs and three service aces to go along with her nine kills.
Audrey Reeg tallied a double-double with 12 digs and five assists to go along with her 11 kills. Biltoft and Dimke led the Coyotes at the net with eight and six blocks, respectively.
For Notre Dame, Fry had another outstanding match with 18 kills (.361 A%), while setter Maddie Dilfer tallied her second double-double of the season with 47 assists, 10 digs, three blocks and two service aces. Freshman Meg Morningstar had six kills (.333 A%) and four blocks and sophomore Maddie Plumlee set career standards with six kills and a .400 attack percentage. Kuhn had 11 kills, nine digs and two service aces.
The Irish hit .345 and .382, respectively, in their two set wins, but attacked well below .200 (.125, .161 & .000) in the three set losses.
–Russell Dorn, Athletics Communications Assistant Director