Nov. 23, 2001
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team began the University of Florida Conference Challenge in Buena Vista, Fla., in impressive fashion Friday afternoon, sweeping SEC opponent LSU 3-0 (30-24, 30-15, 30-25) in the first of two matches in the tournament for the Irish. Notre Dame (22-5) will face #7 Florida to cap the weekend at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24. The Tigers fall to 15-11 on the season.
It was a balanced offensive attack for the Irish against the Tigers, as five players scored over six kills in the match. Emily Loomis and Malinda Goralski led the team with nine (Goralski on .615 hitting), while Kristy Kreher and Kim Fletcher had eight and Jessica Kinder seven.
Game one was a back-and-forth affair until the Irish were able to sneak ahead to a four-point lead at 15-11. LSU came back behind a kill and solo block from Meagan Davis, coupled with two Irish errors to tie up the game at 16-16.
Notre Dame surged back ahead behind a Kreher ace, Jessica Kinder kill and a Tiger attack error to build a two-point lead. The cushion would not last long, though. LSU’s Jennifer Hampton scored two consecutive aces after a kill to propel her team to a two-point lead at 22-20.
A tip kill from Fletcher, followed by a solid kill down the middle from the sophomore middle put Notre Dame back on track. Christa Moen followed with an ace as the Irish began to pull away. Notre Dame would end up outscoring LSU 10-2 to close out a 30-24 game one victory. Goralski contributed two kills down the stretch, along with a kill and ace from Kristen Kinder. Fittingly, Emily Loomis, who started the game with a kill, ended it with a shot down the line to score Notre Dame’s 30th point.
LSU scored two quick points to build a 2-0 lead in game two, but it would be the last lead the Tigers would enjoy for the entire game. The Irish offense was finally hitting on all cylinders, and the defense at the net started to wake up as well. Goralski posted two kills and a block assist with Kreher, coupled with two kills from Jessica Kinder to compile a 9-3 run to give the Irish a 9-5 lead.
The Tigers would struggle with their hitting throughout game two, but the Irish were also serving effectively to keep the LSU offense off balance. Jessica Kinder jump-served for eight consecutive Irish points in the game, forcing two LSU attack errors and two ball handling errors. By the time the Irish scoring streak ended, Notre Dame had a 16-8 lead that would continue to build throughout the game.
Two consecutive aces by Janie Alderete provided the Irish with game point, and a block by Kreher and Katie Neff on the next Tiger attack ended the contest 30-15 and put the Irish up 2-0 in the match.
Both teams came out playing well in game three, as neither the Irish nor the Tigers were able to build more than a two-point lead. With Notre Dame ahead 12-10, LSU put together a four point burst – keyed by two blocks and a kill by Lyndsey Benson – to streak ahead 14-12.
After a timeout, Notre Dame began its rally. A Tiger attack error ended their mini-run, then Fletcher scorched a kill down the middle of the defense to tie up the game. Finally, two consecutive Loomis kills and an ace from Jessica Kinder put Notre Dame up four at 20-16.
Notre Dame would hold that lead for the remainder of the game and the match. Kreher, Goralski and Fletcher all had two kills for the Irish down the stretch, and Jessica Kinder ended the game with two consecutive jump serve aces for a 30-25 victory.
GAME NOTES: Jessica Kinder and Janie Alderete served exceptionally well in the match, both recording four aces … Notre Dame posted 14 aces as a team … Kinder and Alderete also led the team in digs with six a piece … LSU’s Kyra Lancon led all players with 10 kills in the match … Notre Dame held LSU to a .090 hitting percentage – while the Irish hit .345 in the match and .692 in game two alone.