Sept. 7, 2002
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (4-2) ended up with a split on Saturday at the Loyola Marymount Volleyball Classic. The Irish began the day with a three-game loss to Colorado (30-25, 30-24, 30-26), but came back to finish off Saint Louis in three games (30-25, 30-13, 30-19) in the nightcap. The road trip will continue for Notre Dame at Valparaiso on Tuesday.
After two slow matches on offense, Notre Dame overwhelmed Saint Louis on offense with a spectacular .430 team hitting percentage in the sweep. Led by Emily Loomis with 15 kills on .556 hitting, the Irish committed just eight attack errors on 93 swings to secure the win. Junior Katie Neff finished off a solid tournament, scoring 11 kills on 17 swings and had four blocks (two solo).
Kristen Kinder helped lead the Irish to the outstanding offensive effort with 33 assists, five digs and three blocks and landed on the LMU Classic all-tournament team. It is the second-consecutive all-tournament selection for the junior setter, who was named the Shamrock Invitational MVP last weekend at home.
Earlier in the day, Notre Dame’s three-game setback to Colorado came on the heels of a four-game loss to Loyola Marymount to begin the tournament on Friday night. Colorado was able to hit a high percentage against the Irish, knocking down 47 kills on 106 swings (.274 hitting) and was finally able to get past Notre Dame’s defense at the net. Colorado is the first team in 2002 against which the Irish could post over 10 team blocks. Meghan Barkman and Monique Gerlach led Colorado with 12 and 13 kills, respectively, while Notre Dame’s front line was able to block just four shots.
Two of those blocks came from junior Kim Fletcher, who was seeing her first significant action of the season. Fletcher led the Irish on offense as well against the Buffaloes, scoring 10 kills on .333 hitting. Notre Dame’s entire offense, however, ended up with just a .180 hitting mark. Jessica Kinder added seven kills and 11 digs (just missing out on her second consecutive double-double) and Kristen Kinder added five kills, 31 assists, three digs and a solo block.
With Irish head coach Debbie Brown mixing in a few different looks for Colorado, a number of Notre Dame players saw an increase in playing time against the Buffaloes. Freshman outside hitter Meg Henican had two kills, two assists and seven digs in three games and 15 of Notre Dame’s 16 players appeared in the match.
Notre Dame’s match at Valparaiso on Tuesday wraps up the road trip. The Irish will be in action hosting the Golden Dome Invitational on Friday, Sept. 13 against Northwestern at 4 p.m., just before the Notre Dame-Michigan football pep rally.