Nov. 1, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The sixth BIG EAST Conference sweep of the season for the Notre Dame volleyball team came Sunday against Rutgers as the Irish sent the Scarlet Knights home with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-23) defeat at the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
It was the 17th consecutive win over Rutgers (9-16 overall, 2-8 BIG EAST) and the 100th win for Notre Dame on its home floor against league opponents. The Irish are now 100-7 (.935) in their home confine against conference foes.
The victory gave Notre Dame (16-4) another feather in its cap as the Irish have now registered 10 or more BIG EAST regular-season wins for the 11th time since joining the league in 1995. Notre Dame has won each of its 10 BIG EAST matches in 2009. The team’s last loss came Sept. 20 at Florida State.
The Irish now hit the road with upcoming matches at Marquette (Nov. 6) and Syracuse (Nov. 8).
“As a team, we did a nice job today and adjusted well with a different lineup on the floor for each set,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “It was important for us to get everyone involved and a lot of our younger players got some significant time and made key contributions.
“We have a tough road trip coming up and getting everyone playing time today will help us next week.”
Freshman Hilary Eppink came off the bench with four kills and four blocks.
The Irish hit .271 while holding Rutgers to a .152 average. Senior setter Jamel Nicholas’ 31 assists were dished around to 10 different players who recorded kills.
Notre Dame held Rutgers without a service ace.
The Irish were also able to limit the Scarlet Knights to a .026 average in the second set, forcing the visitors to hit 16 errors heading into intermission. Notre Dame had just six mishaps on the swinging side through two sets.
Kaelin had five kills in the first and Phillips connected on four more. Notre Dame took a 7-2 lead and never looked back. In fact, the first tied score of the match came at 1-1 in the second stanza prior to the Irish stretching ahead to an 18-10 lead.
Ten Irish players had at least one kill through the first two sets of action.
Notre Dame did not trail until the third period (4-5), courtesy of an Irish service error. But a Rutgers error on the next play gave the point right back. Junior libero Angela Puente made it hurt with an ace on the ensuing possession, and after a 7-7 tie the Irish scored three straight and kept the lead for the remainder of the match.
Puente had each of Notre Dame’s two aces.
Rutgers received a match-high 15 kills from Caitlin Saxton and Jamie Godfrey led all players with 16 digs. The Scarlet Knights had 51 digs, bettering Notre Dame’s total of 38. However, the Irish totaled seven more kills than Rutgers (38) on 118 attempts.