NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame (3-0) swept Northern Kentucky in the final match of the Golden Dome Invitational to earn the tournament crown. The Irish kept Northern Kentucky to a .045 hitting percentage, taking their third consecutive three-set sweep.
HOW IT HAPPENED
In the first set, early kills from Meg Morningstar and Charley Niego paced the Irish and commanded a quick lead over the Norse. At the first break in the action, the Irish led 12-8 with two kills from Jemma Yeadon and Meg Morningstar. Three fast kills from Rebecca Nunge opened up the Irish lead to 20-13 before taking the first set victory, 25-17.
Nunge’s block and kill gave the Irish consecutive points to start the second set. After falling behind to Northern Kentucky, the Irish tied the set at six apiece thanks to a service ace from freshman Sydney Bent. After a lengthy rally, the Irish claimed the momentum-turning point on a kill by Niego and a Hannah Thompson kill tied the set at 14. The Irish netted three consecutive points before Zoe Nunez’s service ace tied the set at 24 apiece. After trading points with the Norse, Yeadon dropped one in on Northern Kentucky to seal the 28-26 victory in the second set.
The Irish jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead on the Norse in the third set behind kills from Bent, Yeadon and Nunge. Quickly adding to the margin, the Irish confidently led 13-5 as Northern Kentucky called timeout. The Irish made quick work of Northern Kentucky in the third, limiting the Norse to a -.045 hitting percentage and winning the set, 25-14.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Zoe Nunez turned in her best performance of the weekend on Saturday evening, recording 32 assists and 15 digs for the first double-double of her career. The setter was also a force at the net defensively, adding five blocks to held the Irish win in straight-set fashion.
STAT OF THE MATCH
The Irish dominated the Norse at the net in the final match of the weekend, recording a season-high 13 blocks while the visitors managed just three. Thompson paced the Irish with seven blocks while Nunge and Morningstar each added six.
HEAD COACH MIKE JOHNSON’S TAKE
“The main message I wanted to send after was that I really liked the way we battled back. We were down 24-20 and [Northern Kentucky] thought they’d won the set. I’m really proud of Zoe [Nunez]. Zoe hit a good serve over and over again and pressured them defensively. To come back and win that and then take them out, 25-14, I like what it says about our character. I like what it says about our fight. I think it shows we believe and we’re starting to form the identity of a team that’s pretty tough.”
GOLDEN DOME INVITATIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
The Golden Dome Invitational’s All-Tournament team included three Irish — Zoe Nunez, Ryann DeJarld and MVP winner Jemma Yeadon. Northern Kentucky’s Haley Libs and Ashton Terrill were named to the team. Maurissa Leonard, a senior librero from Toledo, also made the all-tournament team. Weber State outside hitters Megan Gneiting and Andrea Hale rounded out the honors.
The Irish will wrap up their season-opening home stand by hosting the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Purcell Pavilion on Friday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased by visiting und.com/buytickets.
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