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ND Women’s Volleyball: Team gets 2 wins in tournament

Chris Khorey | Monday, September 4, 2006

Notre Dame coach Debbie Brown knows her young team has a lot to learn.

That became even more apparent this weekend as the No. 21 Irish went 2-2 at the Shamrock Invitational Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Joyce Center.

“We learned so much this weekend, and it’s going to make us a better team,” Brown said of her squad, almost half of which is freshmen.

Notre Dame (4-2) beat unranked opponents Valparaiso and Idaho, but was swept by No. 6 Santa Clara and lost a heartbreaking 5-game match to No. 13 Missouri.

“It’s very important to play good competition like we have this weekend,” Brown said. “There’s a lot that we have to do [to get to their level]. It’s going to take a little while, but we’re going to get there.”

Santa Clara 3,

Notre Dame 0

No. 6 Santa Clara swept Notre Dame Sunday behind 28 combined kills by sophomore Brittany Lowe and junior Annalisa Muratore.

The Broncos jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in game one and, after Notre Dame rallied to tie the score at six, went on an 11-2 run and coasted to the game victory.

Santa Clara got off to a similarly fast start in game two, taking a 5-2 lead. Notre Dame battled back, but never managed to tie the score and lost 30-23.

Game three saw the Broncos jump out to yet another early lead, this time 8-4. The Irish got within three at 21-18, but would never be that close again as Santa Clara took the game 30-23.

Missouri 3, Notre Dame 2

Notre Dame suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, a grueling 3-2 defeat to No .13 Missouri.

The Irish took a back-and-forth first game 30-28, with Notre Dame freshman Christina Kaelin providing the final point with a kill after the Tigers had pulled within one.

Missouri took game two by the same score, scoring four straight points – three on attack errors by Notre Dame – after falling behind 28-26.

In game three, the two teams traded points until the Irish scored six straight points on freshman Jamel Nicholas’ service to take a 13-8 lead and held off a late Tiger run to win the game 30-27.

Game four was deadlocked at 12-12 when Missouri stretched their lead to 18-13 behind senior Nicole Wilson’s service. The Irish made a run, but the Tigers held on for a 30-27 game victory.

“Some of our decision making wasn’t as good as it could have been, and we got ourselves in a hole,” Brown said.

In the fifth and deciding 15-point game, Notre Dame trailed 14-13 and was serving, but Missouri senior Jessica VanderKooi recorded her 30th kill of the match to give the Tigers the victory.

Notre Dame 3, Idaho 1

The Irish won the first two games against Idaho Saturday afternoon and then recovered after blowing a lead in game three to beat the Vandals 3-1.

The Irish took game one 30-21, jumping out to a 12-4 lead and never looking back. Junior Adriana Stasiuk tallied four kills in the game.

The Vandals kept game two closer, trading points with Notre Dame before the Irish finally pulled away behind three straight points from junior Danielle Herndon’s service and took the game 30-25.

Idaho recovered from an 11-6 deficit in game three, tying the game at 20 on a kill by sophomore Haley Larson and holding off the Irish for a 30-27 game victory.

Notre Dame reasserted control of the match in the fourth game, scoring seven straight points behind Herndon’s service and coasting to a 30-15 win.

Notre Dame 3, Valparaiso 1

Led by 21 kills from Kaelin, Notre Dame beat Valparaiso 3-1 Friday in the first match of the Shamrock Invitational for the Irish.

Notre Dame won the first game 30-25, jumping out to a 10-3 lead before the Crusaders stormed back to within five at 21-17. The two teams went back and forth until Irish freshman Megan Fesl recorded two straight kills to give Notre Dame the win in game one.

Valpo recovered from a three-point deficit to take the second game of the match, 30-27. After three straight kills by Kaelin put the Irish up 18-15, the Crusaders stormed back, taking the lead 27-26 on two straight aces by sophomore Brittany Marks and cruising to the victory from there.

Notre Dame found itself trailing 28-23 in the third game and in serious danger of falling behind 2-1, but the Irish rallied, using three straight kills from sophomore Justine Stremick and an error by the Crusaders to cut the lead to just one. Valpo junior Sara Hughes put her team back up by two, but a kill by Kaelin and another Crusader error tied the score at 29. The Irish won the next two points to finish off the game and take a 2-1.

After surrendering the lead, the Crusaders were momentarily shell-shocked, falling behind 10-3 early in game four. They fought back to tie it at 14, only to watch the Irish run away again and take the game 30-22 and the match 3-1.