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Team breaks three-game losing streak in D.C.

Devin Preston | Monday, November 6, 2006

The losing is over, as Notre Dame snapped its three-game skid this weekend with two wins over Big East opponents.

Switching to a 5-1 offense, the Irish (15-10) swept Georgetown (8-17, 2-10 Big East) and South Florida (12-13, 7-5 Big East) to advance their conference record to 9-3.

“It was a really good weekend for us,” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “We felt like we played just a good level of volleyball the entire weekend. It was good to get our feet back under us after last weekend.”

Led by the offensive efforts of sophomores Mallorie Croal and Justine Stremick, the Irish turned around their momentum and got in the winning column.

Notre Dame 3, Georgetown 0

Croal led the Irish attack with 13 kills at a hitting percentage of .417 as Notre Dame took the match 30-21, 30-21, 30-14 over Georgetown.

On the Hoya side, sophomore Jessica Buffum led with 11 kills, though only mustering a hitting percentage of .200. As a team, Notre Dame out-hit Georgetown .356 to .121.

After two relatively close games, the Irish ran right over the Hoyas in the decisive third game.

Georgetown did not score more than two consecutive points throughout the game, and Notre Dame put together runs as high as six unanswered points.

The Irish scored four consecutive points to close the match on an ace from senior Danielle Herndon.

“This weekend, there wasn’t really any glaring weaknesses,” Brown said. “It was a good solid effort all around.”

Notre Dame 3, South Florida 0

After making quick work of one of the less successful teams in the Big East, Notre Dame topped a newcomer to the conference in its 30-14, 30-19, 30-19 defeat of South Florida.

Even though the Irish had played against the Bulls only once before, Brown said they were well prepared for their Sunday matchup.

“I think we were in a really good place, mentally and physically,” Brown said. “South Florida is a strong team. I thought we just stepped up to the challenge each time. I don’t think we had any big weaknesses or drawbacks from the weekend. We played solid and steady each and every point.”

Notre Dame came on strong against South Florida early in the third game with a kill from freshman Serenity Phillips, beginning a five-point run that gave Notre Dame a 14-5 lead.

Croal and Stremick led the offense again, tallying 15 kills apiece in the win. Croal stepped up to score the team’s last three points, sealing the victory with two kills and a block.