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ND Volleyball: Irish drop opener for first time in 17 years

Pat O'Brien | Thursday, August 30, 2007

Notre Dame’s year began on a sour note for the first time in a decade.The Irish lost a 3-0 (30-16, 30-28, 30-28) decision to No. 9 Minnesota in their season opener Aug. 24 in the Joyce Center, then dropped a 3-1 match to No. 7 Florida two days later. The loss against the Golden Gophers marked the first time since 1990 that the Irish fell in a season opener. It is also the first defeat in a home opener for head coach Debbie Brown. Sophomore Megan Fesl led the Irish with 11 kills. Senior Ashley Tarutis tallied a team-high 16 assists, while sophomore Jamel Nicholas added 13 helpers. Senior Adrianna Stasiuk had 10 digs along with nine kills.Three players aided Minnesota (1-0) with double-digit kills. In her freshman debut, Brook Dieter had 18 kills and 14 digs. Junior Kyla Roehrig was also impressive at the net, tallying 17 kills, while senior Jessy Jones added 13 kills and four blocks.

Florida 3, Notre Dame 1While the Irish felt they played better Aug. 26 against the Gators, the result was the same. Notre Dame endured a frustrating home loss to a top team, this time by a 3-1 (30-25, 30-24, 30-32, 30-23) ledger. “We came out more prepared against Florida,” freshman middle blocker Kellie Sciacca said. “I felt more comfortable getting the first match [against Minnesota] out of the way.”Notre Dame (0-2) had four players score double-digit kills in the loss.Fesl had 11 digs and 11 kills, while both Stasiuk and sophomore Serinity Phillips tied for a team-high 14 kills. Stasiuk also added 12 digs. Freshman Kellie Sciacca got into the fold as well with 12 kills, improving on her six from the Minnesota match. The Gators (2-0) were led by senior Angie McGinnis’ 59 assists and senior Marcie Hampton’s 20 kills. Sophomore Elyse Cusack led the match with 25 digs while senior Amber McCray helped with 16 kills.The Irish are set to play two games this weekend at the Tiger Invitational in Columbia, Mo. Notre Dame takes on No. 20 Missouri Aug. 31 and Florida International Sept. 1.”We need to stabilize our fundamental skills and play with a strong desire,” Fesl said of the upcoming match against Missouri. “We will be able to bounce back easily. [The first two games] were a good test of character.” Sciacca agreed.”We talked about keeping our energy high [against Missouri],” she said.