ND Volleyball: Win nets 21st winning season in row
Joe Meixell | Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Notre Dame capped off its season with a 3-1 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville on Friday, securing their 21st consecutive winning season.
“Everyone played really well in our match against Tennessee, and we had control
the whole time. Everyone was playing their best in the last match of the
season, and that is what we have been working for,” sophomore outside hitter Megan Fesl said.
Notre Dame (15-13) controlled the match, dominating in three of the four games (30-21, 30-20, 23-30, 30-19). The Irish jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in both of the first two games. The Irish never looked back from their quick starts, leading by as many as eight or nine points in each of the matches.
After the break, Tennessee turned the tables. The Vols took an early three point lead and stretched the margin to 10 late in the stanza. The third game would be the only strong point for Tennessee, however.
Coming off the defeat, the Irish regained the prowess that they had in games one and two. They were up by 10 late in game four and held on to win by converting 18 kills and seven blocks.
“I think the biggest strength that stood out was our serve-receive,” senior captain Adrianna Stasiuk said. “They were out of system quite a bit, which made it easier for us. I think we really perfected a lot of really important skills. Blocking, passing, attacking – and we became really close on the court and off. We had outstanding team chemistry that is hard to find. We also learned about some lesser-known volleyball skills, such as the all-important backwards bump surprise.”
Notre Dame finished the match with a .316 hitting percentage. Junior middle blocker Justine Stremick and Stasiuk paced the Irish attack with 16 kills each. Sophomore outside hitter Megan Fesl also finished strong with 14 total kills, while sophomore outside hitter Serinity Phillips had 10. Senior setter Ashley Tarutis led the team in both assists (56) and digs (13).
The Volunteers (11-18) were led by senior outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova and freshman outside hitter Nikki Fowler. Stoyanova had 20 kills and six digs, while Fowler notched 16 to go along with 11 assists and seven digs.
Despite the win, Notre Dame didn’t earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. This marks the first time since 1991 that the Irish won’t have a shot at the national title.
“Although we all really wanted to make it to the NCAA Tournament, it is really good that we made the most of our situation and finished our season strongly,” Fesl said. “I’m certain that it is everyone’s goal for next season to not let this happen again. We need to be sure that next year our team is in a position for winning a Big East championship and success in the NCAA Tournament.”
uThe Irish ended their regular season on a five-game winning streak.
uThe team leaders for the season are as follows: kills – Stasiuk (361), hitting percentage – freshman middle blocker Kellie Sciacca (.343), assists – Tarutis (1178), service aces – Stasiuk (33), digs – Stasiuk (377) and blocks – Stremick (162).