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ND Volleyball: Fallen sets

Michael Todisco | Monday, August 30, 2010

The Irish jumpstarted their season this weekend with two wins and a loss at the Shamrock Invitational at the Purcell Pavilion.

The team took down Marshall Friday and Cal Poly Saturday but fell short to No. 18 Arizona Sunday to close the weekend.

“Although we wanted to play better against Arizona, the team was able to do some really good things this weekend,” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “We were able to see how the team gelled, as well as see how some freshmen would perform.”

Notre Dame fell to the Wildcats in three sets (25-15, 25-18, 25-20) to move both teams to 2-1.

Freshman outside hitter Andrea McHugh started her Irish career with a bang as she led the team with 12 kills against Arizona for an average 3.08 kills/set and 3.17 digs/set across the weekend. McHugh also recorded Notre Dame’s solo ace against Arizona.

“Andrea is an outstanding all around player,” Brown said. “She led the team defensively all weekend and was one of our top hitters.”

Senior middle hitter Kelly Sciacca gave an impressive performance throughout the weekend, making a team-high 48 kills, with a career-high 21 kills and .645 hitting percentage coming against Marshall.

Junior outside hitter Kristen Dealy pulled through for her team Saturday to secure the victory over Cal Poly, making three straight kills in the fifth and final set to close the game. Dealy led the team with 19 kills and 14 digs in the match.

Freshman setter Sammie Brown stepped up on the court and facilitated the attack for the Irish all weekend, making 129 assists over the three games.

“Sammie played a big part in our success this weekend, especially with solid sets to Kelly [Scaccia] and the other hitters,” Brown said. “For a freshman, this was very impressive.”

The busy weekend commenced Friday with the opening match against Marshall. After dropping the first set, the Irish asserted their dominance, thoroughly controlling the next three sets en route to a 3-1 victory.

The Irish continued their winning streak Saturday, defeating Cal Poly 3-2, taking Notre Dame all five games to pull out the win, including the last set heroics by Dealy.

Despite a closing loss, Brown said this weekend set the way for a successful season for the Irish.

“It was nice to pass from the preseason practices into games and get some ideas of our strengths and weaknesses,” Brown said. “Overall, I was pleased with what a great team effort it was.”

Notre Dame will travel to Reno this week to take on Belmont, Weber State and Nevada in the Nevada Invitational September 3-4.