ND Volleyball: Notre Dame falls to Duke in ACC home opener
Katie Heit | Thursday, October 3, 2013
After getting out to a quick start and winning the first set, the Irish struggled against a powerhouse Duke squad and dropped three straight sets to fall 3-1 to the Blue Devils.
Notre Dame (6-9, 0-3 ACC) dominated the opening set, starting out ahead and never letting Duke (12-2, 3-0 ACC) catch up, finishing the first set 25-18 on a spike from junior outside hitter Toni Alugbue.
After the first set, however, the Irish momentum fell by the wayside. Irish coach Debbie Brown said she saw not only a loss of momentum in the final three sets but a struggle with the serving game.
“In game one, we put tremendous pressure on them with our serving,” Brown said. “We got very tentative with our serving after that and allowed them to move in.”
In the second set, the Irish started to see their momentum drop. They got off to a quick 4-1 start and kept a lead of three points or more until 17-15. The Blue Devils moved closer and closer, finally tying the game at 21. The Irish were unable to hold off the Duke attack and dropped the set 25-22.
In the third set, the Irish fell behind early and struggled to catch up. They tied the game at 19 to begin a rally they failed to finish. With the game at 24-23, the Irish missed game point on a serving error and the Blue Devils capitalized on the opportunity, coming back to win the game 26-24.
“We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” Brown said. “We had game point on game three. When you go up 2-1, instead of down 1-2, it’s a different game. We never got it back after game one, and that was pretty disappointing.”
The Irish never came back from close loss in the third game. In their final game of the match, they fell behind early and were unable to keep up with the Blue Devil offense.
Brown said she saw a big problem with the Irish defense.
“We got out-dug,” Brown said. “We had a lot of balls we could have dug or should have dug. Some balls where it was just sticking an arm out. [Defense] keeps rallies going and keeps strings of points going.”
The Irish will look to break their five-game losing streak when they take on Wake Forest on Friday at 7 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion.