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ND Volleyball: Irish top Eagles, drop season finale to ‘Cuse

Katie Heit | Monday, December 2, 2013

The Irish wrapped up their season by splitting the weekend, taking a 3-1 victory over Boston College on Friday before falling 3-1 to Syracuse on Saturday for senior day.
On Friday, Notre Dame (13-18, 7-13 ACC) dominated the first set, snatching a quick 25-15 victory over Boston College (9-23, 1-19 ACC).
The second set presented more of a challenge for the Irish, who battled through six tied scores and three lead changes to claim the 25-23 win and pull ahead 2-0.
Senior libero Andrea McHugh said the most difficult part of the game against the Eagles was the defense.
“Boston College is a very scrappy team,” McHugh said. “It was hard for our hitters to be successful. But our hitters found the open areas, and [senior setter] Maggie Brindock did a great job of moving the offense around.”
The third set was another challenge, as the Irish went back and forth with Boston College. Nine ties, four lead changes, and even junior outside hitter Toni Alugbue reaching 1,000 career kills couldn’t bring the Irish the victory as they lost the third set 23-25.
The Irish bounced back in the fourth set and pulled away late to take a 25-20 win and end the game 3-1.
McHugh said she’s proud of the way her team played Saturday at senior day against Syracuse (16-16, 11-9 ACC).
“We were all really focused and determined to have a strong start,” McHugh said.
The Irish struggled to score against the Syracuse defense. A good blocking team, the Orange took control early and dominated the first set 25-16. The Irish had a tough time getting started and only hit .138 before bouncing back and taking control of the second set. The second-set victory was hard won, with 17 ties and seven lead changes before the Irish finally won, 26-24.
The 1-1 tie was the last stand for the Irish, as they didn’t score more than 20 points in either of the following two sets. They lost the two sets 25-17 and 25-20, respectively.
McHugh, right side Sammie Brown and outside hitter Nicole Smith were honored in a pre-match ceremony for senior day.
“It feels like a dream,” McHugh said. “I can’t believe the season is over. It was a huge blessing to have my family on either side of me when I was walking out because they have supported and encouraged me throughout my entire career.”
McHugh said despite the loss on senior day, the Irish had fun playing together this final weekend.
“While the season didn’t end the way we wanted, I am truly honored and so blessed to be able to wear an Irish jersey,” McHugh said.
Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu