Notre Dame endures tough Golden Dome Invitational
Observer Staff Report | Sunday, September 7, 2014
Notre Dame dropped all three of their weekend matches and won only one set in the home-opening Golden Dome Invitational at the Purcell Pavilion. The Irish (0-5) lost to Washington State, 3-1, Friday, IUPUI, 3-0, Saturday and Western Michigan, 3-0, Sunday.Their match with the Cougars (5-1) on Friday evening was the most competitive for the Irish. After winning the first set 25-23, the Irish lost the next three sets. 11 lead changes and 22 ties marked the match. Washington State senior middle blocker Chelsey Bettinson led both teams with 22 kills. For the Irish, freshman Sydney Kuhn notched 14 kills, the high mark for any Notre Dame player. She also recorded the highest hitting percentage for Notre Dame (.382).
The lowest point of the weekend occurred when graduate student outside hitter Nicole Smith injured her ankle against the Cougars. She was not able to play for the rest of the tournament.
On Saturday afternoon, IUPUI rolled right past the Irish in three consecutive sets with scores of 25-13, 25-21 and 25-23. Notre Dame was stuck in a scoring funk throughout the match, hitting just .138 for the afternoon and recording only 34 kills. In stark contrast, IUPUI earned 42 kills, 11 blocks, and recorded a .231 hitting percentage in their winning performance. Freshman middle blocker Sam Fry lead the Irish with eight kills.
IUPUI broke out in front from the start Saturday, hitting .306 while Notre Dame hit .045 in the 25-13 opening set rout. The set also featured a 12-2 IUPUI scoring run. As the match went on, the Irish kept closing the gap, ending the contest with the closest set of the night. The score was tied at 14 with control of the serve to Notre Dame, before the Jaguars pulled away, 25-23.
In Sunday’s finale, Notre Dame was once again swept, losing in three sets with scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-21. The match was closer than the score revealed however, as the Irish had higher totals in kills, assists, service aces, digs and blocks than the Broncos. Western Michigan did lead Notre Dame in hitting percentage, .206-.124 and benefitted from the Irish racking up nine more attack errors and five more service errors.
Fry was once again the statistical leader for the Irish as she recorded a team high 11 kills, three aces, five blocks and three digs.
Washington State finished the weekend as champions of the annual Golden Dome Invitational, clinching the title with a 3-1 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday. Bettinson took home the tournament MVP honors.
Notre Dame continues its home schedule next weekend at the Shamrock Invitational, when the Irish will welcome TCU, Northeastern and Northern Iowa to the Purcell Pavilion as they continue to seek their first victory of the 2014 campaign.