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ND Volleyball

ND drops straight sets to Panthers, Cardinals

| Sunday, October 12, 2014

Taking to the road this weekend in hopes of regaining some ground in conference play, Notre Dame continued to struggle and came up short, losing to Pittsburgh and Louisville in straight sets.

Irish junior setter Hanna Muzzonigro sets the ball to a teammate in Notre Dame’s 3-1 loss to Duke on Oct. 5 at Purcell Pavilion.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish junior setter Hanna Muzzonigro sets the ball to a teammate in Notre Dame’s 3-1 loss to Duke on Oct. 5 at Purcell Pavilion.

The Irish (4-13, 1-5 ACC) began their weekend with a game against Pitt at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse in Pittsburgh. Despite taking a 20-15 lead in the first set, they ultimately faltered and dropped the set 25-23, following a Pittsburgh rally.

From that point on, the Panthers (15-2, 3-1) took control of the match and never trailed again, winning the second and third sets, 25-18 and 25-13, respectively.

“We really struggled with our serve receives this weekend,” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “Against Pittsburgh, they aced us 12 times, which is a lot. Even times when we weren’t aced we passed poorly, which took us out of our game.”

From there, Notre Dame traveled to Louisville to face the Cardinals (11-7, 3-3) in Louisville on Sunday.

Falling behind early in each set for the day, the Irish held just a single lead against Louisville and were swept in three sets.

In the first set, the Cardinals jumped out to a 11-1 lead from which the Irish were unable do recover, losing the set 25-14.

“We tried to make some adjustments in the Louisville game to generate more kills, but they didn’t seem to work,” Brown said.

Notre Dame battled back in the second set, jumping out to a 1-0 lead – its only lead of the day – and remaining close in the early going. The Irish trailed just 12-11 in the middle of the set before falling, 25-19.

The Irish were kept winless for the weekend with a loss in the third set, in which they had more errors – eight – than kills – seven – and lost, 25-13.

Junior setter Hannah Muzzonigro had her third consecutive double-double with 22 assists and 10 digs.

On the attack side, freshman middle blocker Sam Fry led the Irish with nine kills, ending the match with a .438 attack percentage. Despite her performance, the team had an overall attack percentage of just .038, tallying 22 errors and 26 kills on 105 attempts.

“Our attack performance was really weak,” Brown said. “That’s something we’ll need to work on this week and moving forward.”

By contrast, the Cardinals had the same number of attempts, but were able to generate 46 kills and only 12 errors for a .324 attack percentage. Sophomore outside hitter and middle blocker Janelle Jenkins, who is second on the team at 3.06 kills per set, led Louisville with 12 kills on the day. Fellow sophomore outside hitter Maya McClendon leads the team in kills per set, added 11 kills.

Up next, the Irish will take on Clemson on Friday at 7 p.m., and Boston College on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at Purcell Pavilion.

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