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ND splits with Mountaineers in Big East tune up

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 13, 2006

Notre Dame split the last two games of the regular season this weekend, allowing it to finish with a record of 16-11, 10-4 Big East. Although losing to Pittsburgh dropped the Irish below the post-season rank they were hoping to have, the win over West Virginia yesterday allowed them to stay within the pack as one of four teams now with a 10-4 conference record.

Pittsburgh 3, Notre Dame 1

Notre Dame dominated in the first game, but dropped the match 30-10, 25-30, 24-30, 31-33 to Pittsburgh (22-8, 10-4 Big East).

Freshman Serenity Philips led the Irish attack with 15 kills at a hitting percentage of .265. Junior Adrianna Stasiuk also made a key contribution with 14 kills and 17 digs.

But the Irish defense was unable to slow down the Panther’s Stephanie Ross, who racked up a total 24 kills during the match. Notre Dame also had trouble from the line as they added up eight service errors before the match was over.

The fourth game was much closer with Notre Dame down 2-1 in a must win situation. The Irish did not see their first lead in the game until a kill from Phillips kicked off a 4-1 stretch to give them a 12-10 lead. A service error from freshman Kim Kristoff allowed Pittsburgh to answer back immediately with a 7-2 run to lead 17-14. The lead would change two more times before Notre Dame and Pittsburgh found themselves tied at 29.

Notre Dame played hard, but in the end a kill from Diana Andreyko followed by an attack error by Stasiuk would allow Pittsburgh to take the fourth game and the match.

Notre Dame 3, West Virginia 0

West Virginia left the Joyce Center Sunday with their 28th disappointment this season, losing 30-19, 30-21, 30-17.

Sophomore Mallorie Croal shined against the Mountaineers (3-28, 2-12 Big East), tallying 13 kills at a hitting percentage of .429 as well as 17 digs.

Senior Danielle Herndon also had 17 digs on Notre Dame’s Senior Day helping the Irish to keep West Virginia contained. Notre Dame out hit West Virginia .308 to .062. Having led for the entire first game, and most of the second after an early 4-4 tie, Notre Dame only needed one more win to put the match away.

The Irish came out strong early with three kills from Croal contributing to an 8-2 run to give the Irish a 10-4 lead. Notre Dame would maintain their lead despite a late effort made by West Virginia’s Kristina Gallahan and Abby Tevis. After kill from sophomore Justine Stremick to give Notre Dame game point at 29-17, an attack error by Gina Cusanelli sealed the match for Notre Dame.

“It was really nice to end the conference season in our home facility with a solid win as our lone senior said farewell to the Joyce Center,” freshman Tara Enzweiler said about Notre Dame’s flawless victory.