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ND Volleyball: Irish complete sweep in Big East opening weekend

Meaghan Veselik | Monday, September 28, 2009

Notre Dame had a perfect weekend opening conference competition. The Irish (8-4, 2-0 Big East) opened Big East play Friday with a 3-1 win over Connecticut and swept St. John’s 3-0 Sunday to cap off the weekend.

Senior outside hitters Serenity Phillips and Christina Kaelin set the tone for Notre Dame. Phillips was one block short of a triple-double Friday for the second time in her college career with 16 kills, 12 digs, and nine block assists at Connecticut. Kaelin posted 12 kills and five digs Friday night, coming back with 13 kills, five digs, and a .500 hitting percentage against the Red Storm Sunday. Phillips had nine kills and six digs in the match.

The Irish took out the Huskies in four sets Friday (25-22, 21-25, 25-14, 25-16). Junior middle blocker Kellie Sciaccia had ten kills, senior setter Jamel Nicholas posted 46 assists and eleven digs while sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy had twenty kills and sophomore libero Frenchy Silva had 16.

In Friday’s first set, freshman middle blocker Hilary Eppink made a kill from the outside at 9-9 before Phillips granted Notre Dame the lead with a shot from the right at 10-9. Connecticut led again up to 17-16 when a 3-0 Irish run put them in front for good. Phillips had an ace at 22-19 on the way to securing the set.

Sophomore outside hitter Stephanie Slatt and Silva both had aces to start off the second set but the Huskies took the lead. Phillips recorded a block and a kill to bring Notre Dame within one at 18-17, but it wasn’t enough to take the set.

Slatt aced again in the third set as the Irish started to block at the net more than they had the entire match. Notre Dame was tailing Connecticut 9-10 when they went on an 11-1 run to close the set.

The Irish dominated the net once again in the final set, scoring four of their first 12 points off blocks. Taking the lead at 9-7, Notre Dame never looked back as they rallied up the points. Kaelin made it 23-14 with a rifle shot to lock up the win.

Notre Dame hit .250 as a team and Kaelin at a .529 rate for the night to start the conference season with a bang and move the Huskies to 7-9, 0-1 Big East.

Sunday saw the Irish grab a three-set sweep (25-11, 27-25, 25-19) over St. John’s (9-9, 1-1 Big East), their first sweep over the Red Storm since 2004. Notre Dame hit at .303 to St. John’s .141 after starting off strong in the first set and trailing only once in the third.

Dealy had four kills, nine digs and a block assist while Sciaccia had six kills and four block assists in the victory. Nicholas had 32 of the Irish’s 40 asssists for the day.

Notre Dame has a week off and will return home for the first time since Sept. 13 when they take on Villanova Sunday at 2 p.m.