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ND Volleyball: ND takes Adidas Invitational, defeats Wisconsin

Chris Masoud | Monday, September 14, 2009

The Irish didn’t waste time shaking off the rust of a losing stretch, securing six straight sets en route to a sweep of the Notre Dame/adidas Invitational. Friday’s 3-1 victory over Wisconsin (15-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-18) was the first victory over the Badgers since 1987, and just the second in nine tries.

“I think Wisconsin just came out and played on fire in game one,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “Certainly we were able to make some adjustments in games two, three and four. When you take the hits like we did it can start to erode away at your confidence, and so to come back and put a solid match together like this is really important for us and should help us for sure.”

Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy turned in their best performances of the year against Big Ten foe Wisconsin (4-4), each notching 19 kills. Adding a team-best 13 digs to go along with her career-high kill mark, Dealy recorded her first double-double of the season.

“In particular, our outside hitters were just outstanding,” Brown said. “Serinity Phillips and Kristen Dealy were just unbelievable. We didn’t have a real balanced attack, but we didn’t need to because they were so good that Jamel just kept giving them the ball. That’s what should happen if you have a hot hitter like that.”

After a day off on Saturday, Notre Dame (5-3) didn’t lose a step as they claimed a victory over New Mexico State in straight sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-19) in the first meeting between the two squads. Junior outside hitter Stephanie Slatt contributed a career-high four aces, going back-to-back twice to set up key Irish runs in the second and third sets.

“We were really steady as a team,” Brown said. “We play little mini-games within the 25 point game, so we try to win every mini-game to five. We beat them to five, we beat them to ten, and each time if you can increase that lead a little bit more, it puts you in a good place.”

Whitney Woods led the Aggies (4-4) with a match-high 12 kills, but Dealy added 12 of her own to go along with senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin’s 10 to put the contest out of reach.

Junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca contributed eight kills, three of which came in a dominant Irish second set that saw the Irish combine for a .467 attacking clip.

Sunday’s victory improves the squad’s home record to 4-1, compared to a 1-2 record on the road.

While Brown isn’t convinced that home court advantage is a deciding factor in the team’s success, she recognizes that her team feeds off the welcoming vibes from the home crowd.

“I don’t think it’s huge,” Brown said. “For a lot of different reasons it’s good. You’re in your familiar surroundings, it’s fun to play in front of friends and family. I don’t how many points they actually put on the board, but in some cases even just a couple is going to be the difference.”