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ND Volleyball: Sciacca records 1,000th career kill over break

Michael Todisco | Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Irish experienced both highs and lows during their four games over Fall Break, splitting a quartet of games.

Notre Dame (13-9, 6-3 Big East) played its first match of the break against DePaul (4-20, 1-8 Big East) on Oct. 15th, as the squad defeated the Blue Demons 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-18). Kelly Sciacca notched her 1,000th career kill during the victory, along with seven blocks. Sciacca became only the 19th player in program history to reach the milestone.

The Irish were without star outside hitter Kristen Dealy for the contest. Irish coach Debbie Brown said Notre Dame was able to try new packages and integrate new players into its game plan as a result of Dealy’s absence.

“With Kristen out, we got a look at some new people,” Brown said. “[Freshman middle blocker] Sam Brown played well, and [freshman outside hitter] Nicole Smith got some really good experience. It was an invaluable experience for both of them.”

The Irish then traveled to Western Michigan on Oct. 19 to take on the Broncos (18-6, 8-2 MAC). The Irish fell 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18), as junior libero Frenchie Silva had a career-high 29 digs in the defeat.

Although the contest against Western Michigan was a non-conference game, Brown stressed that the Irish did not look past their opponent. Instead, she pointed to the lack of execution as a reason for the loss.

“Western was a good team, we knew that going in to the game,” Brown said. “We just didn’t play well against a solid MAC opponent.”

After the setback against Western Michigan, Notre Dame rebounded strongly against Big East opponent Syracuse (21-5, 3-5 Big East). The Irish won in straight sets 3-0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-17) after hitting at a strong .330 clip for the contest.

The team finished their fall break action with a home match against Marquette (15-7, 6-2 Big East) on Sunday afternoon. After jumping out to an early 2-1 lead, the Irish would eventually fall 3-2 (16-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-8) to the Golden Eagles.

Despite the loss, Brown was pleased with her team’s performance against Marquette.

“This was an example of two evenly matched teams playing a good level of volleyball,” she said. “We played great volleyball and really succeeded on the things we had focused on in practice.”  

After struggling to get off to a good start early in games, Brown said hitting the court strong from the opening serve against Syracuse and Marquette was a top priority.

“We focused in practice on having a stronger sense of urgency from the beginning, and I am proud of how the team responded,” Brown said.   

With three conference losses, the Irish have now begun to shift their season goals.

“We certainly wanted to win the Big East regular season — we may have too many losses to achieve this goal,” Brown said. “However, this doesn’t change the fact that we still want to finish strong and earn a high seed for the conference tournament.”

The Irish continue their season this Saturday at Purcell Pavilion against St. John’s.