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ND Volleyball: Irish fall in first round

Joe Wirth | Monday, December 3, 2012

After a stellar season in which it put together an 11-match win streak in Big East play, Notre Dame saw its campaign come to an end at the hands of No. 14 Ohio State on Friday in the first round of the NCAA championship.

The Buckeyes (23-10) provided a stern test and a relentless offense that proved to be too much for the Irish to handle in a three-set sweep. Ohio State had a total of 52 kills with a .512 hitting percentage for the match. 

“Obviously this isn’t the way that any of us like to finish our season. I tip my hat, even though I don’t have one on, to Ohio State,” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “I thought obviously their outside hitters played phenomenally.”

The Irish (20-10) were not without a few bright spots in the loss despite getting swept.

Sophomore Jeni Houser was especially effective for Notre Dame as she finished with a team-leading 16 kills with a .382 hitting percentage for the match. 

Senior outside hitter Mari Hole led the Ohio State offensive effort. Hole came into the game with a team-leading 331 kills and a 4.36 kills per set ratio and did not disappoint. She recorded 14 kills and had a .400 hitting percentage for the match.

Brown said the Irish were simply unable to stop the Ohio State attack. Although she said some of its success could be attributed to Notre Dame’s ineffectiveness, the Buckeyes’ skill was undeniable.

“I don’t know that they’ve had quite that big a night because we were really ineffective, but obviously they mix up their shots,” Brown said. “They’re very, very aggressive, they take big approaches, good arm swings, they can hit well off the outside hand and they hit the seam.  

“Like I said they have all the shots, so it’s not like you just have to take one shot away and then you can stop them. They did a good job of mixing up their shots, and we were ineffective with our blocking defense against them.”

Despite the loss, Houser did not characterize this season as a disappointment. This season marked the first time since 2009 that Notre Dame recorded 20 wins and made it to the NCAA tournament. 

“I wanted to come in and put years on the banner and bring in new banners for the NCAA tournament every year,” Houser said. “I think next year’s goal is to get deeper in the tournament every year.”

Contact Joe Wirth at [email protected]