Notre Dame drops pair of conference games
Hunter McDaniel | Monday, September 28, 2015
Notre Dame kicked off its ACC slate with two losses over the weekend, falling at home in straight sets to both Louisville and No. 17 Florida State.
The Irish (5-9, 0-2 ACC) started strong in Friday night’s matchup against Louisville (8-4, 2-0), but struggled for the rest of the match in a three-set loss. Notre Dame led 22-18 late in the first set, but was unable to hold the lead; Louisville then handled the rest of the match on its way to a three-set, 25-23, 25-19, 25-16 sweep.
Sophomore outside hitter Sam Fry led the Irish in the loss against the Cardinals with a strong showing; her .421 attack percentage on 10 kills with two blocks kept the Irish in the match, while sophomore captain and setter Maddie Dilfer added 23 assists.
Sunday afternoon, the Irish welcomed No. 17 Florida State (9-4, 2-0) to Purcell Pavilion, and though the Seminoles also won in straight sets, Notre Dame hung around for the first two sets.
After dropping a close first set 25-20, the Irish put together a strong run in the second set to take a quick 13-5 lead. However, they were unable to hold it and dropped the second set, 25-21.
The Seminoles then got off to a fast start in the third set to take a 17-6 lead and cruised to a 25-12 set win to secure a match victory.
Dilfer again led Notre Dame with 18 assists while Fry accounted for nine points; sophomore outside hitter Sydney Kuhn chipped in with a .263 attack percentage and team highs in both kills and digs, eight and nine respectively.
After the pair of setbacks, Irish head coach Jim McLaughlin tried to take the focus off wins and losses, instead focusing on the team’s development.
“We gotta stay process-driven and not worry about outcome,” McLaughlin said. “We have to fight through this. It’s hard to go through, you know? And the only way you get through it is by making the improvements and getting through it, but we gotta stay in the process. If we do that we can come out of this for sure.”
As the Irish try to bounce back from two conference losses, McLaughlin said the team has a lot of work to do.
“[We have to fix] everything. We gotta take care of every phase of the game,” he said. “We’ve made some progress but there’s just so much out there that we have to make. But I just think once we unraveled a little bit, we lost our energy and then we unraveled more. But we just gotta stay process-driven and keep working.”
The Irish will look to break their current four-match losing streak when they host Boston College at Purcell Pavilion on Friday at 7 p.m. before hosting Syracuse on Sunday at noon.