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Irish upsets No. 21 FSU to end three-game losing streak

| Monday, October 2, 2017

The Irish (11-4, 1-3 ACC) upset No. 21 Florida State (8-4, 2-2 ACC) in a comeback five-set match to end a three-game losing streak.

After starting the season on a six-game winning streak, the Irish lost three out of four matches, including a 3-1 lost to the Miami Hurricanes (9-1, 2-1 ACC) Friday night which dropped Notre Dame to 0-3 in ACC play, 12th overall in conference standings.

Irish sophomore outside hitter Jemma Yeadon serves the ball during Notre Dame's 3-0 win over Michigan State on Sept. 15 at Purcell Pavilion.Michelle Mehelas | The Observer
Irish sophomore outside hitter Jemma Yeadon serves the ball during Notre Dame’s 3-0 win over Michigan State on Sept. 15 at Purcell Pavilion.

Looking to bounce back, the Irish started the match strong, winning the first set 25-21. Sophomore Jemma Yeadon led the way with six kills in the set. But the Seminoles fought back and would go on to win the second and third sets 25-23 and 25-19, respectively. Facing a must-win set, Notre Dame turned in a dominant performance, as sophomores Lauren Woodard and Yeadon helped the Irish to a 25-12 victory to force a decisive fifth set. Once again, Woodard and Yeadon were dominant, hitting kill after kill to give the Irish a 15-12 win and the match.

The win for the Irish is their third win against a ranked opponent this season and their first in conference play so far.

Head coach Jim McLaughlin said he was proud of his team’s resiliency.

“We kind of let it get away,” he said. “Everyone contributed to the loss, and everyone contributed to this win. I just told them we all had to do better, and we did.

“… I told them the worst thing you could do is not be who are you, and tonight we were Notre Dame for sure.”

Throughout the match, the Irish’s defense was a noticeable strength for the team, and it held Florida State to a .136 attack percentage for the night.

“Our defense has been our strength,” McLaughlin said. “We’re working on our offense, and we’re working on it like crazy. We’re going to get it if we keep working. We made progress tonight.”

The top performer for the Irish was Jemma Yeadon, who finished with 24 kills, 16 digs and 5 blocks. Senior setter Caroline Holt finished the match with 59 assists, 13 digs and a block. The trio of senior Sam Fry, junior Rebecca Nunge and Woodard each finished with 10 kills in the comeback victory.

Midway through the fourth set, senior libero Natalie Johnson recorded her 1,000th career dig for the Irish, which placed her eighth overall for total digs in program history. Johnson finished the match with 15 digs and two assists.

With the win, the Irish are now 1-3 in ACC play, and tied for sixth overall in conference play. McLaughlin was excited that his team registered its first ACC win and said his team is looking forward to improving.

“The first ACC match is tough to get, and we had to some tough opponents on the road,” he said. “Now that we got it, we got to keep going and keep making progress.”

The Irish hope to continue their newfound winning streak when they travel to Virginia to face the Virginia Cavaliers (4-11, 0-4 ACC ) and the Virginia Tech Hokies (7-8, 1-3 ACC) next weekend in ACC play.

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