Notre Dame wins Golden Dome Invitational
Mia Berry | Monday, August 27, 2018
In head coach Mike Johnson’s first season, the Irish were able to sweep the competition at the annual Golden Dome Invitational .
The Irish (3-0) opened their season Friday evening with a three-set sweep against the Weber State Wildcats (1-2). The Irish put away the first set easily, 25-10, but the Wildcats rallied in the second set and managed to take a 15-14 lead before the Irish were able to put them away 25-23. The Irish took the final set 25-11 for their first victory of the season.
Junior Jemma Yeadon led the way for the Irish with 14 kills and nine digs. Freshman Charley Niego and Zoe Nunez shined in their debut for the Irish with Nunez tallying 27 assists and Niego recording 11 kills. Seniors Meg Morningstar and Rebecca Nunge combined for 11 kills in the match.
The Irish followed up Friday’s performance with a similar dominating performance against the Toledo Rockets (0-3), completing another 3-0 sweep, winning 25-17, 25-14 and 25-22. Junior Lauren Woodard led the way with nine kill and four digs. Senior Ryann DeJarld finished with 20 digs and four aces, while Nunez followed up her debut with 25 assists and no errors.
Heading into Sunday’s championship game without dropping a single set the Irish faced the Northern Kentucky Norse in the invitational championship. The Irish took the first set 25-17, but struggled in the second set and found themselves trailing 24-14.
“The main message I wanted to send after was that I really liked the way we battled back. We were down 24-20 and [Northern Kentucky] thought they’d won the set,” Irish head coach Mike Johnson said.
The Irish were able to rally off consecutive points from freshman Sydney Bent and Nunez.
“I’m really proud of [Nunez]. [Nunez] hit a good serve over and over again and pressured them defensively,” Johnson said. “To come back and win that and then take them out, 25-14, I like what it says about our character. I like what it says about our fight. I think it shows we believe and we’re starting to form the identity of a team that’s pretty tough.”
Yeadon led the way for the Irish with nine kills and won tournament MVP honors. Niego and Nunge recorded eight kills apiece, and sophomore Hannah Thompson recorded six kills. Nunez recorded her first career double-double with 32 assists and 15 digs, and was named to the all-tournament team alongside DeJarld, who finished the tournament with 56 kills.
“I’ll be honest we have to play better. We [have] a long way to go,” Johnson said. “But for the first weekend we did a lot of good things and had a lot of bright spots. We need to get better and we will.”
The Irish will next take the court Friday, Aug 31. at Purcell Pavilion against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.