Yeadon leads the charge as Irish split weekend matchups
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, September 3, 2018
Notre Dame completed two games as they took on Oakland at home before heading to face in-state rival, No. 20 Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana, over the weekend. The Irish (4-1) continued a strong start to the season with a sweep of Oakland (3-3) in three sets Friday. It was a dominating performance on the part of the Irish as Oakland didn’t post a positive hitting percentage (more kills than errors) until the final set.
Junior outside hitter Jemma Yeadon’s 12 kills highlighted the contest, but it was a full team effort. Everyone contributed to the victory, including freshman setter Zoe Nunez’s 31 assists. However, defense was key to the win as senior libero Ryann DeJarld tallied 20 digs and fellow senior middle blocker Meg Morningstar dominated the net defensively with a season-high nine blocks.
Freshman right-side hitter Sydney Bent set the tone early in the match, racking up three aces to give Notre Dame the early lead. Oakland’s timeout did little to stifle the Irish as they took the first set 25-14. The second set unfolded in similar fashion as the Irish jumped out to an early lead and finished strong to win 25-16. The third set was more competitive, but Notre Dame handled their business and completed the sweep with a 25-20 differential.
Purdue posed a tougher challenge to Notre Dame. In their first road test, they fell to the Boilermakers (5-0) in four sets. The Irish posted a season-high 26 errors and, as a result, a season-low hitting percentage of .168. Despite a tough effort in a very competitive contest, Purdue emerged victorious, due in large part to the Irish errors in the first two sets.
Notre Dame managed to establish a lead of 12-7 in the first set, but the Boilermakers rallied after using both timeouts to gain the upper hand. The Irish were handed their first set loss of the year with a 25-22 defeat. The second set saw the roles reversed as the home team gained an advantage until Notre Dame stormed back to take an 18-17 lead. However, Purdue managed to claw out a 25-21 set win, putting Notre Dame in a 2-0 hole.
Notre Dame responded with a hot start to the third set. The set went back and forth with both teams having bursts, but the Irish managed three kills to close the third set and get on the board with a 25-23 margin. In the fourth set, fatigue took its toll as Notre Dame fought hard but fell behind 24-18. With a match point at stake, Notre Dame mustered two more points before the final score to give Purdue the win.
In spite of the loss, several Irish players shined. Yeadon led the team in kills and digs with 13 and 22, respectively, while freshman outside hitter Charley Niego and senior outside hitter Rebecca Nunge each provided 12 kills. Additionally, Nunez contributed a season-high 41 assists, and Morningstar had six blocks on the night.
The Irish get a break before returning to the road Sept. 7 to take on Western Kentucky, Miami (Ohio) and Chattanooga in Bowling Green, Kentucky.