Notre Dame drops pair at home
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, November 12, 2018
Notre Dame came up short this weekend against two tough opponents. The Irish (15-11, 9-7 ACC) lost to North Carolina State on Friday evening and Florida State University on Sunday afternoon.
Notre Dame started off strong against the Wolfpack (13-12, 7-8 ACC) with an opening victory, controlling the first set on their way to a 25-14 win. Freshman right-side hitter Sydney Bent recorded eight of her career-high 24 kills in the stanza. However, NC State rallied to win three consecutive sets and the match. None of the final three sets were an easy victory, as both teams gave their all to try and gain an edge.
Bent and fellow freshman and outside hitter Charley Niego again shined for the Irish. Niego posted 12 kills and two blocks on the day, while senior outside hitter Rebecca Nunge had 10 kills and two blocks. The surprise contributor was senior middle blocker Kristin Baer, who led the team with 5 blocks in her first action since facing the Duke Blue Devils in early October.
Senior libero Ryann Dejarld posted the lone service ace for the Irish to go along with a team-leading 19 digs. Freshman setter Zoe Nunez continued her stellar play with 46 assists and no errors, and was tied for second in blocks with senior middle blocker Meg Morningstar at four apiece.
The Irish came up short again on Sunday with another valiant effort against Florida State in Tallahassee. The Seminoles (17-8, 13-2 ACC) are currently at second place in the conference, three spots ahead of Notre Dame.
It appeared the Irish had the game under control, storming out to a two-set lead with 25-20 victories in each of the first two sets. However, the team ran out of gas as the game went on. The third set was an offensive display as both teams posted .300 hitting percentages. With the set tied at 23 each, Florida State had two consecutive kills to end the set.
By the fourth set, the Florida State attack was too much for the Irish as the Seminoles had a .351 hitting percentage and tied the game with a 25-12 set victory. In the decisive fifth set, a depleted Irish team was unable to stave off the comeback and lost 15-9 to end the game.
Niego led the Irish in kills this time with 21, and Nunge provided 14 of her own. Baer again had a big game, with season-highs of four kills and a team-leading six blocks. Niego and Morningstar each tallied four blocks, while Dejarld and sophomore libero Madison Cruzado anchored the back-line.
Dejarld had a season-high 30 digs and Cruzado a career-high of 19. Dejarld also had a season-high 12 assists, aiding Nunez who paced the Irish with 43.
Despite both losses, Notre Dame lost no ground in the ACC standings, maintaining fifth place. With the regular season coming to a close, there are only two games remaining for the Irish. They are set to take on the University of Louisville and Duke in their final weekend slate of the regular season.