Irish top Orange behind Meuth, Niego, Nunez
Wally Osterberger | Tuesday, November 19, 2019
The Notre Dame volleyball team moved on from an away loss to Miami a week earlier as the Irish triumphed over Syracuse on Sunday afternoon, moving their record to 18-7, 11-4 in the ACC. It has been a fine season so far for the team, who hopes to maintain its solid form going into the last few games of the season, all against tough ACC opponents.
After Notre Dame controlled the first set and won 25-17, the Orange (10-13, 7-9 ACC) responded with a 26-24 win in the second set to even the overall score at 1-1. However, the Irish would gain another point and inch closer to total victory with a 25-18 win in the third set. Syracuse fought for its life in a contested fourth set, but it wasn’t enough as the Irish flipped the script from the second set and won 26-24 to take the set and the game.
The team was buoyed by the performances of freshman and sophomore outside hitters Caroline Meuth and Charley Niego. Against Syracuse, Meuth led the squad with 21 kills, while Niego just trailed her with 20. Niego was also effective off the serve, with three aces to her name in this game. Both also performed well defensively as Meuth notched three blocks, while Niego got a pair of her own.
Head coach Mike Johnson said he was especially impressed with what he has seen from the pair as the season has progressed.
“I think they are doing a real good job for us now and, over time, the goal for them is to become the best outside hitters in the country,” Johnson said.
Another key performer for the Irish was sophomore setter Zoe Nunez, who, as she has done all season, put up huge assist numbers for the team. Over the four sets of Notre Dame’s 3-1 win over the Orange, Nunez contributed an impressive 46 assists. However, it is not just her assists that make her a valuable asset to the squad, Johnson said, who was elated with her contribution to the team as a whole.
“Zoe brings a stabilizing leadership presence. She’s the person the entire team looks to every play,” Johnson said. “She does a wonderful job keeping our hitters in rhythm, but she is also improving in all other facets of the game.”
Notre Dame’s next match is away at Louisville, where the team looks to redeem themselves after its 3-2 home loss earlier in the season.