No. 5 Irish finish one-loss season with pair of wins over Eagles
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, October 26, 2020
The No. 5 Notre Dame volleyball team finished up their shortened regular season this weekend, traveling to Chestnut Hill, Mass., and beating Boston College twice, winning 3-0 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. The Irish finished their season with a 6-1 record, all of them in the ACC, putting them second in the conference behind 7-1 Georgia Tech. By contrast, the Eagles finished at the bottom of the ACC standings, posting an 0-8 record.
The first game, on Friday, took place in Power Gym. Sophomore outside hitter Caroline Meuth had a team-high 15 kills, complemented by junior outside hitter Charley Niego and freshman middle blocker Lindsey Miller, who each had nine kills. Miller also showed off her 6-foot-four height with four blocks. Freshman libero Hattie Monson had a game-best 24 digs, and Meuth tallied 11.
The visitors started out aggressive, with the Irish winning the first four points. The Eagles then responded with four in a row of their own, capitalizing on two Notre Dame errors. After trading points back and forth, the game was tied at seven, but the Irish won five of the next six to force a Boston College timeout. The Irish kept pressing, extending their lead to 8 at 18-10. Niego had three straight kills to get them close, and they held off a late Eagles comeback attempt to take the first set, 25-17.
The second set was a more balanced affair, with neither team managing to string together more than four consecutive points or pull far ahead at any point. Meuth led the way for the Irish, posting seven kills, and she and senior middle blocker Hannah Thompson had critical kills late in the frame to give their team the 25-20 win.
In the third frame, Notre Dame jumped out to a 9-5 lead, but the home team answered with four straight to knot it at nine. The Irish were on the edge of victory with a 22-16 advantage, but the Eagles came back and scored six straight to tie the game. Once again, Thompson and Meuth each scored a kill to hand the Irish a sweep with a 25-23 third-set victory.
Notre Dame’s dominance also showed in the stats sheet; they were significantly better in kills (50-30), assists (45-27) and digs (64-53).
The Irish looked to close their fall play with another win the next day. This time, it was freshman outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton who led the Irish offense, tallying a career-high 20 kills, with Niego right behind at 16.
In the first set, Notre Dame got out to a 7-2 start, but they slowly let the Eagles back in the game, leading to an 18-18 tie. The Irish turned a 4-0 run into a 25-19 victory in the frame, during which they held their opponent to under 10% hitting.
The next set was back-and-forth, with several lead changes and momentum shifts. The game was tied at 22, but the hosts had three straight kills to take the set and even the game at one-all.
The next frame started out evenly, with the Eagles taking a 5-3 lead. However, the Irish clamped down and would not allow the Eagles to get more than one point in a row for the rest of the set. They scored the next five points, turning the deficit to an 8-5 lead and then taking seven of the next ten to go up 15-8. They kept the foot on the gas, and a service ace by Niego solidified a dominant 25-11 win.
Both teams started the fourth quarter with streaks; the hosts jumped out to a 5-1 lead before the visitors went on a 5-1 run of their own to tie it at 6. Notre Dame got a five-point lead at 13-8, and they stayed in command to win decisively again, 25-16, giving them a 3-1 win on the night.