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Volleyball pick up first ACC wins at Syracuse, BC

Notre Dame went back on the road snagging their first two ACC wins, sweeping Syracuse 3-0 on Friday and beating Boston College 3-1 on Sunday.

It was a much-needed bounce-back weekend for Notre Dame and first-year head coach Salima Rockwell after a disappointing homestand where they lost against Georgia Tech and Clemson.

Syracuse

Notre Dame swept the Orange in three sets to pick up their first conference win on Friday night. The sweep is a bit misleading though as it was a tight match throughout. In the opening set, the Irish won 25-21 with sophomore outside hitter Paris Thompson making the difference with 10 kills. Overall, Thompson finished with 20 kills, a career-high total for the Florida native.

The second set saw the two teams closely matched early until a 7-0 Notre Dame run gave the Irish some breathing room at 13-7. After a timeout, the Orange responded with a run of their own to close the deficit to just one point at 14-13. From there, the teams traded blows, but Notre Dame was eventually able to close it out. A Thompson kill gave the Irish a tight 25-23 set victory.

The final set was close throughout with six ties and three lead changes, but eventually, the Irish were able to separate with a 4-0 run led by the service of junior libero Hattie Monson. On match point, it was Thompson who stepped up once again with the winning kill to give Notre Dame the final set 25-20.

Boston College

It was a tight first set that went down to the wire. Boston College had the late lead at 24-21, but Notre Dame fought off three set points to tie it at 24 and extend the set. The teams traded points until a kill from freshman outside hitter Avery Ross made it 28-27 before an attack error from BC gave the Irish the two-point win in the first set.

The second set saw the Irish get off to a slow start, going down 1-6 early but a timeout from Rockwell seemed to turn the tide. They fought back to tie it at 11-11 and eventually take the lead. It was a close set throughout but four straight points at the end gave Notre Dame another set victory at 25-21.

The third set was never close as BC got off to a quick start and pulled away with an 8-0 run to win it 25-13 to avoid the sweep. From there, the momentum shift was evident as the Eagles got out to a 16-8 lead. But with Monson serving, Notre Dame went on a 7-0 run to make it 16-15 and force the BC timeout. The teams traded points and with the set tied at 23, Notre Dame brought in freshman serve specialist Maisie Alexander who closed it out to give the Irish the 25-23 set and match win.

Notre Dame volleyball return to Purcell Pavilion this weekend for two ACC games. They open with Wake Forest on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and then face Virginia Tech on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Contact José Sánchez Córdova at jsanch24@nd.edu.

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Irish volleyball drop two more ACC matches in return to Purcell

After winning four of five to close their nonconference slate, Notre Dame volleyball’s momentum has come to a grinding halt. Despite returning home for the first time in over a month, the Irish couldn’t put together a win, dropping two more ACC matches. Notre Dame is now 0-4 in conference play. This weekend, No. 13 Georgia Tech dispatched the Irish, followed by Clemson. The latter was a five-set battle, marking the second five-set defeat for the Irish in conference play.

In Friday night’s game versus the Yellow Jackets, efficiency was the name of the game. The Irish only made three service errors and zero reception errors, tying and outclassing Georgia Tech in both categories. However, while the Yellow Jackets notched 55 kills with a .261 hitting percentage, the Irish posted just a .110 mark and 31 kills. Graduate student transfer Kaylyn Winkler notched eight kills, as did sophomore outside hitter Paris Thompson.

In the first two sets, the Irish only led once, at 1-0 in the first set. From there, the Yellow Jackets (10-2, 3-0 ACC) ripped off five straight points to take control. Then, up 11-5, Georgia Tech blitzed the Irish for another 5-0 run, seizing control at 16-5. They ballooned the advantage to 22-8 and closed out the set comfortably, 25-13.

The second set was more competitive, but the Irish never obtained a lead. Notre Dame kept things closer in the early going, trailing 8-7, but Georgia Tech gradually pulled away. They notched six of the next seven points to grab the momentum and rode that wave to a 20-14 advantage. Notre Dame flashed some resiliency, as a Thompson kill kickstarted a five-point streak, closing the deficit to a single point. From there, however, the teams traded off points, neither squad able to retain their serve. The Irish never surfaced from the deficit, dropping the second set, 25-23.

The third set was largely controlled by the Yellow Jackets. They took the lead early and kept the Irish at bay in the first half. Then, up 13-12, they won nine of the next 11 points to ice the match. The Irish didn’t get closer than five points and lost, 25-19.

Irish can’t finish off fifth set

On Sunday, Notre Dame played a sloppier game, but they were also more dynamic offensively, which gave them a chance down the stretch. Thompson led the way with 16 kills, while freshman outside hitter Avery Ross claimed 14 of her own. However, the Irish also made a total of 14 service and reception errors, which allowed Clemson to edge the Irish in the five-set contest.

The Irish never led in the first set, as Clemson ran off eight straight points to claim a 17-9 advantage. They had no issues in closing out a 25-17 win from there, taking the early 1-0 lead. Then, down 12-3 in the second set, Notre Dame looked primed to go down quickly once more, but this time, the Irish responded. Following a timeout, Notre Dame clawed back into the set. Although they didn’t rip off any extended runs, a gradual 14-6 spurt tied the set at 18-18. After trading points, the Irish buried the Tigers with six straight points. Freshman defensive specialist Maisie Alexander delivered three aces in the second set to lead the way, while Thompson and Ross combined for seven kills.

In the critical third set, the Irish and Tigers were locked in a 14-14 tie. But after Clemson nudged ahead with three straight points, Notre Dame couldn’t quite get back even. They closed within one at 18-17 and 19-18, but Clemson closed with a 5-2 run to win, 25-20. The Irish blew an early 13-9 advantage in the fourth set, but they rallied. Deadlocked at 17 points apiece, the Irish rode a wave of excellent service by junior libero Hattie Monson to five straight points and a 22-17 advantage. Sophomore setter Phyona Schrader came up big in the final few points, notching an assist, kill and block on the final three Irish points to force a fifth set.

There, the marathon turned into a sprint to 15 points. Clemson was the first to gain momentum, tallying four straight points to take a 9-5 lead. Notre Dame got a point back here and there, closing to 12-11. But they couldn’t find the last service break they needed and traded off the final few points, losing 15-13 in the fifth set.

Notre Dame falls to 0-4 in ACC play, last in the conference. They will look to start stacking wins next weekend, but it starts against Syracuse, who is 4-0 in ACC play. They play the Orange on Friday and complete the road trip at Boston College (13-5, 1-3) on Sunday.

Contact Aidan Thomas at athomas28@nd.edu

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Irish sweep Bulldog Brawl with wins over Central Michigan, Ohio

Notre Dame volleyball played two games this weekend at the Bulldog Brawl in Indianapolis, winning both to move to 5-5 on the season. In game 1 on Friday, the Irish beat Central Michigan in straight sets before downing Ohio in four sets on Saturday.

Game 1: Central Michigan Chippewas

The weekend got off to a strong start with a dominant first set against the Chippewas. The Irish had an early 7-0 run to take a commanding 12-3 lead early in the set. From there, they coasted to take the opening frame 25-12 winning the final point on a combined block from two grad students, middle blocker Kaylyn Winkler and outside hitter Clare Delaplane.

The second set seemed like a repeat of the first with Notre Dame taking a 12-6 lead and forcing a CMU timeout. After the break, the Chippewas came out battling to make it a two-point set at 14-12. Notre Dame was able to respond going on a run of their own and extending their lead, eventually sealing the 25-19 set victory.

In the third set, the Irish found themselves in an early 0-3 hole that was first deficit of the game. It didn’t last long though with freshman libero Maisie Alexander coming in to serve and leading the Irish on a 7-0 run to retake the lead. The team was able to protect that lead for the rest of the set, keeping the Chippewas at arm’s length to win 25-21 and take the match.

Sophomore setter Phyona Schrader led the way offensively for the Irish with 23 assists and five kills in the game. Freshman outside hitter Lucy Trump joined Winkler with 8 kills in the game to lead Notre Dame in that category.

Game 2: Ohio Bobcats

The second game saw the Irish face more adversity against the Bobcats, with a tight opening set that was tied at 9-9 as the teams traded blows. Notre Dame was able to separate thereafter, taking a 15-11 lead and forcing an Ohio timeout. The Bobcats rallied and tied the set at 22 before a Trump kill gave the Irish a lead they wouldn’t relinquish as they held on to win the set 25-23.

Notre Dame stormed out to an 8-1 lead in the second set but a service error from Schrader opened the door for the Bobcats who came back to tie it at 10. The set was closely contested throughout until Ohio’s Caroline Clippard broke the 21-21 tie to get serve back for her team and force the Irish to regroup. It seemed it might’ve worked as two kills from freshman outside hitter Avery Ross kept the Irish in it at 24-23. It wasn’t to be though as Ohio’s Olivia Margolies shut the door on Notre Dame to claim the second set for the Bobcats.

The third set was a similar story with a closely contested frame that saw the two teams tied at 17-17 before Notre Dame put their stamp on it. An 8-4 run from the Irish closed out the set with junior middle blocker Lauren Tarnoff hammering home the final point in a 25-21 set victory.

 The final set was close early on, but Notre Dame quickly put some distance between the two teams to finish off the game. The Irish finished the game on an 18-8 run, beating the Bobcats 25-15 in the final set. Trump and Tarnoff led the Irish in kills against Ohio with 13 and 10, respectively. Phyona Schrader rounded out a good performance with 35 assists and two service aces, including one in the deciding final set.

After a difficult start to head coach Salima Rockwell’s tenure, the Irish have turned it around winning four of their last five to get back to .500. The two games this weekend were Notre Dame’s final non-conference matchups ahead of their ACC opener on the road against Florida State on Friday.

Contact José at jsanch24@nd.edu

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ND Volleyball posts mixed bag in weekend tournament

After finishing 0-2 in the Long Beach State Tournament in the first road trip of the 2022 season, Notre Dame volleyball traveled to Norfolk, Virginia this weekend for the Quest for the Crown Tournament. The Fighting Irish picked up two hard-fought wins against East Caroline and Old Dominion on Friday but dropped a match to Navy on Saturday to make it to 3-5 on the year. It was the first time in program history that Notre Dame had played each of these teams.

Notre Dame tipped off against the East Carolina University on noon on Friday. After losing the first two sets, the Irish went on take down the Pirates in the final three sets. ECU would go on two finish their weekend with a 3-1 win against Navy and a 3-0 shutout of Old Dominion.

In the first set vs. the Pirates, the Irish made a late comeback thanks to the efforts of graduate student blocker Kaylyn Winkler and junior libero Hattie Monson but ultimately fell short of success, losing 25-23. The second set saw 17 ties. The final one came at the score of 23-23, but ECU ended up prevailing to take a 2-0 set lead over the Irish. After jumping out to a 17-12 lead in the third set, the Irish were able to secure a set victory with their backs to the wall because of Pirate errors and two late kills by freshman hitter Lucy Trump. ECU played a close game in set four, but the Irish were able to run a with it thereafter, wining the final two sets to pick up their second win of the 2022 season.

Notre Dame was led offensively by freshman hitter Avery Ross who tallied 14 kills and sophomore setter Phyona Schrader recorded a career high 54 assists. As a team, the Fighting Irish racked up 66 kills, 64 assists and 60 digs.

Later Friday evening, the Irish went on to defeat tournament host Old Dominion in five sets. The Monarchs were 3-4 on the season before facing the Irish.

In set one, the Irish trailed at times by a margin of 12-4 and 23-9, eventually falling by a score of 25-14. The Irish jumped back out in the second set, expanding a 16-11 lead to a 23-15 advantage thanks to kills from Ross and Winkler. The Irish would go on to close out the set to tie up the match at 1-1 heading into the third set. Fending off a late run by the Monarchs which brought the score to 23-20, kill and ace efforts by Winkler and Schrader respectively secured the third for the Irish. Old Dominion did not back down, taking the fourth set to force Notre Dame battle in their second fifth set of the day. The Monarchs came close to closing the gap and 12-11, but the Irish came alive with their second match triumph of the day in gratitude to back-to-back kills via Winkler.

Winkler finished the game with 16 kills and five blocks with graduate student hitter Clare Delaplane close behind with 14 kills and 2 blocks. Ross picked up a lucky 13 kills, and Schrader added another 44 stately assists.

The Irish fell on Saturday in their final game of the weekend tournament to Navy’s Midshipmen in four sets in an attempt to battle back to an even-win loss record on the season. At the end of the match, Schrader led the team with 31 assists, Trump led the way with 14 kills and Monson punched in 13 digs.

Navy jumped out to win the first set by an unlucky 13 points. A late block from Schrader and Winkler helped lift the Irish to a 27-25 win in the second set. A 7-1 run by Navy to extend an early lead of 12-7 to 19-8 helped the Midshipmen push past the Irish in set three. In the fourth and final set, an ace by freshman libero Maisie Alexander gave Notre Dame a late 25-24 advantage. However, two subsequent kills by Navy and a service error from the Notre Dame ended Irish’s hope to win out the match up and sweep all three weekend games of tournament play.

Hopefully drawing on the positive momentum built toughly by the Irish this weekend in Virginia, Notre Dame will head to Indianapolis next weekend for the 2022 Bulldog Brawl. Friday at 3 p.m., Notre Dame will take on the Central Michigan Chippewas. On Saturday, the Irish will then match up against the Ohio University Bobcats, also at 3 p.m.

Contact Peter Breen at pbreen2@nd.edu.