Aug. 31, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Angie Porche of Valparaiso had 26 kills and 10 digs to lead her team to a 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 30-28, 25-23) win over Notre Dame Sunday afternoon at the Joyce Center. Porch and the Crusaders (3-0) went undefeated through the Shamrock Invitational hosted by Notre Dame (2-1). Valparaiso dropped the opening set but swept the next three to earn just its fourth win over the Irish in 25 tries.
Thirteen kills on 25 swings with one error for a .480 average from junior Christina Kaelin paced Notre Dame on the offensive end of the net. Freshman Kristen Dealy had 10 kills and freshman Frenchy Silva had a career-high 21 digs for the Irish. Junior Jamel Nicholas had 27 assists and a personal-best seven kills.
Both Allison Sears and Val Bollenbacher chipped in 13 kills for Valpo, which was led by Kim Kukowski's 49 assists and Brittany Malicoat's 24 digs.
Thirty-four ties - 15 of which came in the third set - and 11 lead changes marked the match. Valpo held the lead early in the first set until a Silva dig turned into an overpass that dropped for a point, giving Notre Dame its third advantage of the match (13-12). Three consecutive Irish scores after Silva's effort gave the home team a cushion it would grow into a six points. Notre Dame had set point on the plate for three rallies until a Tara Newton attack error gave the Irish their 25th score.
Notre Dame's eight kills were offset by eight errors in the second set as the offensive never found its groove. Valpo received six kills from Bollenbacher in the period on thirteen attempts and at one point doubled the count on the Irish, 18-9.
A dramatic third set saw plenty of extended rallies and spectacular efforts on both sides of the court. Nicholas threw down a pair of her kills by taking the second ball to the deep corner, showing keen court awareness and catching the Valpo defense out of position. The Crusaders turned Notre Dame's 20-17 lead into a tied set at 21-21, charging ahead with a 24-22 edge on an Irish hitting error. The Irish saw their set point drift away when Sears soared through to tie the period at 28-28. Valparaiso scored the next two points to take the extended stanza.
Dealy stepped up and blocked four shots in the fourth set while Kaelin and junior Serinity Phillips added three kills for Notre Dame. But Porche had six kills for a motivated Crusader squad that continued to feed her the rock play after play. Kaelin registered consecutive kills to start the set and Nore Dame rallied from a two-point deficit to knot the score at 21-21 before it was outscored, 4-2, in the closing stages of the match.
Notre Dame heads west for its first road trip of the season next weekend. The Irish face Eastern Washington (Sept. 5), Washington State (Sept. 6) and host Idaho (Sept. 6) at the Idaho Volleyball Classic.
Shamrock Invitational All-Tournament Team