Sept. 1, 2017
By Robby Hamman
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- The Irish (4-0) defeated VCU (3-2) in their first match of the BGSU/Toledo Invitational by a final score of 3-1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-14) to remain perfect on the season. The 4-0 start is the program's best in over a decade, as the 2005 squad began 7-0.
Three Notre Dame student-athletes finished with double-digit kills, as Sydney Kuhn led the way with 17. Jemma Yeadon added 12 and Sam Fry finished with 10. Natalie Johnson turned in a monster performance from the service line, recording six aces in the match.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish could not have asked for a better start to the day, racing out to a 1-0 match lead by taking the first set 25-12. The two sides were tied at 10-10 before Johnson and the Irish completely took over, reeling off 12 straight points to go on top 22-10. Johnson recorded four aces in the run to put Notre Dame in control.
Notre Dame and VCU battled in the second set. The Irish held an 18-15 lead late in the stanza but were unable to hold off the late charge from the Rams, as VCU took the set by a score of 25-23 to level the match at 1-1.
The Rams appeared to have the momentum coming out of the 10-minute intermission, gaining an early 13-6 lead in the third set. However, the Irish dominated for the remainder of the third, allowing VCU to win just one point for the rest of the set. After Notre Dame cut the deficit to one at 14-13, DeJarld served out the remainder of the set, as the Irish scored 12 consecutive points to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The Irish were locked in to start the fourth frame, pulling away from the Rams to take a 17-9 lead as they tried to close out the match. VCU proved to have one last run in it, as the Rams clawed back to even the set score at 22-22. Notre Dame regrouped and won each of the next three points to win the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Sydney Kuhn paced the Irish attack in the morning session, hammering out a team-high 17 kills and adding 13 digs for her third double-double of 2017. The senior finished just two kills shy of matching her career high.
ND STAT OF THE MATCH
The Irish dominated from the service line, dishing out 12 aces in the match as opposed to VCU's three. Johnson led the way for Notre Dame, totaling a career-high six aces, which are the most by a student-athlete since Adrianna Stasiuk also recorded six against Marquette on October 16, 2006. Ryann DeJarld also had a big-time performance, totaling four aces.
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- Notre Dame's 4-0 start to the season is the best since the program began the 2005 campaign 7-0.
- The Irish are 1-0 against VCU in the all-time series, as Friday's match was the first meeting between the two sides.
- The Irish recorded a hitting percentage of .500 in the first set, marking the first time the team has posted a mark of .500+ in a set since doing so against Georgia Tech on October 31, 2014.
- Natalie Johnson set a career high in aces with six in the win.
- DeJarld continued her streak of matches with 20+ digs to four after posting 27 in the win over the Rams.
- Caroline Holt dished out 43 assists, marking her third match of the season with 40+ assists.
- Jemma Yeadon has recorded a double-double in all three matches she has played in this season. The sophomore finished with 12 kills and 14 digs.
- Meg Morningstar led the Irish with seven blocks, the most she has recorded in a match this season.
The Irish have a quick turnaround, as the squad faces Bowling Green on Friday evening at the Stroh Center at 7 p.m. Fans unable to travel with the team can watch the match here.
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Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men's lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor's degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master's degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.