Sept. 2, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Behind tournament MVP Toni Alugbue, the Notre Dame volleyball team put the finishing touches on a perfect weekend on Sunday as it swept Eastern Kentucky, 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-20), in the final match of the 2012 Shamrock Invitational held at Notre Dame's Purcell Pavilion.
Alugbue, who tallied 49 kills and hit .369 on the weekend, pounded out 17 kills against the Colonels to cement her status as tournament MVP. Sophomore Jeni Houser (44 kills, nine blocks) and junior Maggie Brindock (111 assists, 28 digs) also earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
Houser had an efficient match, tallying 10 kills on 22 attempts, while Brindock had another double-double with 29 assists and 10 digs. The Rockwall, Texas, native has recorded double-doubles in four of the team's six matches this season. Houser has reached double-digits in kills in every match this year. Houser and Brindock also had four and three blocks, respectively.
Leading the team outright in digs for the fifth time this year was freshman libero Taylor Morey, who notched 22 to mark the second most of her career.
The Irish had 12 blocks on the day, which is tied for the most on the young season.
"I was proud of the team for coming out and taking care of business," said head coach Debbie Brown. We were excited to be able to play everyone and watch everyone contribute. The experience some of the younger players gained from playing against another opponent will be very valuable for them later on this season and later in their career."
The Irish cruised through set one as they hit .351 to EKU's .000. Notre Dame won 25-16 on the strength of eight kills from Alugbue. She hit .438 during the set. The Colonels held close in the beginning, cutting the lead to one at 8-7 on a block by Toni Michalski. Notre Dame then proceeded to go on 4-0 run behind the serving of Morey to stretch the lead to 12-7. Leading by five at 19-14, the Irish ran off three more points again with Morey serving. After the teams traded points, kills by Houser and Alugbue gave Notre Dame the set and a 1-0 lead.
The Colonels held with the Irish throughout much of the second set, going on a 4-0 to turn a 20-14 Irish lead into a close 20-18 contest. The teams proceeded to trade points for the rest of the set as the Irish closed it out with a kill from Alugbue and an attack error from EKU. Alugbue led the Irish with six kills, while Houser and Vonderhaar each chipped in with three.
Notre Dame put the third set to bed quickly as it raced out to a 19-9 lead and cruised to a 25-20 victory. With the early lead, the Irish were able to put in several newcomers as freshmen Annie Flynn, Hanna Muzzonigro and Haley Bonneval and sophomore Erin Klosterman all saw their first action of the season.
The Irish hit the road again next weekend for another elite tournament as they travel to Los Angeles for the USC Classic Tournament. They get started on Friday against Cal Poly at 7:30 p.m. ET before playing No. 20 San Diego (3 p.m. ET) and No. 5 USC (10 p.m. ET) on Saturday. All matches can be followed via live stats and may be available via a free live audio stream from USC. More information will be available later in the week on UND.com.
Notre Dame - 3-0
UAB - 2-1
Buffalo - 1-2
Eastern Kentucky - 0-3