Sept. 8, 2007
Final Stats |
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
After hitting a season-best .267 and slamming down 78 kills, the Notre Dame volleyball team survived an Alabama squad - that was hot off an upset of No. 13 Ohio one night previous - to pick up a 3-2 (25-30, 30-28, 24-30, 30-19, 15-9) win in the second day of the Shamrock Invitational. The win on Saturday night at the Joyce Center was the third in as many tries for Notre Dame and evened its record to 3-3 overall and 2-0 in five-match affairs.
The Irish trailed 2-1 after three games but rallied to take the final pair, and for the second night in the row the ND had four players - sophomore Serinity Phillips (Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center), senior Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos), sophomore Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey), and senior Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South) - that notched double-doubles. Totaling 15 kills, freshman Kellie Sciacca (Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer) was a block shy of joining that group.
Stasiuk smashed the 1,000th kill of her career to tie game three at 25-25, and in doing so joined 16 other players in the program's history to reach that plateau. She also became only the seventh Notre Dame player ever to register 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career, as Jamie Lee (1994-97) and Angie Harris (1994-97) were the last to do so. Not too much later in the frame with the Irish ahead 29-28, Stasiuk connected on kill No. 1,002 to put the finishing touches on the Crimson Tide.
Crystal Hudson had 19 kills to lead Alabama, and was outdone only by Fesl's final count of 20 in that category.
"This was a very big win for us tonight, and I was very impressed with how Alabama played," said Irish head coach Debbie Brown. "I was also impressed with how we dug into games four and five and played really good volleyball when it mattered most. It's an encouraging sign of how good we can be down the road."
Tarutis led Notre Dame with 56 assists and collected 15 digs. Phillips had 18 kills to go along with 10 digs, and Stasiuk added 14 kills to 16 scoops.
Alabama (3-5) fired out of the gate and hit .368 in the opening frame led by Hudson's seven kills on 12 chances (.583). Six of Notre Dame's 18 kills in the game came from Fesl with Phillips adding five. It was Phillips that kept the Irish alive with a pair of kills and one of her two blocks in the game midway through the frame as ND forced 13 ties and seven lead changes. The Crimson Tide started to slowly creep away and would take a five-point lead (28-23) when Fesl turned on the switch for a quick kill and an ace to bring ND within three. Fesl' next serve sailed long and Hudson converted a kill on Bama's next attack to seal the deal.
Thirteen more lead changes came about in game two and neither squad led by more than three until Fesl's ace put Notre Dame on top, 21-17. The Irish tied things up at 15-15, then Stasiuk stretched out and made a diving save to keep the play alive and Bridget Fuentez's attempt found nothing but net, giving ND a one-point advantage.
The Irish struggled in game three, hitting only .111 with 13 kills. ND fell behind 10-4 early and would get within two (19-17) before Bama surged ahead with four-straight points as they cruised on to take the game.
But Notre Dame responded with a solid fourth game in which they hit .351 and took the lead for good after breaking an early 1-1 tie. They were able to carry that momentum into game five, with Sciacca tallying back-to-back unassisted kills that was part of a 5-1 Irish run to start the stanza. Stasiuk kept the drive alive when she made sure ND stayed ahead, 8-4, when her first attack was volleyed back to her to set up a converted second try. The Irish connected on 10 of 18 attempts for a .444 mark in the game.
Notre Dame faces No. 13 Ohio in the tournament's final match on Sunday (Sept. 9) at 2:30 p.m. (ET).