Sep 8, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - On a day where many familiar faces earned a much-deserved day off, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team fell to the Polish club team TAURON MKS Dąbrowa Górnicza in an exhibition match, 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-18), on the final day of the Golden Dome Invitational at Purcell Pavilion.
"Since it was an exhibition match we felt like this was a great opportunity to play some of our younger or more inexperienced players in a match setting and get them some experience," said head coach Debbie Brown. "We also used the match as a great opportunity to rest some of our starters as the non-conference schedule can be very grueling with all these tournament matches over the course of several weekends in a row."
Earning valuable playing time and performing well were several young Irish players including sophomore setter Hanna Muzzonigro, who totaled team highs in assists (19) and blocks (4). The Gibsonia, Pa., native also tied for the team high in digs (4), while contributing three kills. Elsewhere, junior Meg Vonderhaar tallied a team-high nine kills and hit .286, while freshman Katie Higgins had two kills and four digs and the team's lone service ace.
"I was really pleased with Hanna (Muzzonigro) and Meg (Vonderhaar) today," said Brown. "I thought both of them really rose to the occasion and played hard. It was good for us to see that."
Playing against an inexperienced Irish lineup, the veteran Dabrowa squad pulled away at the end of set one to win 25-19. Dabrowa had no trouble on the offensive end, as they totaled a .432 attack percentage as four players had three or more kills. Notre Dame started off strong against the European foe, holding a lead as late as 10-9. However, a 4-0 run gave Dabrowa a 13-10 lead and forced the Irish to call a time out. Later in the set the Irish trimmed the lead to 19-16, but Dabrowa went on a 3-0 run to extend the lead to six. A kill by Natalia Guadalupe Brussa and a bad set from the Irish gave Dabrowa the early 1-0 lead.
Dabrowa had its way in set two, building a 9-2 lead and cruising to the 25-13 victory. Guadalupe Brussa went a perfect 7-for-7 in kill opportunities to lead the way for Dabrowa.
The overseas club closed out the match in set three with a 25-18 victory. The set was a back-and-forth affair until the end when Dabrowa ran off six straight points to close out the match. All six points were served from Welissa De Souza Gonzaga Sassa.
Guadalupe Brussa had 13 kills and Zaroslinska Katarzyna had 12 to pace Dabrowa.
Notre Dame continues its six-match home stand next Friday and Saturday as they welcome in Loyola-Chicago, Oakland and Auburn into Purcell Pavilion for the Shamrock Invitational. The Irish meet Loyola at 7 p.m. Friday before facing off with Oakland (1 p.m.) and Auburn (7:30 p.m.) Saturday.
Follow Notre Dame volleyball on Facebook (Facebook.com/NDVolleyball) and on Twitter (@NDVolleyball) for complete information on the Irish program.
Dabrowa went 3-0 on the weekend to claim the tournament title. The squad only dropped one set, including sweeps of Bowling Green and Notre Dame. Purdue was second with a 2-1 mark, followed by Notre Dame at 1-2 and Bowling Green at 0-3.
Irish junior Jeni Houser earned a spot on the all-tournament team after a spectacular weekend. The Louisville, Ky., native registered team highs in kills (25), service aces (4) and blocks (10). She also hit .321 in two matches.
Senior Andie Olsen also had a good weekend against Bowling Green and Purdue, totaling 16 kills and four blocks while hitting a team-high .424. The Oakland, Calif., native had only two errors. Elsewhere, Sammie Brown had 12 kills and a team-high 27 digs.
Golden Dome Invitational Results
No. 22 Purdue: 2-1
Notre Dame: 1-2
Bowling Green: 0-3
Strasz Krystyna, Dabrowa (MVP)
Eleonora Dziekiewicz, Dabrowa
Urban Katarzyna, Dabrowa
Catherine Rebarchak, Purdue
Carly Cramer, Purdue
Jeni Houser, Notre Dame
Laura Avila, Bowling Green
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director