Sept. 14, 2002
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (8-2) posted its biggest victory of the young season with a thrilling five-game victory (30-32, 30-24, 29-31, 30-25, 15-10) over 10th-ranked Pepperdine (7-4) at the Joyce Center on Saturday evening. The big win over the visiting Waves provided the Irish with their 28th-consecutive home court win and second tournament title of the 2002 season at home.
"It is a huge win for us," Irish head coach Debbie Brown said
"We played with tremendous poise. We lost by two points in each of the games we dropped but the team did not fold. Losing games one and three is the hardest way to get to a five-game victory but our team showed its character and played very well."
A number of Irish players recorded career-bests in the match, but 2002 Golden Dome Invitational Most Valuable Player Katie Neff stood above them all on Saturday night. The junior middle blocker posted 21 kills on .409 hitting with five blocks, including a huge solo block that assured the Irish a victory in game four.
"Katie was outstanding all weekend," Brown said.
"She had a great spring and was one of our most improved players. This weekend she has the opportunity to step up and she seized it."
Teammates Jessica Kinder, Kristen Kinder and Emily Loomis joined Neff on the all-tournament team. Loomis had a match-high 22 kills against Pepperdine, Jessica Kinder had 13 kills and a career-best 22 digs and her sister Kristen Kinder led the Irish offense to a .284 hitting percentage with 67 assists in the match.
The victory over #10 Pepperdine provides the Irish with their first victory over a top-10 opponent since a win over #9 USC on Sept. 2, 1995. Notre Dame will continue the 2002 season on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Purdue. Its next home game is set for Sept. 21 against Michigan at 7 p.m..