Sept. 15, 2007
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Despite leading 2-0 after the first two games of Saturday's match against No. 11 California, the Notre Dame volleyball team could not withstand a late Golden Bear barrage as Cal took the final three games in a 3-2 (23-30, 24-30, 30-28, 30-24, 15-11) Irish loss. The setback dipped Notre Dame's record to 3-6 on the season entering a Sunday (Sept. 16) contest against host Santa Clara at the Leavey Center to wrap up the Bronco Invitational.
Notre Dame smoked the competition in the first period with a .407 hitting
mark and four kills apiece from sophomore Serinity Phillips (Valley Center,
Calif./Valley Center) and junior Justine Stremick (Langdon Area,
N.D./Langdon Area). Two aces by sophomore Jamel Nicholas (Gibsonia,
Pa./Pine-Richland) over a three-point Irish run boost the squad ahead,
25-18, to put the game out of reach. Earlier in the frame with ND behind,
8-6, the Golden Bears recorded five-straight errors and freshman Kellie
Sciacca (Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer) tacked on a kill to provide a
four-point lead for the Irish and finish off an eight-point swing.
Six blocks and steady defensively play paved the way for Notre Dame to hold
Cal (10-1) to a .083 mark in game two. Sciacca and Stremick each had three
rejections with sophomores Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey)
and Kim Kristoff (Carmel, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit) chipping in two each. Fesl,
Sciacca, and Phillips all notched kills to lead ND to an early 4-0 edge, as
the Irish put together streaks of four unanswered points on four occasions
in the game.
Cal took a five-point lead (15-10) in game three before the Irish mounted a
comeback to eventually take a 27-25 lead when Stremick and Kristoff
tag-teamed to block Hana Cutura's attack. Ellen Orchard ignited a late spurt for the Golden Bears by turning in two kills and a pair of aces to close the scoring.
Cutura had a game-high 21 kills, and pacing the Irish in that category were
Phillips and senior Adrianna Stasiuk
(Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South), both of whom registered 13. Stremick and Fesl each had 12.
Fourteen draws marked a fourth game in which junior Mallorie Croal (Villa
Park, Calif./Mater Dei) saw her first action of the season and punched in a
kill to close ND within one, 20-19. A streak of five unanswered scores by
Cal was halted with a kill by Phillips, but the Golden Bears would open
their lead back up to six points to take the fourth, then later the fifth,