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    Irish Defeated By No. 11 California In Five Games

    FIGHTING IRISH For the first time this season, Notre Dame dropped a five-game match when it was defeated by Cal, 3-2, on Saturday.
    For the first time this season, Notre Dame dropped a five-game match when it was defeated by Cal, 3-2, on Saturday.

    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, periods.


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