Sept. 16, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - On the strength of 20 kills, 10 digs and four blocks from sophomore Toni Alugbue, the Notre Dame volleyball team rallied from a 1-0 deficit to snap Kansas' nine-match winning streak with a 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-23, 29-27) win on Sunday in the final match of the Golden Dome Invitational at Purcell Pavilion.
"Winning this match was huge for us as a team," said head coach Debbie Brown. "After suffering some tough losses this season against elite teams, I thought our team really did a nice job of taking the lessons they learned from those matches and applying them today. We appeared very poised today at the end of sets and were able to finish."
Notre Dame (7-5) finished off the streaking Jayhawks (11-2) with a wild fourth-set win, 29-27. The two squads went back and forth early, but the Irish took leads of five at 14-9, 15-10 and 17-12. However, the Jayhawks rallied behind three kills within four points from tournament MVP Caroline Jarmoc to tie the set at 18. Notre Dame built a three point lead at 22-19, but again Kansas came back to knot the score at 22. The Irish had opportunities to clinch the match at 24-23 and 25-24, but Catherine Carmichael had a kill and a block to keep the Jayhawks in the match. Tied at 25-25, Kansas had a pair of opportunities to steal the fourth set and send it to a fifth and deciding set. Notre Dame wouldn't give in though as but junior Andrea McHugh continued her monster fourth set, tallying two key kills that kept the Irish in the match. With sophomore Kathleen Severyn serving, an attack error by Sara Mcclinton and a kill by Maggie Brindock gave the Irish the thrilling set and match victory. McHugh keyed the Irish in the fourth set, as she had seven monster kills and no errors to hit .438. She also had nine digs in the set.
"I was really proud of how Q (Andrea McHugh) stepped up in the fourth set," said Brown. "She appeared poised and had some huge kills and digs that propelled us to victory."
Three Irish attackers turned in double-digit kill performances with Alugbue leading the way with 20. The performance marked her third 20-plus kill total of the season. Alugbue also had her sixth double-double of the season as she added 10 digs. Also in double figures in kills were Jeni Houser (14) and McHugh (13). McHugh turned in her fourth double-double of the season as she had 14 digs to go along with her 13 kills. Junior Andie Olsen chipped in eight kills and had a team-high seven blocks. Maggie Brindock broke her career-high with 51 assists, with also turning in 10 digs, five kills and three blocks. Freshman libero Taylor Morey led the squad with 17 digs.
"Toni (Alugbue) turned in another spectacular all-around match," said Brown. "Her ability to provide consistent play was invaluable today as she performed well at the net and in the back collecting digs."
Mcclinton led the Jayhawks with 18 kills, while Jarmoc had 15. Setter Erin Mcnorton had a match-high 54 assists.
Kansas, Loyola Marymount and Notre Dame all finished 2-1 on the weekend, but the Jayhawks won the tournament due to the second tiebreaker of sets allowed. The Lions took second, while the Irish took third.
The Irish open BIG EAST play next weekend on the road as they travel to Cincinnati on Friday, Sept. 21 and to Louisville on Sunday, Sept. 23.
Kansas claimed the first set by ending the set on a 5-2 run after the score was knotted at 20. Tolefree had a pair of kills during the run and Carmichael ended the set with a kill.
The Irish held off a Kansas comeback in set two to tie the match at one as the squads headed into the locker room. Up 23-20 after a kill by Alugbue and blocks from Olsen and Alugbue and Olsen and Brindock, the Irish allowed the Jayhawks to tie the score at 24. However, back-to-back attack errors from Mcclinton gave Notre Dame the 26-24 victory.
In another close set, Notre Dame took the third set, 25-23, to set up for the thrilling fourth set. Tied at 22, Alugbue pounded out a kill to give the Irish the serve. Severyn came in and promptly delivered a huge service ace to put the Irish on the brink. After KU moved to within one at 24-23 on a Tolefree kill, Alugbue ended the set with another kill, her seventh of the set.
Caroline Jarmoc - Kansas (MVP)
Taylor Tolefree - Kansas
Felicia Arriola - Loyola Marymount
Kathleen Luft - Loyola Marymount
Toni Alugbue - Notre Dame
Jeni Houser - Notre Dame
Sarah Brown - Xavier
1. Kansas (2-1)
2. Loyola Marymount (2-1)
3. Notre Dame (2-1)
4. Xavier (0-3)
*Second Tiebreaker of Sets Allowed Used