Sept. 22, 2013
Kansas 3, Notre Dame 1
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Behind 15 kills from senior All-American Caroline Jarmoc and a raucous crowd of over 1,250 at the Horejsi Center, Kansas University topped the University of Notre Dame volleyball team, 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-20, 25-16), to claim the Kansas Invitational title.
The Irish (6-5) battled the Jayhawks hard for much of the contest, especially in the first two frames where there were a total of 24 ties and 10 lead changes, but couldn’t stop the KU front line as the Jayhawks hit .299 for the match and totaled 12 blocks to just five for Notre Dame.
KU also capitalized on 25 attack errors for Notre Dame compared to 13 for the Jayhawks. In addition to Jarmoc’s big day, Taylor Soucie had 10 kills and no errors and Sarah McClinton totaled 14 kills. Setter Erin McNorton had 50 assists to pace Kansas.
“I thought we played pretty well overall today,” said head coach Debbie Brown. “We were much more competitive in today’s loss than in others this season. We responded well to the pressure that Kansas put on us. We competed hard throughout and had some great individual performances, but we just need to put it all together.”
Putting together a strong all-around weekend for the Irish was senior right side hitter Sammie Brown, who led the team with 38 kills and also chipped in 28 digs and 19 assists while hitting at a .329 clip. For her efforts, Brown earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
“Sammie was outstanding today and her all-around play has been very impressive,” said Brown. “She is finally getting healthy and we are expecting her to be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC. She is a great all-around player.”
Also performing well Sunday afternoon was freshman middle blocker Simmone Collins (five kills, .625 attack %) and senior setter Maggie Brindock (42 assists, nine digs, six kills and four blocks).
Notre Dame begins its Atlantic Coast Conference trek next weekend as the Irish travel to North Carolina and N.C. State for a pair of matches. The Irish will meet the Tar Heels at 7 p.m. Friday and the Wolfpack at 2 p.m. Sunday.
“No one on this team takes losing lightly,” said Brown. “We are frustrated with the losses, but we are playing at a much higher level than the first weekend. We are definitely making progress and the schedule prepared us well. We have a high level of confidence entering league play.”
The Irish and Jayhawks put on a show in the first set as the squads looked evenly matched throughout the frame. Each side had a star, as Brown was unstoppable on the Irish side with nine kills and four digs, while McClinton wasn’t half bad herself with six kills in 11 chances. The two teams all but played to a draw throughout much of the set as the score was tied a remarkable 14 times. Kansas looked to take control late in the frame as it held an 18-17 lead and extended it to 22-17 on the strength of two kills by Jarmoc. Later on, KU had set point at 24-19. However, Notre Dame wouldn’t give up as a kill from Nicole Smith, a service ace from Andrea McHugh and a kill from Brown forced KU to take a timeout with the score 24-22. Notre Dame picked a bad time for its lone service error of the match though as McHugh hit one into the net to give the Jayhawks the 25-22 victory.
Notre Dame shook off the first-set defeat to rebound in set two for an impressive 25-19 victory. The two teams were locked at 15 when the Irish went on a run that would ultimately help them claim the set. A kill by Brindock got the squad started followed by a block by Brindock and Houser and a kill by Alugbue that stretched the lead to 18-15. After a Kansas timeout Brindock and Houser sent back another Jayhawk attack to give the Irish a 19-15 lead. Later in the set Kansas had the serve, trailing 23-19. However, a service error by McNorton gave Notre Dame set point and another unforced error by the Jayhawks gave the Irish the win and 1-1 score heading into the locker room.
Kansas got back on track in set three as it claimed a 25-20 set victory. The Jayhawks first big run came when they lead 10-8. What followed were three Irish errors out of four points to extend the lead to 14-8. The Irish fought hard the whole set though, ultimately cutting the lead to 20-18. However, another Irish service error killed whatever momentum was built and allowed KU to hold onto at least a three point lead the rest of the set. The Jayhawks eventually finished off the frame with a kill from Soucie and a block from Soucie and Chelsea Albers.
The Jayhawks closed out the match in the fourth with a 25-19 victory. KU built an early 13-5 lead and never looked back as they maintained at least a five point lead for the remainder of the match. A double block from Jarmoc and McNorton sealed the victory.
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director