Sept. 22, 2017
By Robby Hamman
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Notre Dame (10-2, 0-1) fell to Louisville (7-4, 1-0) in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Friday evening in Cardinal Arena in five sets by a final score of 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-11). The loss is just the second of the season for the Irish.
The Irish attack was led by sophomore Jemma Yeadon and senior Sydney Kuhn. Yeadon posted a team-high 13 kills and Kuhn added 12. Junior Ryann DeJarld recorded a team-high 28 kills and senior Caroline Holt paced Notre Dame in assists with 34.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish came out ready to play to open the match, gaining an early four-point advantage at 10-6. The Cardinals fought back and managed to level the score at 14-14. Notre Dame once again tried to pull away from the hosts, reeling off five straight points but the Cardinals rallied and found a way to take the first frame by a score of 25-23 to grab an early 1-0 advantage in the match.
Louisville controlled the early stages of the second set, as the Cardinals held a lead for much of the stanza. Trailing 16-13, the Irish won three straight points to even the score at 16-16. The Cardinals responded and reclaimed the lead, holding a one-point lead late in the second at 23-22. Notre Dame dug deep and rattled off three consecutive crucial points, one of which was an ace off Natalie Johnson's serve, to take the second set 25-23 and tie the match up at 1-1.
The Cardinals came out of the 10-minute intermission locked in and built an eight-point lead at 17-9. It appeared the hosts would take a 2-1 lead in the match but the Irish had other ideas. Notre Dame stormed back by winning 13 of the next 17 points to take its first lead of the set at 22-21. The two sides traded points to 25-25 and then Kuhn came up with back-to-back kills to complete the comeback at 27-25 and put the Irish on top in the match at 2-1.
The Irish found themselves in a hole in the fourth set, but unlike the third stanza, were unable to make a comeback. The Cardinals never trailed in the frame and took the set by a score of 25-18 to force a fifth and final set.
Notre Dame trailed early in the fifth frame by a score of 8-4 but managed to claw its way back by winning each of the next four points to even the score at 8-8. Unfortunately for the Irish, the Cardinals reclaimed the lead and never relinquished it in the rest of the way, as Louisville took the fifth 15-11 to win the match 3-2.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Senior Sydney Kuhn notched her sixth double-double of the season, finishing the night with 12 kills and 16 digs. The Wichita, Kansas, native added a season-high five blocks and an ace to cap off her evening.
ND STAT OF THE MATCH
Notre Dame senior Natalie Johnson fired two aces against the Cardinals, bringing her season total to 24. The 24 aces mark a career high for the senior. Johnson has recorded at least one ace in 11 of 12 matches in 2017 and has recorded multiple aces on seven occurences.
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- The Irish posted 13.0 team blocks against the Cardinals and have now recorded 10+ team blocks in seven matches this season.
- Notre Dame recorded a season-high seven aces in the match.
- Kuhn finished the match with 12 kills and 13 digs, marking her sixth double-double of 2017.
- DeJarld tallied 20+ digs for the ninth time this season with 28.
- Yeadon has recorded at least 10 kills in all 10 matches she has played in during the 2017 season.
Notre Dame makes the trip from Louisville to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on the Wolfpack. The Irish and NC State will meet on the court at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24 to complete the team's first ACC road trip of the season.
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Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men's lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor's degrees in sport management and business administration and earned his master's degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.