Sept. 30, 2012
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Notre Dame 3, Syracuse 0
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Behind 12 kills each from sophomores Toni Alugbue and Jeni Houser, the Notre Dame volleyball team swept Syracuse 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-22) on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.
With the win the Irish improved to 10-6 overall, including 3-1 in BIG EAST play. Syracuse dropped to 8-10 and 0-3 in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame continues its four-match home stand next weekend as it plays host to Connecticut and St. John's on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, with both matches getting underway at 2 p.m. Fans can follow both matches online through live stats, with the match against the Red Storm being broadcast live on UND.com.
Notre Dame used a balanced attack to take down the Orange on Sunday. Alugbue and Houser led the way with 12 kills, while hitting .367 and .529, respectively, but four other players had four or more kills. Junior Andie Olsen had eight kills and only one error to hit .636 and senior Hilary Eppink tallied nine kills on her way to hitting .333. The Irish hit .379 for the match and powered home 51 kills. Junior setter Maggie Brindock had another all-around performance with 39 assists, five digs, four kills and two blocks. On her birthday, freshman libero Taylor Morey led the squad with 12 digs.
"I was really impressed with the way Andie (Olsen) played today up front," said head coach Debbie Brown. "She really attacked well and picked her spots. I also thought Maggie (Brindock) did a great job putting our attackers in a great place to get kills. To hit .379 as a team means that she didn't miss on a whole lot of passes and our attackers were able to finish. This was a good team win after the disappointment of yesterday."
For the second day in a row the Irish came out on fire, as they breezed past the Orange, 25-13, in set one. The squad hit .481, while limiting Syracuse to a .143 attack percentage. Houser led the way with seven kills on 10 chances, while Alugbue added four in six opportunities. Notre Dame dominated from the beginning as it raced out to an 8-2 lead behind four Houser kills. The Irish upped their lead to 10 with Erin Klosterman serving and increased it to 12 at 21-9 on an attack error by the Orange. Syracuse ended the set with a service error to give Notre Dame the 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead into the break with a 25-19 victory in set two. Olsen had four kills in five opportunities, while Houser went a perfect three-for-three on attack opportunities. The Irish hit .412, but allowed Syracuse to hit .360. Notre Dame took a four-point lead at 12-8 on an attack error by the Orange and increased it to five at 15-10 on an Olsen kill. They upped their lead to six at 18-12 on a bad set from Emily Betteridge and held on as the two squads traded points. A kill from Houser and an attack error by the Orange secured victory for the Irish. Syracuse ended each of the first two sets with an error.
The Irish closed out the match with a come-from-behind third set, finishing off the Orange with a 25-22 victory. Notre Dame trailed by as much as five at 17-12 before the comeback began. The squad cut the lead to two at 18-16 and again at 19-17, but the Orange again stretched their lead back to four at 21-17. At that point the Irish went on a 7-0 to turn the tables on the Orange and put themselves on the brink of a three-set victory. A Syracuse service error got the rally started and gave the Irish the serve. A block by Eppink and Brindock trimmed the margin to two, and a kill by Andrea McHugh cut it to one. Another Syracuse attack error tied the score at 21 for the first time since 6-6. Kills by Eppink and Alugbue and a block by Eppink gave Notre Dame match point. Following a kill by Andrea Fisher cut the lead to 24-22, another kill by Eppink closed out the set and match. The Westfield, Ind., product had four big kills in the third set, while Alugbue had five.