Oct. 2, 2016
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Irish used a gritty performance to stay perfect in the ACC on Sunday afternoon, defeating Wake Forest by a final score of 3-1. The win pushes Notre Dame's win streak to five matches and improves its record to 13-3 on the season and 4-0 in conference play.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish trailed for much of the first set but showed its resilience by managing to pull out a first set victory for the fourth consecutive outing. Down 23-21, Notre Dame won five of the final six points to take the opener 26-24 and gain a 1-0 advantage in the match. The Demon Deacons responded in the second stanza, winning the set 25-18 to level the match at 1-1.
The third set was back and forth, featuring a number of runs from both sides. Wake Forest led 21-18 late in the frame but the Irish answered with a 5-0 run to go up 23-21 and outlasted the visitors in the set with a 28-26 victory.
Notre Dame and Wake Forest battled for much of the fourth set, as the score was deadlocked at 16-16 midway through the stanza. Notre Dame then went on a roll, grabbing eight of the next 11 points to earn match point at 24-19. The Demon Deacons refused to go quietly, winning the next four points before a Sam Fry kill gave the Irish the 25-23 set win to seal the match at 3-1.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Fry was Notre Dame's best attacker on Sunday, leading the team with 15 kills. The junior also made a major impact on the defensive side, totaling six blocks to keep the Wake Forest attack at bay. The Cincinnati native also added three digs in the win.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE MATCH (I)
For the second straight match the Notre Dame block had a big performance, totaling 18.5 blocks against the Demon Deacons. Katie Higgins led the way for the Irish with 10 blocks, matching her career high in the category. Rebecca Nunge (9), Jemma Yeadon (6) and Fry (6) each also totaled five or more blocks on Sunday.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE MATCH (II)
The Irish entered Sunday's match as one of the top serving units in the country and did nothing but solidify their ranking against Wake Forest. Notre Dame dished out nine aces in four sets while not giving up a single ace to the Demon Deacons. Junior Caroline Holt led the team with four and Sydney Kuhn added three in the dominant display.
HEAD COACH Jim McLaughlin'S TAKE
On the team's grit on Sunday...
"In the end of every game we had it but early points are as critical as late points. We don't need to be in that situation but I think these are lessons you have to learn to become the team you want to become."
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- Notre Dame's 13-3 record marks the best start since 2005 and its 4-0 ACC mark is the best in program history.
- The Irish are now 2-3 against Wake Forest in the all-time series, claiming their first ACC victory and first win over the Demon Deacons since 1982.
- Notre Dame has won five straight matches and nine of its last 10.
- The Irish improve to 7-2 when playing at home in 2016.
- Fry tallied at least 15 kills for the second time this season.
- Yeadon recorded her team-high fourth double double on Sunday with 10 kills and 10 digs.
- Nunge posted a career-high nine blocks in the winning effort.
- With four aces, Holt matched her personal record for the stat while playing with the Irish.
- Ryann DeJarld led the team with 19 digs, marking her 13th match with double digit digs.
The Irish are back on the road next weekend for matches at Syracuse at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7 and at Boston College at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9. Notre Dame then returns to Purcell Pavilion to host No. 10 North Carolina at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14 and NC State at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16.
To purchase tickets visit UND.com/BuyTickets.
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.