Oct. 26, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame volleyball team used a powerful offensive attack and a dominant defensive front to roll past Pittsburgh, 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-11, 25-14), in Friday action at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse in front of a standing-room only crowd of 1,673.
The Irish (16-6, 9-1 BIG EAST) powered down 58 kills to 43 for Pitt and out-blocked the Panthers 19 to nine. Six Irish student-athletes turned in four or more blocks.
An abundance of outstanding performances led the Irish to their seventh straight victory. Junior setter Maggie Brindock had eight kills, 43 assists, a service ace, two digs and seven blocks while hitting an impressive .571. The eight kills tied a career high as she notched a season high in kills and blocks.
Sophomore Toni Alugbue powered home a match-high 14 kills while leading the team in digs with a career-high 22. The Del Aire, Calif., native hit .444 and tied her career high with seven blocks. She also added five assists and a service ace.
Senior Hilary Eppink continued her BIG EAST dominance with 13 kills and seven blocks as she hit .385.
The match opened with a tight first set that saw 15 ties and seven lead changes, but turned into a rout as the Irish dominated sets two and three. Notre Dame hit .524 in set three and .542 in set four as the Panthers hit -.107 and .034 in sets three and four, respectively.
"I was really proud with how we played around the net tonight," said head coach Debbie Brown. "To have 19 blocks is quite an accomplishment, not to mention the number of kills we had and the percentage we hit at."
The opening set was the closest of the match as the two squads were knotted at 22 before a kill by Brindock and Eppink gave the Irish set point. A kill by Kate Yeazel moved the score to 24-23, before another kill from Brindock gave Notre Dame the 25-23 win and a 1-0 lead.
Pitt tied the match up with a 25-20 win in set two. The Panthers made their run with the score at 16-15 in favor of the visiting squad. Scoring seven of the next nine points, Pitt pushed the margin to 23-17 and cruised from there as a block by Jasmine Dittrich and Jessica Wynn ended the set.
Notre Dame dominated the third set behind the serving of Sammie Brown, Andrea McHugh and Erin Klosterman. With the score at 11-8, Brown took the serve and helped jumpstart a 14-3 run to end the set. McHugh served from 14-9 to 17-10, while Klosterman served from 19-10 to 24-11. An Alugbue kill ended the set, giving the Irish the 2-1 lead. The score was only tied once and had no lead changes.
The Irish closed out the match with a dominating 25-14 win in set four as they led from beginning to end. With the score at 22-14, Notre Dame scored the final three points to close out the match. After a service error gave McHugh the serve, a block by Brindock and Eppink gave the Irish match point. An attack error by Mechael Guess ended the night for the Panthers.
Notre Dame returns to action at 2 p.m. on Sunday when it welcomes in USF to Purcell Pavilion. The match is Notre Dame's annual Dig Pink match. T-shirts will be sold for $10 and Notre Dame's pink jerseys will be auctioned off online. Head coach Debbie Brown is pledging $5 for every dig the Irish record in the match. Fans that would like to match Coach Brown's donation can call 574-631-7356.