Oct. 28, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame volleyball team earned its ninth sweep of the season on Sunday as the Irish took down BIG EAST foe USF, 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-21), at Purcell Pavilion in the team's annual Dig Pink match.
The Irish hit an impressive .333 for the match and held the Bulls to just a .119 clip, while Notre Dame pounded out 11 more kills (44-33) than USF. Seven players tallied three or more kills led by sophomore Jeni Houser, who had 11 kills and hit .474. Senior Hilary Eppink chipped in with nine kills, three digs and three blocks while hitting .500, and setter Maggie Brindock had her usual all around solid performance with 35 assists, 10 digs, three kills and three blocks. The double-double was the ninth on the year for the Rockwall, Texas, native.
With the 3-0 sweep the Irish won their eighth match in a row dating back to a 3-0 win over Syracuse on Sept. 30. Notre Dame has now swept nine opponents this season, including six during the nine-match winning streak. All nine wins have come in conference play as the Irish have secured their spot in November's BIG EAST Tournament in Milwaukee, Wis.
"Our team handled the short serve of USF really well today," said head coach Debbie Brown. "Jeni was still able to have a monster game on offense for us despite USF planning for her and Hilary had her usual steady game as she only had one error."
The official tally for money raised won't be known until the online jersey auction ends on Monday, but if the 1,533 people in attendance on Sunday is any indication, Dig Pink 2012 should be a great success.
Notre Dame (17-6, 10-1 BIG EAST) hits the road next weekend for a pair of conference tilts. The Irish meet up with Seton Hall at 2 p.m. on Saturday in South Orange, N.J., and then battle Rutgers at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Piscataway, N.J.
The Irish took the first set, 25-20, after pulling away from the Bulls midway through the set. Tied at 12, the Irish went on a 5-1 run to take a 17-13 lead. Two Bull errors, kills from Andrea McHugh and Andie Olsen and a service ace from Sammie Brown accounted for the points. USF trimmed the margin to two several times near the end of the set, but couldn't cut into the lead anymore as the Irish ended the set on a 3-0 run. The Irish hit an impressive .379, while holding The Bulls to .188.
Notre Dame rolled in set two as it led from beginning to end in earning a 25-12 victory. The Irish jumped on them early, taking a 4-2 lead and turning it into a 7-3 advantage with Taylor Morey serving. After the Bulls cut the lead to three at 10-7, the Irish went to work behind the serving of Erin Klosterman as they extended their lead to 10 at 17-7. Notre Dame held a 20-12 lead when Morey came back to serve. Houser and Eppink had two kills each to clinch the second set and give the Irish a 2-0 lead heading into the break. Notre Dame hit .469 for the set, while holding the Bulls to a .000 attack percentage. The Bulls had seven errors to go along with just seven kills. Eppink had five kills on just six chances, as she hit .833.
The Irish closed out the match in set three as they head on for a 25-21 win. Notre Dame took a 21-15 lead but watched as the Bulls went on a 5-1 run to trim the lead to two at 22-20. However, the Irish wouldn't be denied the sweep as they pounded out two kills from McHugh and Olsen to give them match point. After Kayla Walton had a kill to cut the lead to 24-21, Olsen ended the match with a kill.