Nov. 7, 2010
Box Score |
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - In the highest scoring three-set match for the Notre Dame volleyball team in the 25-point era, the Irish fell to No. 13 Northern Iowa, 3-0 (27-25, 27-25, 29-27) in front of 1,460 fans on hand for Senior Day Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion. The non-conference defeat dropped Notre Dame's overall record to 15-11, as Northern Iowa won its 19th straight match to improve to 24-2. The Panthers are now 11-1 on the road this season.
Each set went beyond the 25-point minimum as the two teams combined to tally 160 scores, the most in a three-set match for Notre Dame in the 25-point era. It was also the most points scored by an Irish team in a three-set loss. Furthermore, it was just the fourth time in program history the Irish competed in three straight sets decided by two points, the last occurrence coming in 2004 against Northern Iowa (Notre Dame once played in four straight sets decided by the same margin against California in 1991).
In fact, the regular-season home finale loss to Northern Iowa in 2004 was also the last defeat suffered by Notre Dame on Senior Day.
Neither team took a significant lead in the first set until Notre Dame built a three-point cushion at 19-16. Northern Iowa then rattled off four straight points to take a one-point lead at 20-19. Freshman Andrea McHugh connected at 23-22 to give Notre Dame another lead and struck again to tie the set at 24-24 on her sixth kill of the frame. Freshman Sammie Brown then used McHugh's assist to give Notre Dame set point at 25-24 before the Panthers scored three straight.
McHugh ended the day with 12 kills and a team-high 16 digs.
Brown was one dig away from a double-double as she dished out 39 assists with a pair of blocks. Her efforts helped Notre Dame hit .231, as the Panthers slugged at a .264 rate.
Michelle Burow, who teamed with Bre Peyton for a block to win the first set, finished with a match-high 16 kills on a .500 average. Peyton also kept the Irish on their heels as the setter had eight kills, eight digs and 41 assists.
One of Peyton's two aces came on the first serve of the second set as the visitors seized control by rolling out to a 20-13 lead. The Irish responded with an 11-4 run to tie things at 24-24. Notre Dame's eighth attack error of the set paved the way for Burow to burry a Payton assist for the win at 27-25.
Junior Kristen Dealy had six kills in the frame and 14 kills to go along with 11 digs and three blocks - two solo - in the contest. Her double-double bolstered her dig/set average to 6.43 over the last two Irish matches after scooping a career-high 34 shots at Villanova on Nov. 5.
Coming out of intermission, Notre Dame cruised to a 5-0 lead that bumped up to 9-1 on a kill by senior Kellie Sciacca. Sciacca had two blocks in the set and four blocks, four kills and four digs in the match.
The Panthers scratched back into the fray to knot the score at 20-20. There were five tied counts to follow and Notre Dame even had a pair of opportunities to put Northern Iowa away on two set points.
Payton found Burow twice after the 27-27 mark for the win.
Sophomore Hilary Eppink was one of three Irish players with 10+ kills, finishing with 14 on a .480 average.
Junior Frenchy Silva added 14 digs.
The Irish hit the road to wrap up the regular season with BIG EAST Conference matches at Rutgers (Nov. 13) and Seton Hall (Nov. 14).