Nov. 16, 2012
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Behind 18 kills and 11 digs from J'beria Davis, the No. 6 seed USF Bulls pulled off the 3-2 (25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19) upset over the No. 3 seed University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Friday night at the Al McGuire Center in the quarterfinals of the 2012 BIG EAST Championship.
With the loss the Irish fall to 20-8 on the year. They close out the regular season at Ohio next Friday and will then await word on a possible at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Championship Selection Show is set for Sunday, Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU.
The loss to the Bulls was the first ever for the Irish (previously 8-0) and was the first time the Irish failed to win at least one match in the BIG EAST Tournament.
Davis led USF, as the senior hit .467 for the match. BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Erin Fairs had 12 kills and 14 digs, while fellow freshman Ciara Brown had 11 kills and hit .385.
Andie Olsen's 14 kills and five blocks led the Irish, as the Oakland, Calif., native hit .619 for the match. Second team all-BIG EAST selection Maggie Brindock had six kills, 44 assists and 13 digs as she recorded her 13th double-double of the season. Fellow junior Andrea McHugh had 11 kills, two assists, six digs and two blocks, while first team all-BIG EAST member Jeni Houser recorded 12 kills, three digs and two blocks.
The two teams were all but even in hitting as the Bulls hit .292 to .286 for the Irish. Notre Dame was undone by poor serving that saw just one service ace to eight service errors, while the Bulls had seven aces to only three errors.
USF jumped out to a quick start with a 25-17 win in set one. The teams went back and forth early before the Bulls made a pair of runs that gave them control of the set. Up just one at 13-12, three consecutive errors (two attack errors and a blocking error) by the Irish gave the Bulls a 16-12 lead. Following a kill from Brindock, a kill from Caitlyn Breen and another blocking error on the Irish gave USF an 18-13 lead. Later in the set with the score 21-17 in favor of the Bulls, USF closed out the set with four consecutive points. A kill from Ciara Brown and another Irish attack error gave the Bulls a 23-17 lead and a service ace by Davis and a block by Fairs and Andrea Rodriguez Gomez ended the first set. The Bulls hit .448 for the opening frame to just .206 for the Irish. Notre Dame had six attack errors to just one for USF. The Irish were also hurt by three service errors.
The Irish rebounded nicely in set two, taking a 25-18 win into the break. Only up one early at 6-5, the Irish used a kill by Olsen and blocks by Toni Alubgue and Olsen and Houser and Olsen to go up 9-5. The Irish increased their lead to seven at 15-8 on a kill by Brindock and maintained at least a five-point lead throughout the remainder of the set. Back-to-back kills from Olsen took an 18-13 lead and made it 20-13. The Irish closed out the set on back-to-back blocks from Alugbue and Olsen. The second set hitting percentages were almost reversed from set one as the Irish hit .452 while USF hit .206. Olsen went a perfect four-for-four in attack attempts and also had four blocks. McHugh, Brindock, Alugbue and Houser each had three kills in the set.
Set three belonged to the Bulls as they took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-23 win. USF jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead behind two kills from Fairs and two service aces. They held a four-point lead at 13-9 and kept a three-point margin for much of the middle portion of the set. The Irish made their move late in the set, tying the score at 19 after a kill by Olsen and an attack error on the Bulls. USF proceeded to reel off four straight points on three kills and an attack error by the Irish. With set point for the Bulls at 24-20, the Irish made a rally as a kill by Houser and two attack errors on USF cut the margin to 24-23. However, the rally was thwarted after a kill from Davis put the Bulls on the brink of a quarterfinal upset.
USF closed out the upset with a 25-19 win in set four. The Bulls held a slim 18-17 lead but reeled off three consecutive points to push the lead to 21-17. The Irish pulled to within three at 22-19, but the Bulls ran off three straight points to close out the match. An Irish service error made it 23-19, before a blocking error gave the Bulls match point. Fairs nailed down her 12th kill of the night to end the set and match.