Nov. 17, 2017
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame (20-8, 10-7 ACC) turned in a complete performance on Friday evening inside Purcell Pavilion, as the Irish dismantled North Carolina (14-11, 11-6 ACC) in a straight-set route (25-13, 25-20, 25-14). With the victory the Irish recorded their 20th win of the season and have now registered back-to-back seasons of 20+ victories for the first time since the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Junior libero Ryann DeJarld made history in the match, registering her 629th dig of the season in the first set to pass former standout Meg Henican for the Notre Dame program single-season record. DeJarld finished with 22 digs and has 647 on the year.
A trio of Irish hitters finished with double-digit kills. Junior Rebecca Nunge and sophomore Jemma Yeadon totaled 13 kills each and senior Sam Fry finished with 10 to lead Notre Dame to the win. Senior Caroline Holt put the hitters in excellent positions all evening, recording 33 assists over the three sets.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish continued their recent trend of putting together great starts to matches on Friday evening, as Notre Dame dominated the Tar Heels in the first set en route to a 25-13 win to grab an early 1-0 lead in the contest. The Irish posted a hitting percentage of .406 (16-3-32) while holding UNC to -.030 (7-8-33). Nunge led the offensive charge with seven kills.
Notre Dame carried its excellent form of play from the first set into the second, reeling off the first six points in the set to take control. The Irish led 20-13 before North Carolina tried to stage a comeback but Notre Dame fended off the Tar Heels and took the frame 25-20 to go on top 2-0 in the match. Sixteen of the Irish points in the second came in the form of kills.
The Irish found themselves in uncharted territory early in the third set, as North Carolina held a 6-4 lead, its first of the night. The lead didn't last long for the visitors, as Notre Dame abruptly responded with an 8-1 run to open up a 12-7 advantage in the third. Once the Irish got a lead in the set they put the match away, cruising to a 25-14 third set win to complete the sweep of the Tar Heels.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Nunge set the tone early for the Irish and finished tied for the team lead in kills with 13. The junior turned in her second-highest hitting percentage of the season with a mark of .478 on Friday (13-2-23). Nunge now has 11 matches in 2017 with at least 10 kills.
STAT OF THE MATCH
The Irish dominated both sides of the net against the Tar Heels, hitting .287 as a team while holding to the opposition to a percentage of just .051. Notre Dame has now held seven opponents to a percentage under .100 this season.
HEAD COACH Jim McLaughlin'S TAKE
On the play of Ryann DeJarld...
"The expectations for her are through the ceiling but she can do it. She is getting better and she adds a lot to this team. I want her to get better everyday. She's going to be a great volleyball player at the highest level."
On how the win impacts the team's postseason chances...
"All wins are big. Winning is hard but we are on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament so we have to win. The team understands that. We have talked about it and they are delivering. We are going to have do that against NC State on Sunday.
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- With the win the Irish leveled the all-time series with North Carolina at 6-6.
- Notre Dame improves to 10-2 in three-set matches in 2017.
- The Irish have recorded back-to-back 20+ win season for the first time since the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
- The win pushes Notre Dame's active winning streak to four matches, marking the third time this season the team has strung at least four straight wins together.
- With eight digs in the win senior Sydney Kuhn surpassed the 1,000-dig milestone for her career, becoming just the 16th player in program history to reach the threshold. Kuhn has 1,001 career digs.
- Fry has reached double-digit kills 10 times during her senior campaign.
- Yeadon's 13 kills mark the 24th time this season that the sophomore has notched 10+ kills in a match.
- DeJarld has now finished with 20+ digs in 20 matches this season.
The Irish play their final home match of the regular season at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 19 against NC State inside Purcell Pavilion. The match will air live on WatchESPN/ACC Network Extra.
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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.