Notre Dame Tops DePaul, 3-0
Oct. 12, 2012
CHICAGO - In an epic BIG EAST Conference volleyball match that saw thunderous hitting, monster blocks and long rallies, Notre Dame outlasted DePaul 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 26-24) on Friday at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
The Blue Demons have now dropped their last four matches and slipped to 6-14 and are 1-6 in league play. The Irish improve to 13-6 and are 6-1 in conference action.
Led by Callie Huebener's three solo blocks, the Blue Demons outblocked the Irish 10-7 including a 6-3 advantage in the final set. DePaul also received solid defense at the net by Rachel Aumann, Abbie Fleener and Natalie Rizzo, who all chipped in two or more block assists while Rizzo added a solo block on the evening.
Notre Dame tallied 53 kills and hit .254 (53-19-134) for the match. Paced by Toni Alugbue and Jeni Houser's 13 kills each, the Irish overcame a slow start and halted set points in the first and third sets with proficient offense.
Huebener led the Blue Demon's charge in the first set and raced out to a 7-1 advantage behind three kills and a solo block from the freshman outside hitter. With Huebener and DePaul getting off to a quick start, the "Pack-the-House" crowd at McGrath-Phillips Arena quickly became a factor in the match.
With the crowd cheering loudly for every Blue Demon point, DePaul continued to cruise and took a 16-12 advantage on another Huebener kill. Notre Dame quietly got back into the match and pulled within two (23-21) on an Irish block.
The Blue Demons reached set point on a kill from Aubree Hord at the 24-21 mark. A DePaul service error and back-to-back Irish kills knotted the first set at 24 and forced a Blue Demon timeout. With the frame on the line, Notre Dame converted on consecutive kills and took the first set 26-24.
Reeling from their come-from-behind victory, the Irish recorded 18 kills, hit for .293 and never trailed in the second set. Alugbue paced the floor with five second-set kills and hit .571 (5-1-7) for the stanza.
Coming out of the break, the Blue Demons were determined not to go down without a fight and used monstrous blocks to swing momentum in their favor in the final set.
The two teams traded points while long rallies, timely hitting and scrappy defense highlighted the third set. Tied at 22, Fleener and Rizzo teamed-up for a pair of dominating blocks that brought the season's largest crowd to their feet for DePaul's first set point. A Blue Demon service error followed by an Irish kill would tie the set at 24. Notre Dame closed out the set with a kill and service ace.
The Blue Demons return to the court at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 at Villanova.