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Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

ND swept in pair of matches

Notre Dame continued to struggle in ACC competition this weekend, losing at home to No. 7 North Carolina on Friday and North Carolina State on Sunday in a pair of 3-0 sweeps.

The Tar Heels currently top the ACC leaderboard with a 15-1 conference record and 24-2 record overall, but North Carolina struggled Friday in the first set, as the Irish (6-21, 3-13 ACC) came back from an 18-12 deficit to tie the match at 20 points apiece. Notre Dame fought hard to keep the game tied at 23, but dropped the first set after back-to-back kills by redshirt senior outside hitter Chaniel Nelson and junior middle blocker Paige Neuenfeldt gave the Tar Heels the victory.

North Carolina took complete control in the second set. Despite the Irish’s attempt to stay on par with the Tar Heels early on, North Carolina went on a 4-0 run midway through the frame to give themselves a 19-13 lead and ultimately the set.

North Carolina’s dominance continued in the final frame, as the Tar Heels jumped out of the gate with a 7-2 lead. They maintained control throughout the rest of the frame and kept the point margin wide to take the last set, 25-16.

Notre Dame continued to struggle in Sunday’s match against North Carolina State, losing in a 3-0 sweep against the Wolfpack. The Irish could not offer any response to the Wolfpack's powerhouse offense. The Wolfpack (15-13, 4-12) amassed 53 kills throughout three frames of play, with three North Carolina State players reaching double digits.

Notre Dame held its own in each set, tying the Wolfpack at 23 in both the first and third set, while falling one point behind them in the second set, 23-22. The Irish offense was led by freshman middle blocker Sam Fry, who finished the match with 12 kills, and sophomore middle blocker Simmone Collins, who recorded 6 kills, 3 blocks and a .417 attack percentage.

In the Sunday loss, senior middle blocker Jeni Houser recorded nine kills to bring her career kill total to 1,291, moving into 10th place in Notre Dame history. She is only nine more kills away from becoming the eighth Notre Dame volleyball player to reach 1,300 career kills.

The Irish look ahead to their final match of the season when they welcome Pittsburgh to Purcell Pavilion at 4 p.m. Friday. The Panthers swept Notre Dame, 3-0, on Oct. 10  and are 10-5 in conference play with an overall record of 22-6.