(NEWS RELEASE) -- Louisville native Jeni Houser had 14 kills and four blocks to lead the University of Notre Dame to a 3-2 upset of No. 10 Louisville in BIG EAST volleyball action Sunday afternoon in the KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals won the first two sets and had match point in the fourth before falling 15-3 in the final set for their first league loss of the season.
“That was a great job by Notre Dame to come in prepared and fight back like that after being down 2-0,” said U of L head coach Anne Kordes. “Our team may have taken them lightly because we were enthralled that they voted us No. 10 in the country. In this league, you can’t afford that lapse.”
U of L stands at 12-2 on the season and evens its record at 1-1 in the league with the 25-16, 25-22, 20-25, 24-26, 15-3 loss. Notre Dame is now 9-5 with a 2-0 BIG EAST mark. U of L hit .198 for the match and was outblocked 9.5 to 8.0. Louisville middle Brooke Mattingly had 12 kills and four blocks. Arslanbekova added 20 kills to her 17 digs for a double-double. Libero Caitlin Welch had a career-high 35 digs and two aces. Toni Alugbue had 18 kills and 18 digs to pace the Irish.
U of L hit .350 with no hitting errors in the first set for the 25-16 win. The Cards pulled out to a 10-4 lead before Notre Dame scrambled back to within two at 14-12 on five straight kills by Toni Alugbue. U of L answered with a three point run, forcing Notre Dame to burn its last time out. Louisville continued to pull away, cruising to the win. Lola Arslanbekova had five kills to lead the Cards.
Notre Dame had the lead until U of L caught up at 17-16 on two Lola kills along with a kill by Carly Sahagian. Notre Dame tied at 18 before an Arslanbekova ace gave U of L the lead for good at 20. U of L had set point at 24-20 but ND managed to pressure with two straight points. A Kaitlynn James kill put an end to the Irish rally and give U of L a 25-22 win and a 2-0 set lead going into the break. U of L hit .256 in 1the set.
The Cards fell behind early in the third set and had to use a timeout trailing 12-8. ND increased the pressure and went up 16-10 as part of a 5-1 run. The Cards battled back with a 6-0 run to come within three at 21-16 and force a ND timeout. The Irish got to set point on a kill by Hilary Eppink and a U of L hitting error tipped the set 25-20 to Notre Dame. The Irish hit a toasty .325 in the set and had two blocks.
In the fourth set, both teams stayed close until the Cards had a 3-0 run and forced a ND timeout at 12-8. Notre Dame had a 7-2 run to go up 21-20. U of L retook the lead at 22-21 on an ace from Caitlin Welch. She had another ace one point later for set and match point. The Irish dug their heels in for two straight points to stave off the win and Kordes called timeout for a reset. A kill by Houser tied the match at 24 and then Toni Alugbue scored to give Notre Dame set point. Eppink sealed the deal with a kill to force a fifth set.
ND went on a 12-1 spree in the fifth set for the 15-3 win. Five of ND’s points came from U of L hitting errors.
The Cards continue BIG EAST action on the road next weekend where they will face South Florida Fri. Sept. 28 before jetting to Pittsburgh for a Sunday match on Sept. 30.