Golden Eagles Outlast Irish in Five Sets

Holly Mertens led MU with career highs of 20 kills and nine blocks.

Sept. 29, 2012

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Marquette University women's volleyball team outlasted Notre Dame in five uneven sets (12-25, 26-24, 13-25, 27-25, 15-7) Saturday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind.

The Golden Eagles (11-3, 2-0 BIG EAST) were led by career highs of 20 kills and nine blocks by redshirt senior Holly Mertens, as the right-side hitter hit .548 in the contest. Marquette, which improves to 2-0 in BIG EAST Conference action for the second year in a row, hit .500 in the pivotal fifth set to claim MU's third-straight victory over the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame falls to 9-6 (2-1 BIG EAST) with the loss and was led by 14 kills from Hilary Eppink and reigning-BIG EAST Player of the Week Toni Alugbue.

Marquette was able to pull out its second straight five-set victory at Notre Dame despite hitting just .176 as a team. The Golden Eagles faltered in the first and third sets as they were held to just 12 and 13 points, respectively, but clawed their way to extra-point wins in the second and fourth frames before taking the final stanza going way.

The Golden Eagles dropped the opening set 25-12 as the Irish imposed their will at the net, hitting an impressive .519 with 17 kills on 27 total attacks. Notre Dame was paced by Eppink in the first as the middle hitter notched five kills and a pair of blocks, one of which capped a 12-1 run to give the Irish command of the set at 16-4.

Marquette recorded just seven kills in the first set while hitting .091 as a team

In a reversal of the opening set, Marquette pulled out a 26-24 victory in the second frame. Out of a Marquette timeout with ND sitting at set point, 24-23, the Golden Eagles reeled off three straight points for the win. Notre Dame's Marie Roof put a serve in the net with the Irish at set point and kills by Koberstein and Carlson ended it for MU.

Mertens picked up seven kills on 11 attacks without an error in the second to lead the Golden Eagles.

The Golden Eagles faltered out of the break, struggling to 25-13 third set loss. Marquette notched a -.069 attack percentage in the stanza with 11 errors and nine kills.

Once again Marquette picked up the pace following a sluggish set to take the fourth 27-25. The Golden Eagles sat at set point 24-22 but it took a few tries to close out the Irish. Notre Dame tied the set at 24 and 25 before a Mertens kill and combined block from Mertens and Carlson knotted the match, sending the contest to a decisive fifth set.

The final frame was all Marquette as the Golden Eagles hit .500 as a team. Mertens and freshman Erin Lehman each notched a pair of kills in the fifth, while senior middle hitter Kelsey Mattai picked up three of her career-high-tying nine blocks.

Marquette returns to action Sunday at 2 p.m. Central time against DePaul at McGrath-Phillips Arena in Chicago.




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