Women’s volleyball goes 2-1 at Notre Dame tournament

NKU women’s volleyball kicked off their 2018 campaign at the University of Notre Dame over the weekend, posting back-to-back victories against the University of Toledo and Weber State before falling to Notre Dame in the Golden Dome Invitational.

Game 1:  NKU 3, Toledo 2

The Norse picked up their first win of the season by edging out the University of Toledo in five sets by scores of 25-16, 25-21, 26-28, 23-25, and 17-15 on Aug. 24.

“For an opening day win, we did a good job gritting the fifth set out,” head coach Liz Hart said. “In spurts of the game, we went on really nice serving runs. Averaging two blocks per set was a goal of ours, and we were able to meet that in our first outing, so it’s great to be able to meet goals early on.”

The game started off close for the first eight points of the game before the Norse took off to gain a 14-5 advantage over the Rockets. They maintained this pace throughout the game, ending the set 25-16. Four players had three kills each, with Kaelin Gentile and Miranda Wucherer hitting .429. Shelby Olsen had a total of eight assists during the match with Wucherer close behind at seven.  The Norse had a total of 17 digs throughout the set led by Haley Libs at seven and Ashton Terrill at four.

The second set started off a little bumpy for both squads. Each picked up four-straight errors in the early goings. Both teams would trade points until Toledo took the lead, 17-14. After a Norse timeout, Laura Crawford and Natalie Hardig came out with back to back kills and ended the game with an 11-3 run to win the set, 25-21.

The Norse jumped to an early 6-1 lead in the third set. But the Rockets clawed their way back and took the lead 15-11, after scoring seven straight points. The Norse would  continue to fight until the Rockets completed back to back kills to end the game. The Norse had a nice defensive outing with 28 digs.

The Rockets came out firing on all cylinders in the fourth set and never looked back. They controlled the entire set and upstaged the Norse, 25-23, to send the game into the decisive fifth set. Libs led the Norse with had a total of four kills and five digs.

The final set started off rocky for the Norse until Libs blasted four-straight kills to take the lead, 12-9. The Norse sealed the victory after Crawford ended the match with two consecutive kills.

Libs led the Norse with 16 kills and recorded her 38th double-double with 23 digs. Olson and Crawford  added their own double-doubles with 30 assists and 14 digs and 13 kills and 17 digs, respectively.

But, it was rookie sensation Miranda Wucherer, that stole the show when she became the first Norse since 2005, to record a triple double with 10 kills, 25 assists and 14 digs.

Game 2:  NKU 3, Weber State 1

The Norse opened day two with a win 3-1 (25-22, 28-30, 25-17, and 25-22) victory over Weber State.

The first set was a little rough for Norse as they were down 5-3 in the early goings. But a 5-0 run that included a pair of kills from Haley Libs and two aces by Miranda Wucherer, put the Norse back on top, 8-5.  Weber State would make their own run after earning five straight points off of four errors by the Norse, but it wasn’t enough as Bailey Western ended the game with a kill.

Both squads would combine for 55 digs in the second set, but after 13 miscues by the Norse, the Wildcats evened the game at one, with a 30-28 victory. Libs led the Norse with seven kills.

The Norse would turn things around in the third set though, after dropping their errors to three and winning 25-17, behind Libs’ six kills and two aces.

Libs would continue to make her presence felt with 9 kills to end the final set, 25-22. Libs ended the Wildcats late push with three straight kills.

Terrill finished with 32 digs, a new career high for the sophomore. While Wucherer and Olsen had double-doubles. Both with 28 assists while Wucherer had 18 digs to Olsens 11.

Game 3:  NKU 0, Notre Dame 3

In their final match at the Golden Dome Invitational, the Norse were held to a .045 hitting percentage and swept by the Fighting Irish in three sets (15-17, 26-28, 14-25).

Early kills from Meg Morningstar and Charley Niego helped the Irish take a quick lead early in the first set and they didn’t let up from there. The Irish opened the lead back up after three kills from Rebecca Nunge before taking the set, 25-17. Though the Norse struggled offensively, Libs and Terrill combined for 19 digs and outperformed the Irish by five digs.

Unlike the first set, the Norse led the majority of the second until the Irish netted three consecutive points and an ace by Zoe Nunez to knot the game at 24. Both squads would trade points back and forth until Jemma Yeadon dropped one in on the Norse and sealed the victory, 28-26. The Norse had seven players record at least one kill and added 41 scoops defensively.

After limiting the team to a .045 hitting percentage, the Irish made quick work of the Norse and won the final set, 25-14. Terrill led the Norse defensively with 10 out of the teams 28 digs.

The Norse averaged 24.67 digs per set over the weekend and Libs and Terrill were named to the all-tournament team.

“It was a great weekend to go 2-1,” Hart said. “Our servers did a nice job from the line with eight aces against Weber State and just one reception error on our end. We also played great defense and were able to put some pressure on Notre Dame. We learned a lot about ourselves and we’re looking forward to getting back into the gym.”

The Norse will hit the road and return to action next weekend at the Northern Illinois Invitational, Aug. 31 – Sept. 1. The Norse will play the University of Virginia on Friday at 4 p.m., then resume play on Saturday against the University of Nevada at noon and face Northern Illinois University at 8 p.m.