Notre Dame 3, Dayton 1Dec. 1, 2005

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The UD volleyball team pushed No. 6 seeded Notre Dame to the limit before succumbing in five games (30-21, 30-25, 26-30, 28-30, 15-13) in the First Round of the NCAA Championship at UND's Joyce Center.

The Flyers, in the NCAA Tournament as Atlantic 10 Champions for the third year in a row, rallied from down two games to none to force game five and rallied from a 6-1 deficit in game five to tie the match at 13-13. But the Irish (29-3) earned the next two points to take the match.

Freshman Kortney Norris recorded 23 kills (.328 hitting), Robynne Green added 16 kills (.312 hitting) and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Faye Barhorst recorded 18 kills (.275 hitting). Senior setter Nicole Schott contributed 60 assists in her final match as a Flyer.

"We played a great team obviously," UD Head Coach Tim Horsmon said. "Notre Dame had a super year, but I thought we really competed and really showed up tonight."

Five different Flyers tallied double-figures in digs as sophomore Adrienne Green led the way with 29. Erin Schroeder and Amanda Kenny finished with 15 and 13 each while Brittney Scheeringa and Schott added 12 and 10 respectively.

Mallorie Croal led Notre Dame with 18 kills while Lauren Brewster and Adrianna Stasiuk each had 16 for the Big East champs. Brewster edged Barhost in blocks nine to six in a matchup of two of the nation's top middle blockers.

The Irish advance to face Northwestern in the second round, while the Flyers end their campaign at 24-11.

Dayton concludes its season with a 24-11 record while Notre Dame (29-3) advances to Friday Second Round to face Northwestern at 7 p.m.

Freshman Kortney Norris led all players with 23 kills

Robynne Green kept UD to open the match with four kills before the media timeout in game one, but ND used a 6-1 run to build a 17-10 lead. The Irish defense kept the Flyers in check for most of the first game as Dayton hit just .093 in the opening stanza to win 30-21. Norris had a team-high six kills for the Flyers in her first NCAA Tournament match. Adrienne Green paced the defense with five digs while Schroeder added three of her own. Kenny led the Flyer front line with two solo blocks.

Both teams traded points to start game two before the Irish built another 15-10 lead at the mid-game break. Dayton rallied to pull within a pair at 18-16 on the strength of three kills by Barhorst. The Flyers also were down by just two as late as 25-23, but Notre Dame outscored Dayton 5-2 the rest of the way to take a 30-25 decision and a 2-0 lead in the match.

Norris continued her hot play in the second game with a team-best six kills while Schott dished out 15 assists as Dayton hit .310 as a team. Kenny and Robynne Green added four kills a piece while Adrienne Green and Schroeder led the defensive effort with seven and six digs respectively.

Dayton played point for point with Notre Dame to begin the third game before a kill by Barhorst and an Irish attack error gave the Flyers a 15-13 lead at the intermission in game three. UD then stretched its lead out to four at 21-17 on a block by Richards and Robynne Green to force a ND timeout. After the break, a solo block by Norris and an Irish attack error gave Dayton a 23-17 cushion. Notre Dame rallied to within two at 28-26, before a kill from Norris and another by Robynne Green gave Dayton a 30-26 game three victory.

UD out hit ND .152 to .038 in a third stanza that included 11 tied scores and five lead changes. Kenny led the way with four kills followed by three each from Norris and Barhorst. Adrienne Green collected five digs in support of her Flyer front line that finished with 6.5 blocks. Barhorst led the way with four blocks in the third game while Norris, Richards and Schott added two each for the Flyers.

Dayton scored the first two points of game four and did not allow Notre Dame to take the lead until 17-16 as Barhorst rattled off six kills in the first half of the game. Down, 22-20, Dayton regained the lead at 23-22 on a kill from Barhorst and consecutive service aces by Schroeder. Then with the scored tied 28-all, Green gave UD game point with a kill off the hands of an Irish defender. The Flyers then forced a deciding fifth game with a block from Richards to earn Dayton a 30-28 victory.

Barhorst paced the UD offense with eight kills in game four while Robynne Green followed with six. Dayton hit .254 as a team behind 19 assists from Schott. Adrienne Green finished with nine digs while Kenny added eight as the Flyers out hit the Irish for the second game in a row.

After a kill by Richards to open game five, Notre Dame went on a 6-0 run to build a 6-1 lead. Then a kill by Schroeder, a block from Schott and Barhorst and a service ace by Kenny pulled Dayton to with two at 6-4. Then trailing 12-9, Dayton won the longest rally of the match on a solo block by Barhorst to pull within two. Then a kill by Norris forced a ND timeout with the Irish ahead by single point at 13-12. After the break, Kenny ripped off a service ace down the middle to knot the score at 13-all. But a Flyer service error and a kill by Brewster gave Notre Dame the 15-13 victory.

Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown

"It was a battle. They played very well. We truly are just really happy to still be playing. We were tested and pushed as far as we could be. This time of year, the most important thing is winning and that's what we managed to do."

"I don't know if at 13-13 it mattered what court we were on. At that point you just have to play. I wasn't aware of the crowd, Dayton's band, our band, cheerleaders, anything. You're just locked into the next play. I think we are comfortable playing at home and that's a good thing. I'm glad we were here, but I honestly think at that point it didn't matter where we were."

"We sputtered down the stretch. The beginning of game five was the most fun we had all night. We were relaxed, we were playing well, we were having fun. We got it to 6-1 and then as they started to sneak back in, we started to get tense again. We just have to allow ourselves to have fun and enjoy the game. That's when we play the best. We don't have to have a huge lead to do that because we've played against teams where it's been a battle back and forth. We just didn't find that rhythm tonight."

Notre Dame senior libero Meg Henican

On the mindset of the team going into game five: "We were ready to go. We looked each other in the eyes and said, 'This is it. We take it here and that is the only option.' We were just going to play one 15-point game, just playing our game. We were ready to execute at a high level. This team has a lot of fighters."

"We did what we had to in the end. It was enough. Our strength is that we are a team and when we had to we pulled together. I don't know that we executed our game how we should and how we can."

Notre Dame senior middle blocker Lauren Brewster

"We had our highs and lows. There were times when we were playing like we should and there were times where we were fighting through. Obviously in five games there has to be fighting."

Notre Dame sophomore outside hitter Adrianna Stasiuk

"[We were tense] because the season's on the line. For any team, no matter what you're ranked, either the season is going to go on or it's going to end. I don't know if it was really tense. They played really well, but we just kept fighting."

Dayton head coach Tim Horsmon

"We played a great team obviously. Notre Dame had a super year but I thought we really competed and really showed up tonight. I'm proud of our effort."

"We've got great kids, we're going to get better. I like the makeup of our team. If we do the things we need to do in the off-season, then the next year or two we're building something and have a chance to be great."

Dayton senior setter Nicole Schott

"I think it [coming back from two games down] showed our character as a team, like coach preaches every day in practice. We knew we could do it, we knew we could compete with them tonight. I'm disappointed in how it resulted, of course, but we did everything we could and it didn't go our way."

Dayton junior middle blocker Faye Barhorst

"It's right up our alley to compete, and I think we showed that. But I'm still hungry, and I think every other player out there tonight after that finish could probably say the same thing."

Dayton freshman right side / outside hitter Kortney Norris

"We practice 5th games every day in practice, and at the beginning of the year we really struggled with the fifth game, but by the end of the year we had it down. And I think when we came out and we were down we knew we could come back, and we were all about not playing tentative. It is about playing to win, not playing not to lose."

-- Courtesy Dayton, Notre Dame