Notre Dame 3, Northwestern 0

Dec. 2, 2005

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Big Ten's No. 6 team Northwestern took the NCAA Tournament's No. 6 seed Notre Dame to the brink in all three games on the Irish's home court in the Dance's second round Friday night, but eventually fell to the Big East champions by just a combined seven points, 30-27, 32-30, 30-28.

With the loss, Northwestern concludes its season with a 20-12 record, its best mark since 1988. Notre Dame advances to the Round of 16 with a 30-3 mark.

"I am very, very proud of how our girls played and battled tonight," NU head coach Keylor Chan said. "Notre Dame played an outstanding match and we came up just seven points short in the end. I'm proud of how our seniors performed, especially. They will be greatly missed by this program."

In their final matches, seniors Christie Gardner (West Bend, Wis./West Bend East) and Lizzie Carlson (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) both hit double-digits in digs. Gardner -- NU's match, season and career dig leader -- had a team-best 19 while Carlson added 12.

Game one began close, until a 5-1 Notre Dame run with the score 10-9 in favor of the Irish gave the host squad a 15-10 lead going into the first media timeout of the match.

Northwestern mounted a 7-2 run out of the break, knotting the score, 17-17, and forcing Notre Dame to use a timeout. An ace by junior Lauren Greenwood (Brentwood, Tenn./ Brentwood) three points later gave NU the lead, 19-18.

The teams traded points until a little Irish spurt gave ND a 26-23 lead and caused a Northwestern timeout. The Wildcats scored three of the next four points to pull back to within one, 27-26, and force the Irish's second timeout of the game. The third point of that sequence came on an ace from sophomore Stephanie Jurivich (LaGrange, Ill./St. Ignatius), who had just one ace during the entire regular season.

Notre Dame responded a 3-1 run of its own to claim game one, 30-27.

The Irish opened game two with the advantage until the Wildcats reeled them in to tie the score, 12-12. The teams continued to trade point after point after point, until Notre Dame took a two-point lead, 19-17. The Wildcats battled back to even again, 23-23.

Northwestern claimed its first lead of the game on an ND hitting error, 26-25, and the Irish called timeout. Notre Dame then notched the next two points, regaining the lead, 27-26, after a marathon point that ended when an Irish hit caught the net and dribbled off just out of the reach of the Wildcats.

Notre Dame earned two game points, 29-27, but kills from sophomore Lindsay Anderson (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) and junior Julie Purcell (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) knotted the score, 29-29. The Irish scored the next point before Jurivich annihilated an overpass to tie the score again, 30-30.

Notre Dame scored the next two points to end game two, 32-30, and claim a 2-0 lead in the match.

Northwestern came out firing in game three, taking its biggest lead of the match at three points, 7-4. The Irish called timeout, then marched right back to tie the score, 7-7.

After the Wildcats built their lead back to two, 10-8, the Irish reeled off five-consecutive points to take a 13-10 lead and force a Northwestern timeout. Notre Dame eventually led by as many as eight, 18-10.

Staring elimination in the face, the Wildcats did not fold. NU mounted an 8-3 run to pull back within three, 21-18, after Greenwood's second ace of the match.

Notre Dame pushed back out to a five-point lead, 25-20, but again the 'Cats cut it to three, 25-22. Northwestern continued to battle, and a Carlson ace brought NU to within one, 26-25. The Wildcats clawed to the end, but could not complete the comeback, falling 30-28 in the final game.

Anderson led the 'Cats with a match-high 18 kills, while Purcell finished with 16 and a team-high .371 hitting percentage (16-3-35).

Greenwood recorded her a double-double with 18 assists, 13 digs and a pair of service aces.

NCAA Volleyball Postgame Quotes
Northwestern vs. Notre Dame (Dec. 2. 2005)

Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan

"I'm very proud of my team. We played very hard. We lost by a [combined] seven points. Notre Dame played very well. They deserved the victory. [The loss] wasn't from a lack of effort, it was just the way the ball bounced and that Notre Dame played very well."

Northwestern senior libero Lizzie Carlson

"I think we had a lot of chances. We were right there in every game and things just didn't go our way in the end."

"Any given night any team can win. Every team is fallible. We knew we had a good chance of winning tonight. We were definitely capable, but they outplayed us. I think we were confident coming in."

Northwestern senior outside hitter/libero Christie Gardner

"After last night we realized it's going to take a lot of effort and a lot of work in the tournament. For the young girls it really opens their eyes as to how hard you have to work to come to the tournament."

Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown

"We're really excited about moving on to the next round and being in the Sweet 16. It's been a long time for this program since we've been there and I'm really pleased with the way the team came out tonight. It was a really good team win and we're excited we get to keep playing."

"I think winning game-2 was huge and I think as we look back even at the BIG EAST Championships - where we lost game-1 and won a really close game-2 to go into the locker room 1-1 that time - I think the second game can sometimes be so important. Another point for us tonight was to win game-2 and then win game-3 because our record had been for the last two times, we had won the first two and we lost the next [two or three]. I think sometimes it's just a mental hurdle to get over. I liked the way the team talked in the locker room between game-2 and game-3 and I liked the way we finished."

"We think that we can do some really special things this year."

Notre Dame senior outside hitter/middle blocker Lauren Kelbley

"I tried to figure out what went wrong yesterday and I was resolved to get out there today and make it happen. I tried to talk to my teammates and make sure that everyone knew we were going to win this match today and that there was no other option."

"We deep down knew that we were going to make it happen."

Notre Dame senior middle blocker Lauren Brewster

"We were really determined. We came out yesterday and didn't play the way we wanted to play. I think we were really resolved today and we were really excited to play, to just get out there and go to the Sweet 16."

"I love championship games, I love the NCAA tournament. I know we seniors have been trying to get to the Sweet 16 for the four years we've been here so I that's been a motivating factor for all of us."

"We know that whoever we're going to see in the future rounds of the tournament is going to be a good team. Now it's just down to the thirteen of us as a team. We don't care who we're going to see, we know they're going to come and show up and play."

Notre Dame sophomore outside hitter Adrianna Stasiuk

"We learned last night that after you win the first two games, it doesn't mean the match is over. Today in the locker room, the talk that happened between game-2 and game-3. There was commitment that everyone made to really want that third game. We learned not to let up and think that the game was over."

-- Courtesy Northwestern