PORTSMOUTH — Going into the fifth and decisive set of Wednesday’s non-league contest versus North Adams, Notre Dame volleyball coach Katie Dettwiller gave some sound advice to her team.
“Every point counts. There’s not one time to get in a rut or take a point off — these have to be the hardest 15 points of your life,” Dettwiller said. “That’s how every five sets should be.”
That motivation sparked the host Lady Titans to a 15-7 win in the fifth and final set — and a 3-2 win (25-17, 22-25, 22-25, 25-12, 15-7) over the Green Devils.
Not only was this game the first five-set match for Notre Dame (10-3) this season, it was the first five-set win during Dettwiller’s tenure in her first season as the program’s coach.
The Lady Titans claimed the first and fourth sets by at least eight points in both instances (25-17, 25-12).
When her team was playing its best volleyball, Dettwiller said it was their energy and communication that played a big factor.
“Playing with the intensity and energy we expect every single night. Those girls pulled it together during those sets, played as a team, had the communication — the things you want to see,” she said. “Getting our first five-set win was crazy — this was a good test for some games we have coming up and for tournaments.”
Sophomore Bree Hicks led Notre Dame with a team-high 16 kills, four ace serves, and tallied 21 digs.
Notre Dame’s height was a sure difference — as the Lady Titans combined for 14 blocks as a team.
Junior Katie Strickland led the way with a team-high eight blocks, to go along with four kills.
Junior Gwen Sparks had 12 kills and three blocks, senior Annie Dettwiller had a team-high 29 digs and nine kills, and junior Gracie Ashley finished with 15 digs, three ace serves and six kills.
The team’s libero, senior Mallory Boland, led Notre Dame with a team-high five ace serves and 22 digs.
Sophomore setter Maddie Entler finished with a team-high 44 assists in the five-set win.
“Gracie Ashley on the back side was big for us — she got hits down when we needed her. That backside became a weapon for us tonight, we have utilized it much this season,” Dettwiller said. “All my girls played phenomenal. Everyone had their good moments, brought their energy and fulfilled their roles. Couldn’t be more happy.”
With the win, Notre Dame improves to 10-3 (6-0 SOC I) on the season.
Thus far, Notre Dame has earned non-league wins over Division III programs North Adams and Fairland, with another strong non-league test on Monday at Division III South Webster (12-2).
“We have to stay playing to our level. We can’t get complacent or drop down to anybody,” Dettwiller said. “Have to stay focused on the things we’re doing and that’ll be the key to success in the future for us.”
North Adams 17 25 25 12 7 — 2
Notre Dame 25 22 22 25 15 — 3
Notre Dame individual stats
Gwen Sparks — 12 kills, 3 blocks, 1 assist;
Maddie Entler — 18 digs, 44 assists;
Bree Hicks — 4 aces, 16 kills, 21 digs;
Annie Dettwiller — 9 kills, 2 blocks, 29 digs;
Gracie Ashley — 3 aces, 6 kills, 1 block, 15 digs;
Mallory Boland — 5 aces, 22 digs;
Katie Strickland — 4 kills, 8 blocks;
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved