NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- After fighting back from a 2-0 deficit to force a deciding fifth game, the 11th-ranked Texas volleyball team suffered its first loss of the 2005 season, as Notre Dame defeated UT - 30-21, 31-29, 29-30, 22-30, 15-10 - on Saturday evening at the Joyce Center in the Shamrock Invitational.
Longhorns Brandy Magee and Lauren Paolini led all players with 19 kills apiece, while Dariam Acevedo added 16 kills. The Irish's Lauren Brewster had 18 kills in the victory, aided by Mallorie Croals 15 kills and Lauren Kelbley's 10.
Both teams' liberos posted 20 digs, as UT's Alyson Jennings' total matched her career high. Paolini and Acevedo each recorded double-doubles, as well. Paolini posted a collegiate-best 13 digs in her short career to go with her double-figure kills, while Acevedo collected 19 in the loss for her second double-double in as many matches.
Both team's defenses controlled the net, as the teams combined for 35 blocks.
Notre Dame (2-0) led the way with 20 blocks, as Brewster had 12 (three solo, nine block assists) and Carolyn Cooper 10 (one solo, nine assists). Texas (1-1) had 15 blocks, led by Magee's eight (one solo, seven assists), which matched a career high. Paolini and Leticia Armstrong each chipped in five blocks each.
Neither team served well as Texas had 18 service errors - including a pair in the deciding game. ND had 10 service errors on their side of the net.
The high blocking totals led to low hitting efficiencies. Texas had a .177 average, while Notre Dame won with a .166 mark. Magee led all players with a .516 mark with just three errors on 31 swings.
In the final and deciding game, Texas went ahead at 8-6, but after the teams switched sides of the court, Notre Dame rattled off eight straight points - seven off Kebley's serve - to force match point at 14-9. A Magee kill staved off the Irish's first effort at the victory, but a Brewster kill handed Notre Dame the win by five points. Magee led the Horns with three kills, while Brewster had four of the Irish's five kills.
Texas made back-to-back errors to open the first game, setting the tone for the stanza. UT hit just .081 in game one, led by Jen Christian's three kills. Notre Dame - which hit. 265 using a balanced offense with four players recording three or more kills - jumped out to a 19-9 lead after Texas had five straight errors. The Longhorns pulled no closer than seven points down the stretch as Notre Dame jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the match.
In game two, Texas took its first lead of the match at 3-2, but Notre Dame connected for four straight blocks to regain the lead for good. The Longhorns pulled within one point seven separate times in the game before finally drawing even - at 21-21 and then again at 23-23 and 24-24 - but the Irish continued to hold off UT.
A Christian kill followed by an Armstrong and Moriarty block gave Texas a 28-27 lead. The lead was short-lived, however, as, coming out of an ND timeout, the Irish went on a 4-1 run to win the game 31-29 and take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Magee had seven kills in the game and Paolini added five as Texas marginally out-hit the Irish, .159 to .150. Notre Dame was buoyed by seven blocks in the game, including four by Brewster.
In game three, the Irish jumped out to a 10-8 lead without connecting for a single kill. ND used three blocks, one ace and benefited from four UT service errors, one attack error and a net violation to take the lead. However, Texas continued to pound away - connecting for eight kills without an error - and took the lead at 16-15 and pushed its advantage to two points before ND called a timeout.
Texas continued to hold a lead, until Notre Dame battled back to knot the score at 22-22, the first of six ties. Magee then came through with a kill, followed by a Paolini score, giving the Longhorns a pair of game points. Though ND got one point back on a Brewster kill, Paolini connected for another kill to give Texas the game and set the match at 2-1 and force a fourth game.
In game three, UT turned around its hitting, connecting for a .390 attack percentage with a season-high 23 kills. The Horns limited the Irish to just 14 kills and a .250 attack percentage in the stanza.
Texas took control of game four from the outset, forcing a deciding game five. The Longhorns went ahead by as many as eight points - at 15-7 - before Notre Dame tried to come back, clawing back to as few as three points. However, at 21-18, Texas mounted a 9-4 run to close out the game as Magee and Acevedo each had two kills in that stretch. Acevedo's six kills led the way for the Horns, as UT out-hit the Irish, .225 to .050.
The Longhorns hit the court next when they travel to Oxford, Miss., for the Ole Miss Magnolia Tournament, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9-10. UT will face Lipscomb and Ole Miss on Friday, before taking on North Carolina State and Lamar on Saturday.