Irish Take Beasts of the East

Notre Dame Volleyball won the highly competitive Beast of the East tournament held at Michigan Elite Center on Saturday. The tournament title  was the 6th of the season for the Irish as they dropped only one set on the day to improve to 49-2-2.  Notre Dame has now won 38 straight matches.

The Irish opened the day with a 25-13, 19-25, 15-9 win over Troy. Notre Dame was led in the match by Natalie Risi (7 kills), Maddy Chinn (11 kills, 6 service points) and Gabi Shillings (8 kills and 3 blocks).  Maria Famularo added 9 serving points with 3 aces and 6 digs while Audrey Damman chipped in 7 points, 2 aces and 12 digs.

Notre Dame then topped a shorthanded Sterling Heights in straight sets as all 14 players saw action. Senior Destiney Sandle picked up 3 kills  and a pair of blocks in her first action of the season, Risi drove home 9 kills, scored 9 points (including 6 aces) and had 4 digs, Megan Galvin scored 14 points with 6 aces and Carly Zeoli had 5 points, an ace and 4 digs.

In the final match of pool play the Irish came out strong and took a win 25-15, 25-18 over Monroe SMCC.  Risi had a team-high 16 kills and 4 points including 2 aces.  Chinn added 9 kills 10 points (3 aces) while Shilling 5 kills and 3 blocks.  Lauren Burnick added 25 assists to her team leading totals and 14 digs while Damman continued to shine on defense with 11 digs.

In the first round of playoffs the Irish defeated Seaholm 25-8, 25-16.  Damman had 6 points, an ace and 7 digs, Risi added 6 points, 2 aces, and 5 kills, Shilling had 4 kills and 3 blocks and Chinn had 9 kills, 4 points and 2 digs. Riley Cooper had 5 points, an ace and 4 digs in the win.

Notre Dame then topped North Branch 25-13, 25-15 in the quarterfinals.  Damman added 9 points and 2 aces to her totals and Famularo had 5 points 1 ace and 7 digs. Burnick connected for 24  assists and 7 digs. Chinn had 16 kills, 5 points (2 aces), Shilling added 8 kills and 2 blocks, and Morgan Verheyen finished with 8 kills a block.

In the semifinals the Irish defeated Marian 25-13, 25-12. Damman had 9 points and 9 digs, Risi had 5 points, 1 ace, 4 kills and 3 digs, Shilling finished with 6 kills and 6 blocks and Chinn collected 8 kills and 2 blocks.

In the finals Notre Dame defeated Grand Rapids Christian 25-16, 25-22. Olivia Heming scored 7 points, 1 ace and 6 digs and was also perfect on serve receive. Morgan Holycross was instrumental at the net as she drew several blockers, opening up the outside hitters. Chinn added 13 kills and 7 digs and was named to the all-tournament team for the second straight year. Verheyen added 8 kills and a block while Shilling had 5 kills and 4 blocks. 

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