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Utes volleyball team loses to Irish

But Utah takes No. 12 Notre Dame to Game 5

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Utah volleyball team dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker (32-34, 30-16, 26-30, 30-26, 12-15) at No. 15 Notre Dame in the Shamrock Invitational Saturday.

The Utes hit for .219 on the match and held the Irish to .135 in the loss.

"It was an incredibly played match by both teams," Ute coach Beth Launiere said. "I'm happy to have gotten into a match like this so early in the season on the road against a ranked team. We won in a lot of respects, we can take a lot of positives from this match and build on them."

It was a night of career highs for several Utes (5-3), led by junior setter Kelsie Kartchner, who finished with her first career triple-double — 60 assists, 13 digs and 11 kills. All three were career highs.

Sophomore Shelly Sommerfeldt led a group of five Utes who notched double-digit kills. She finished with a career-best 23 kills. She also had eight digs and five assists.

Sophomore Danielle Leichliter added a career-high 19 kills, senior All-American candidate Kim Turner finished with 18, and juniors Lyndsey Henderson and Kartchner had 12 and 11, respectively.

Turner notched a double-double by adding 10 blocks to her 18 kills.

Senior libero Jackie Morrill led the Utes defensively, finishing with 18 digs. Senior Taryn Horner and freshman Connie Dangerfield added 17 each — a career-high for both players.

Game 1 was played close throughout, with neither team leading by more than four. The Irish came back from game point on two occasions for the 34-32 win. Utah outhit Notre Dame .170 to .146 on the game. Leichliter had seven kills on the game, while Sommerfeldt and Turner added six and five, respectively.

Utah dominated Game 2, scoring 12 straight points to take a 15-2 lead. The Utes went on to win 30-16. Sommerfeldt notched eigh kills on the game, which saw Utah hit .432 and hold the Irish to .000.

In the third game, Utah led by as many as six, but Notre Dame chipped away at the Ute lead and took its first lead at 23-22. The Irish then pulled away at the end for the 30-26 win. Notre Dame hit for .289 on the game, compared to .189 for the Utes. Sommerfeldt again led Utah with seven kills on the game.

The Utes found themselves down early in Game 4, but battled back, scoring six straight points to take an 11-8 lead. The game remained fairly close from then on, with Utah never leading by more than five points. Utah combined for a .245 hitting percentage, led by Leichliter, who had six kills.

In the final game, Utah quickly took a 2-0 lead, but the Irish tied it up at three and again at four before rattling off seven straight points for an 11-4 lead. Utah then tried to mount a comeback, outscoring Notre Dame 7-2, but the rally fell short and the Irish won 15-12.