But the nail-bitter that most had expected never materialized.
Instead, the Division IV defending state champion Lady Pios returned to championship form and dominated from start to finish in rolling to a straight-sets victory, 25-12, 25-16, 25-8.
“We really kind of put things together tonight,” said Notre Dame coach Tara Young following the contest. “It was a big district matchup and a big district rivalry so we were really up for the game. Our team stepped up to the challenge and kind of showed some glimpses of what we looked like early in the season.”
Iota, which had it’s 19-game winning streak snapped with the loss, was never really able to adjust to the Lady Pios’ high- octane offense.
“Notre Dame is at a very high level and they play good volleyball,” said Iota assistant coach Luke Richard after the Lady Dogs fell to (26-3). “The tempo was faster than we have seen, which, we need to start playing more of that. We didn’t adjust on the blocking and our offense wasn’t there.
“I thought we passed well and our defense did what it could, but I felt like we were on the defense the whole time.”
Notre Dame (18-2) jumped out to a quick 8-4 lead early in the first set before Grace Morgan logged one of her 10 kills to spark a 6-0 run. Iota’s Kaylee Richard answered with a kill of her own to end the run, but the Lady Dogs weren’t able to muster up much offense after that.
The Lady Dogs took an 8-7 lead in the second set on a Madison Meche kill, but Notre Dame’s Lindsey Meyer fired home a cross-court winner to spark an 11-3 run and give the Lady Pios a 19-11 advantage. Megan Malmay added one of her seven kills down the stretch as Notre Dame went on to win the set, 25-16.
It was much of the same in the third set. Iota scored the first point and trailed just 15-7 midway through the deciding game.
It was as close as they would get.
The Lady Pios went on a 10-1 run and ended the game on an ace by Sarah Ledet.
Morgan, Sam Lyons, Meyer and Malmay reigned havoc on the Lady Dogs all night, combining for 31 kills.
“We’ve been working really hard on execution as a unit and I think it showed tonight,” said Young. “Megan and Grace had quite a few kills and Sam had some pretty intense kills that kind of set the other team on their heels.”
Alex Miller logged 20 assists for the Lady Pios and had two aces and two blocks. Lyons added 10 assists and three aces while Malmay and Tayler Boulet led the team in digs with 18 each.
Meche and Richard paced Iota with five kills each, Jillian Boone had 30 digs, Mallory Faul had 11 assists and Erika Manuel had five blocks.
“Our two outside hitters (Madison and Kaylee), when we had that good pass and good ball to the setter, they came through,” said coach Richard. “I thought that was good and our setting was really good. It was just the speed that got us. They were just too fast.
“We just have to get better.”
The Northside Christian Lady Warriors fell to 16-10 overall and 3-3 in district play with a 25-17, 25-17, 25-21 loss to Ascension Episcopal Thursday evening.
The Lady Warriors were paced by freshman middle hitter Kathryn Zaunbrecher with seven kills and three digs and senior outside hitter Mia Mier, who had six kills, 23 digs and one ace.
Also contributing for the Lady Warriors were Natalie Hayes (4 kills, 22 digs, 1 ace), Mallary Vincent (3 kills, 14 digs, 1 ace, 4 assist), Leah Monte (1 kill, 21 digs), Katelyn Jones (1 kill, 1 dig), Maddison Conrad (9 digs, 1 ace, 13 assists) and Kristen Spell (6 digs, 1 block).