LAFAYETTE — Notre Dame coach Tara Young and St. Thomas More coach Jessica Burke were quick to mention the word “confidence” following the Cougars ‘3-1 victory over the Pios at the Cougar Dome on Thursday, but for different reasons.
After beating St. Thomas More 25-21 in the first set, Notre Dame (2-3) lost the next three by scores of 25-12, 25-17, 25-16.
“This has been the way our season has been going,” Young said. “It happened against Parkview. It happened against Teurlings. We go up, and then it is almost like we don’t believe we deserve to win. We lack confidence.”
The Pios got off to a 7-3 lead in the first set before the Cougars (5-1) scored the next three points to cut the margin to 7-6. After Olivia Barbin’s kill put the Pios up 8-6, the Cougars then scored the next two points to tie the game. There were five lead changes with the Cougars taking a 20-19 advantage before the Pios outscored St. Thomas More 6-1 to close the game. In that stretch, Grace Morgan had three kills and Hunter Leblanc added an ace.
In the second game, the Cougars jumped out to a 16-5 lead with Sarah Trotter connecting for four kills and Maddy Aucoin three in that span, which helped allow them to cruise to take that set.
“We played with confidence,” Burke said. “We cleaned up our errors and started playing.”
In the third set, The Cougars again got off to a big early lead, this time building a 13-5 advantage, with the final four points of that span coming with Morgan Vincent serving. Vincent also had two of her nine kills in that stretch.
“We don’t necessarily run plays to me,” she said, “but when it comes my way, I need to be ready.”
The last set saw the Cougars only up 7-6, before they went on an 8-2 run to go up 15-8, and in position to come away with the victory. With it, Young was not about to make excuses.
“We made some adjustments (after the second set) and had a little success so I guess you can say that is a slight positive,” she said. “Other than that, I am having a tough time (trying to find the positives). We have some newbies and they need to get court time and battle through this.”
Vincent meanwhile, likes the direction her team is headed.
“I think we can be really good,” she said.
St. Thomas More was led by Trotter’s 14 kills and Molly Jacobsen’s 38 assists. Caroline Adams added 20 digs for the Cougars. Aucoin and Kathleen Alexander each had five blocks.
Morgan finished with 17 kills for Notre Dame.