Nov. 1, 2005
#5 Notre Dame (20-1) vs. Saint Louis (13-12)Wednesday, November 2, 7 p.m. (EST) â€¢ Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN- Live Internet Audio: www.und.com- Real-Time Stats: www.und.com- Notre Dame's Salute to Hometown Heroes! Visit B100 to nominate your hero!- Free drink coasters to the first 500 fans, courtesy of Marathon.
#5 Notre Dame (20-1, 10-0 BIG EAST) vs. West Virginia (15-10, 3-7 BIG EAST)Saturday, November 5, 2 p.m. (EST) â€¢ Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN
#5 Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh (14-9, 7-3 BIG EAST)Sunday, November 6, 2 p.m. (EST) â€¢ Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN
#5 IRISH VOLLEYBALL HOSTS SAINT LOUIS ON WEDNESDAY BEFORE HEADING ON THE ROAD FOR TWO BIG EAST MATCHES: The University of Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (20-1, 10-0 BIG EAST) — ranked an all-time high fifth in the CSTV/AVCA poll — will try to become the first Irish team ever to begin the season with a 21-1 record when it plays host to Saint Louis (13-12) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (EST) in the Joyce Center. The Irish, now alone atop the BIG EAST Conference standings, will then hit the road over the weekend to play at West Virginia (15-10, 3-7) on Saturday and Pittsburgh (14-9, 7-3) on Sunday, both matches beginning at 2 p.m. (EST)
THE RADIO PLANS: Notre Dame’s official athletics website, und.com, features live internet audio broadcasts of all 14 Irish volleyball home matches, as well as one road tilt, in 2005. Stephen Hinkel and Chris Masters, two former collegiate volleyball sports information directors and veterans of announcing Notre Dame volleyball, will have the call for the Saint Louis match. Broadcasts are available to subscribers of Fighting Irish All-Access (details on und.com).
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics, courtesy of College Sports Online’s GameTracker, will be made available free for Wednesday’s match, via the Notre Dame athletics web site, www.und.com.
Irish Items: Highlights of This Notes Package …
– Notre Dame rose two spots to #5 in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25, which marks the highest ranking in the 26-year varsity history of the Irish program. The Irish are the first team ever to begin the season unranked and then reach the top five of the AVCA poll.
– Notre Dame has matched the best 21-match start in program history, opening 20-1 for the second time. The 1994 squad also did that en route to going 33-4 and finishing 12th (NCAA rd. of 16), but that team lost 3-1 at Florida State in its attempt to become 21-1.
– The Irish began the year 7-0, upsetting #11 Texas (3-2), #8 USC (3-1), and #6 Florida (3-0), and then knocked off #6 Louisville (3-1) last weekend. It is the first time ND has ever beaten more than two top-14 teams in the same regular season.
– ND is 10-0 in BIG EAST play for the ninth time in 11 years of league membership and is the only unbeaten in conference play. For the first time since joining the BIG EAST, ND was not the preseason favorite in 2005 (Louisville was).
– ND has won 13 in a row, which is the 3rd-longest streak in program history (17 in `86, 14 in `03).
– Last weekend, Notre Dame prevailed in the first matchup of top-10 volleyball teams in the Joyce Center since 1996, winning 3-1 against #6 Louisville in front of a crowd of 2,597. It snapped the Cardinals’ 20-match winning streak (37 in the regular seson, 26 in conference play, 17 on the road).
– Notre Dame came into the week as the only Division I school to appear in the NCAA statistical leaders (30 teams listed) in both blocking (5th, 3.55 per game) and digging (21st, 18.35). ND was in the top five in Division I in blocking from 2001-04, including first in `03 (Brewster was the ind. champ).
– Irish sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk was tabbed the CVU.com National Player of the Week on Oct. 25 (10 GP, 4.30 K, .396, 3.90 D, 1.50 B, 5.75 pts.), making ND the first school ever to win the award twice (also Brewster on Sept. 5, 2005). Stasiuk also was BIG EAST Player of the Week.
– Notre Dame boasts 2 players in the top 5 in the BIG EAST in both blocking (Lauren Brewster, 1st, 1.57 & Carolyn Cooper, 3rd, 1.36) & digging (Meg Henican, 4th, 4.54 & Stasiuk, 5th, 4.25). ND is the only team with 2 players in the top 10 in points (Brewster, 4th, 5.23 & Lauren Kelbley, 7th, 4.66).
– Kelbley, the only Division I hitter to be AVCA all-region the last three years, is seven kills away from becoming the seventh player in Irish history to record 1,300. (Brewster was the sixth, last weekend.)
– ND’s offense — led by sophomore S Ashley Tarutis, who is first in the BIG EAST in assists (12.92) & 40-9 as a starter — has been much improved over the last 13 matches (15.65 K, .292) following a lineup shift (which included switching Henican to libero and Stasiuk to OH). In the first 8 matches, ND had 14.81 kills on .200 hitting. ND is 1st in hitting (.334) and kills (17.04) in league play.
– ND is on pace to break the Irish season records for dig avg. (18.35, record-18.23 in `92) and opponent ace average (0.74, record-0.94 in `03).
– Notre Dame has five seniors on its roster in 2005, making it just the third ND team ever to have that.
– ND leads the all-time series with Saint Louis (7-4), West Virginia (10-2), and Pittsburgh (18-5).
The Irish in Brief …
SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame’s women’s volleyball program, now in its 26th varsity season, has experienced a wealth of success since the arrival of head coach Debbie Brown in 1991. Now in her 15th season, Brown has guided Notre Dame to a winning record every year (and 20+ wins in each year but one), compiling a 364-119 (.753) mark. The Irish have earned 13 consecutive berths to the NCAA Championship, including a `93 quarterfinal finish and three trips to the round of 16 (1994, `95, and `97). Since joining the BIG EAST Conference in `95, Notre Dame has dominated the league, winning nine regular-season and eight tournament titles in 10 years. Overall, the Irish are 117-6 (.950) in regular-season BIG EAST play and 19-2 (.905) in conference tournament action. Notre Dame is 65-1 (.984) in BIG EAST regular-season matches in the Joyce Center. The 2005 Irish team returned nine of its top 10 players from last year’s squad that was 21-9, won both the regular-season and tournament titles in the BIG EAST and reached the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. The Irish also were among the top five blocking teams in Division I for the fourth straight year (4th, 3.37 after being 1st in `03), and they returned eight of their top nine blockers from that group. This year’s squad is one of the most-veteran groups in program history, featuring five seniors. Plus, all nine returnees had been a starter at some point in the past.
Up front, Notre Dame is led by a potent pair of senior fourth-year starters named Lauren: MB Lauren Brewster and OH/MB Lauren Kelbley (KELL-blee). Brewster, the 2003 NCAA blocking champ, became the second All-American in program history in 2004, earning third-team accolades from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). The 2005 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year after being a first-team all-conference pick twice and the `04 MVP of the league tournament, she has led the conference in blocking in each of the last three years and ranks second in Irish history in career hitting percentage (.313) and block average (1.65). Brewster was the MVP of both of the first two tournaments on the ’05 Irish schedule (the Shamrock Invitational and UTSA Dome Rally) and has been the BIG EAST Player of the Week twice (bringing her career total to a program-best eight), as well as the Collegiate Volleyball Update’s National Player of the Week on Sept. 5. Kelbley is the only Division I hitter to have been an all-region selection by the AVCA in each of the last three years. She was honorable mention All-America in both 2003 and `04 and came into the season as the only player to rank among the top five in Irish history in career hitting percentage and career kill average. Kelbley began her collegiate career at middle blocker before moving to outside hitter late in 2003 and then leading Notre Dame in kills from that position a year ago.
Senior co-captain OH/L Meg Henican (HENN-ih-kin) is back for her third year in the starting lineup. She played mostly libero over the previous two campaigns, but has also seen time at outside hitter (where she played a lot early in `05). Henican turned in the top digging campaign ever by an Irish competitor in 2004, breaking the ND records for digs in a season (553) and season dig average (4.94), plus the marks for digs in any-length match (37 in four games vs. Seton Hall on 10/10/04) and digs in an NCAA-tournament match (27 vs. Valparaiso in the first round). She has had 20+ digs in a match on 23 occasions during her career and 10 or more in 45 of the last 46.
Two other Irish hitters — senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper and sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (stuh-SHEWK) — are back for their second seasons as starters. The veteran stepped into the lineup at middle blocker a month into the `04 campaign and has seen Notre Dame post a 33-3 record with her as a starter through her career. Stasiuk started every match in her rookie season at opposite and was tabbed the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week twice and led the team in service aces (41), becoming just the second ND freshman to hit the 40-ace mark. She missed the first three matches of this season due to injury and has returned to play both libero and outside hitter, posting a career-high 29 digs vs. #8 USC. She was the league’s Player of the Week and the CVU.com National Player of the Week on Oct. 24. The graduation of four-year starter Emily Loomis — who played all across the front row and finished her career fifth in kills (1,321) — opened up one starting spot in the lineup, which has been filled of late by sophomore Ellen Heintzman (HIGHNTZ-min). She started eight matches there last year and has done so a many times in `05, including in each of the last six contests.
Back in the starting setting role again this season is sophomore Ashley Tarutis (tuh-ROO-diss), who took over as the team’s top setter in the third match of 2004 and helped the Irish lead the BIG EAST in hitting percentage in league matches (.254). She has a career record of 40-9 as a starter, including 5-1 against top-15 teams, and leads the BIG EAST in assists (12.86). Senior S Kelly Burrell (burr-ELLE) is the backup setter, as she has been throughout her career, and also contributes as a back-row substitute.
Junior DS/L Danielle Herndon has played in every game this season at either libero or defensive specialist, where she has played of late. She has been a regular throughout her career in that role. Freshman OH Mallorie Croal (krole), a Volleyball magazine Fab 50 selection, also has seen time as a regular, starting 11 matches at outside hitter. She was the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Sept. 5. Freshman DS/S Madison Clark has been a frequent back-row sub for Notre Dame this season, while the two other rookies — MB/OPP Justine Stremick and DS Annie Mokris — have seen some time, as well.
HEAD COACH Debbie Brown: Irish head coach Debbie Brown is in her 15th season at the helm of the Notre Dame program. She has led the Irish to a 364-119 (.752) mark, while holding a 481-202 (.703) overall record. Brown’s Notre Dame teams have earned 13 consecutive NCAA tournament berths, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1993 and the round of 16 in `94, `95, and `97. Her squads have won 20 or more matches 12 times. A nine-time conference coach of the year and the only four-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year (in addition to four honors in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and one in the Pac-10), she has coached eight Irish players to All-America honors, while 35 have gained all-BIG EAST mention since 1995. The Irish also have claimed 13 regular-season conference titles (4 Midwestern Collegiate, 9 BIG EAST) and 12 league tournament crowns (4 MCC, 8 BIG EAST). A co-captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic volleyball team after winning a pair of national championships and earning All-America honors twice while playing at USC, Brown graduated from Arizona State in 1982 and coached her alma mater from 1983-88, helping the Sun Devils to five NCAA tournaments.
ND UP TO ALL-TIME HIGH OF #5 IN CSTV/AVCA POLL: After beating #6 Louisville and Cincinnati to extend its winning streak to 13, Notre Dame rose two spots to #5 in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, released on Monday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. It is the highest-ever listing for the Irish in the poll after last week had matched the previous high of seventh (first accomplished on Sept. 19, 1995). ND became the first team ever to enter the top five in the AVCA poll after being unranked to begin the year. Notre Dame began the season as the second team receiving votes outside of the AVCA top 25, then moved to 19th on Sept. 5 and to eighth on Sept. 12. A loss dropped the Irish to 11th on Sept. 18, and they edged upward since. This week marks ND’s 15th all-time ranking in the top 10. Since being ranked for the first time in the preseason of 1992, the Irish have been listed in the AVCA top 25 at some point in every season except for one (1999). In all, Notre Dame has been ranked in 129 of the 208 polls since then (62%). Only 20 schools have been ranked on more occasions than the Irish since the AVCA rankings debuted in 1982, and just 16 have been in more polls since the commencement of the 1992 campaign. Four of Notre Dame’s 2005 opponents – #6 Florida, #7 Louisville, #14 Texas, and #16 Southern California – are also in the top 20, while Tennessee is receiving votes (listed 26th). The Irish and Cardinals have made this season the first time ever that two BIG EAST Conference teams were listed simultaneously in the AVCA poll. ND is the 31st team ever to crack the national top five, the first from the BIG EAST. Notre Dame also moved up two spots to a season-high sixth in the Molten/Volleyball magazine poll this week. It is one shy of the program-best in that listing, which came on Sept. 18, 1995.
BREWSTER TABBED BIG EAST PRESEASON POY; KELBLEY ON ALL-LEAGUE TEAM: Senior middle blocker Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), a third-team All-American and the conference-tournament MVP in 2004, was tabbed the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year and is joined by fellow senior OH/MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) on the preseason all-BIG EAST team in voting by the league’s head coaches. Brewster is the fourth Notre Dame student-athlete – but first since 2001 – to be named the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year in the eight years since the award debuted in 1998. Other Irish competitors to enter the season with that distinction were setter Denise Boylan in both `98 and 2000 and OPP Kristy Kreher in 2001. Only two of the previous seven preseason players of the year have gone on to also be the postseason picks of the coaches as the BIG EAST’s best player in the same season: Boylan in 2000 and Pittsburgh’s now-graduated Megan Miller a season ago. Notre Dame has placed multiple players on the preseason all-BIG EAST teams in each of its eight years of existence.
STASIUK TABBED CVU.COM NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK, MAKING ND FIRST SCHOOL TO HAVE MULTIPLE HONOREES: Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was named the CVU.com National Player of the Week on Tuesday by the Collegiate Volleyball Update. It came on the heels of her being tabbed the BIG EAST Player of the Week after helping Notre Dame to a trio of wins that keyed its rise to #7 in the latest national rankings – matching the program best. Notre Dame is the first school to earn the honor on multiple occasions in the history of the accolade, after senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster won it on Sept. 5. In victories against Illinois State, South Florida, and Georgetown, Stasiuk turned in outstanding all-around numbers, averaging 4.30 kills on .396 hitting to go with 3.90 digs and 1.50 blocks for 5.75 points per game. She tallied a total of 43 kills to go with 39 digs, 15 blocks (including eight solos), six assists, and three service aces for 57.5 points. An illustration of her all-around excellence was the fact that Stasiuk posted match-high numbers in a particular statistical category on nine occasions – and in six different categories – last week. She was tops among all players in kills (20), hitting (.349), and points (22.5) vs. the Redbirds; in digs (13), blocks (4), aces (2), and points (14.5) against USF; and in kills (14) and points (20.5) vs. Georgetown.
STREAKS: The following streaks are active heading into this week: – ND has won 13 consecutive matches [last loss: 9/18 vs. Louisiana State, 2-3]
– ND has won nine consecutive home matches [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3]
– ND has won 28 consecutive matches when winning game one [last loss: 10/20/04 at BYU, 2-3]
– ND has won 55 consecutive matches when winning the first two games [last loss: 9/18/02 at Purdue]
– ND has won eight consecutive matches when splitting the first two games [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3]
– ND has won 37 consecutive matches when finishing with a higher hitting percentage than its opponent [last loss: 11/16/03 at Pittsburgh, 2-3, .215-.170 hitting]
– ND has won 30 consecutive matches when finishing with more kills than its opponent [last loss: 11/16/03 at Pittsburgh, 2-3, 69-63 kills]
– ND has won 21 consecutive matches when finishing with more blocks than its opponent [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3, 18.5-15 blocks]
– ND has won 13 consecutive matches lasting three games [last loss: 12/4/04 at Wisconsin, NCAA second round]
– ND has won nine consecutive matches lasting four games [last loss: 9/28/04 at Michigan]
– ND has won 17 consecutive matches not played on neutral courts [last loss: 12/4/04 at Wisconsin, NCAA second round, 0-3]
– ND has won 14 consecutive matches against BIG EAST teams [last loss: 11/7/04 vs. Boston College, 0-3]
– ND has won 14 consecutive matches against the AVCA’s Northeast Region [last loss: 11/7/04 vs. Boston College, 0-3]
– ND has won five consecutive matches against nationally-ranked teams [last loss: 9/4/04 vs. #2 Nebraska, 2-3]
– ND has had 50+ kills in 12 consecutive matches [last below: 9/25 vs. Seton Hall, 48]
– ND has allowed fewer than five service aces in 12 consecutive matches [last above: 9/25 vs. Seton Hall, 5]
– ND has had at least one service ace in 191 consecutive matches [last without: 10/9/99 at Rutgers]
– Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican has had 10+ digs in 16 consecutive matches [last without: 9/10 vs. Oklahoma, 8 digs]
– Senior MB Lauren Brewster has had 10+ points in 48 consecutive matches [last without: 9/3/04 vs. #2 Nebraska, 9.5 pts.]
– Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis has had 35+ assists in 16 consecutive matches [last without: 9/10 vs. Oklahoma, 33 assists]
– Senior MB Lauren Brewster has had 10+ kills in 10 consecutive matches [last without: 9/30 at Syracuse, 4 kills]
– Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican has played in each of the last 313 Irish games, the longest streak in school history [last game missed: 11/15/02 at Miami]
– Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster has played in all 113 matches since stepping onto campus
– Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis has led Notre Dame in assists in all 51 matches as a collegian
Notes On This Week’s Matches …
ND-SAINT LOUIS SERIES NOTES: The Irish and Billikens, formerly rivals in both the North Star and Midwestern Collegiate Conferences, will play for the fourth time since 2000 and the 12th time overall … ND leads the series 7-4, but the teams have split the last four meetings … in the most-recent match, ND prevailed 30-25, 30-13, 30-19 in the 2002 Loyola Marymount Classic in Los Angeles … the last SLU win came in 2001, when it upset #21 ND 16-30, 30-27, 30-21, 30-27 at home … Saint Louis last played in the Joyce Center in 2000, when the 21st-ranked Irish won 3-0 … ND is 3-0 all-time at home against SLU … the Irish lead 28-15 in games won … 3 of the 4 Saint Louis victories have come in 5-game matches … in `83, the Billikens won 3-2 (15-12 in the 5th) at home in the first-ever meeting between the schools and then duplicated that feat less than a month later in the North Star tournament in Dayton, Ohio (15-3 in the 5th) … the teams also played a pair of 5-game matches in `90, with ND winning the first (15-12 in the fifth) at home, and SLU taking the second in the MCC tournament 3rd-place match in Cincinnati, Ohio (15-12 in the fifth) … ND’s first win over SLU came at home in `84 in a 3-0 decision, which began a 5-match winning streak … ND holds a 32-9 all-time record against current members of the Atlantic 10 … Debbie Brown boasts a 17-1 mark vs. the A-10, including a 15-1 record while at ND … ND had two St. Louis natives and St. Louis Elite VBC products play for them from 2000-03: Kim Fletcher (Nerinx Hall H.S.) and Katie Neff (Cor Jesu Academy), who is now a member of the ND Monogram Club board of directors … those are the only two Mo. products ever to play for the Irish … ND had 11 solo blocks vs. SLU on Sept. 8, 1990, which still stands as the most-ever for the Irish in a 5-game match … ND had 293 attack attempts on Nov. 17, 1990, which is its most in a match in school history.
CURRENT IRISH vs. SAINT LOUIS: See pdf for statistics of current Irish players in career matches against Saint Louis.
ND-SLU MATCH-BY-MATCH: See pdf for the match scores of all 11 previous contests between the Irish and Billikens. ND holds a 7-4 all-time edge, including 2-1 under head coach Debbie Brown and 3-0 at home.
ND-WVU SERIES NOTES: The Irish and the Mountaineers will meet for the 12th consecutive season and 13th time overall … Notre Dame has won 10 of the previous 12 contests, including each of the last six … the Irish were victorious 30-23, 30-25, 30-19 in 2004 in the Joyce Center … ND is 4-1 at WVU, including three straight victories … the teams played twice before the Irish joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995 … in the first-ever meeting, West Virginia won 15-10, 7-15, 4-15, 15-12, 15-9 in the National Invitation Volleyball Championship postseason tournament in Fairborn, Ohio … the Irish gained their first win over the Mountaineers in 1994 in the Joyce Center in four games … after winning the next three in straight games, Notre Dame lost 15-3, 15-5, 15-7 in Morgantown in 1998, which marked just the second loss to a conference team in 50 matches since becoming a BIG EAST member … the Irish lead 32-9 in games won … in the NIVC match, Notre Dame’s Jessica Fiebelkorn posted the highest hitting percentage ever for an ND player in a five-game match, with 13 kills and only two errors on 20 swings for a .550 mark … in ’94, the Irish set a Joyce-Center record with 15 service aces, including six by Angie Harris, which is tied for the third-highest total in school history.
CURRENT IRISH vs. WEST VIRGINIA: See pdf for statistics of current Irish players in career matches against West Virginia.
ND-WVU MATCH-BY-MATCH: See pdf for the match scores of all 12 previous contests between the Irish and Mountaineers. ND holds a 10-2 all-time edge, including 9-1 in BIG EAST action and 4-1 in Morgantown.
ND-PITT SERIES NOTES: ND and UP will meet for the 14th consecutive season and 24th time overall … ND has won 18 of the previous matches against its most-common opponent … the 14-year streak of at least one contest against the Panthers also is the longest vs. any current foe … the teams met twice in both 2003 and `04, once in the regular season and again in the BIG EAST tournament final … after ND had won 15 straight, the Panthers prevailed twice in `03 (when the teams were the league’s co-champs in the regular season), but the Irish struck back last season, winning 30-25, 30-22, 30-19 at home in the regular season and 30-23, 30-26, 30-26 at Pittsburgh in the postseason … ND is 15-4 all-time at Pittsburgh, including 7-3 vs. the Panthers (other matches in BIG EAST tournament) … the schools first met in 1984 in Pittsburgh, with the Panthers winning 3-0 … the Irish eliminated Pitt from the 1994 NCAA tournament second round with a four-game win in the Joyce Center … the BIG EAST era has seen the Irish win 14 of 16 matches, with the teams playing in the league tournament on six occasions … ND leads in games won 56-30 … these were the only two BIG EAST teams to earn bids to the 2004 NCAA tournament … libero Meg Henican had 25 digs in both matches in `04, totals that have been surpassed in three-game matches just three times in ND history.
CURRENT IRISH vs. PITTSBURGH: See pdf for are statistics of current Irish players in career matches against Pittsburgh.
ND-PITT MATCH-BY-MATCH: See pdf for the match scores of all 23 previous contests between the Irish and Panthers. ND holds an 18-5 advantage, including 17-2 under head coach Debbie Brown, 14-2 (9-1 regular season, 5-1 tournament) as BIG EAST rivals, and 8-3 in Pittsburgh.
MOST-COMMON OPPONENTS IN IRISH HISTORY: See pdf for the list of most-common opponents faced by Notre Dame in its 26 years of varsity volleyball.
MOST WINS AGAINST ONE SCHOOL: See pdf for the list of teams Notre Dame has defeated most in its 26 years of varsity volleyball.
UPDATE ON THE AVCA TOP FIVE: See below last week’s results and this week’s schedule for the top five teams in the AVCA poll:
#1 Nebraska (21-0, 12-0 Big 12) — Last week: def. Kansas 3-0, def. Texas Tech 3-0; This week: Wednesday vs. Oklahoma 6-16, 1-2 Big 12), Saturday at Iowa State (13-11, 6-7 Big 12)
#2 Washington (20-0, 11-0 Pac-10) — Last week: def. #9 Arizona 3-2, def. Arizona State 3-0; This week: Wednesday vs. #4 Stanford (20-3, 9-2 Pac-10), Friday vs. #18 California (14-6, 7-4 Pac-10)
#3 Penn State (21-2, 12-0 Big Ten) — Last week: def. #11 Wisconsin 3-1, def. Northwestern 3-0; This week: Wednesday vs. #19 Ohio State (15-6, 8-4 Big Ten); Friday at Indiana (9-15, 2-10 Big Ten)
#4 Stanford (20-3, 9-2 Pac-10) — Last week: def. Oregon 3-0, def. Oregon State 3-0; This week: Wednesday at #2 Washington (20-0, 11-0 Pac-10); Friday at Washington State (8-16, 1-10 Pac-10)
Notre Dame Team Notes …
13 IN A ROW: Notre Dame has won 13 consecutive matches since losing to LSU on Sept. 16 (20-18 in the fifth). It is the seventh time in program history the Irish have won 10 or more matches in a row. It is the longest streak since a 14-match winning streak from Sept. 17-Nov. 9 in 2003. That is the second-longest string in ND history, behind only a 17-match streak from Oct. 24-Nov. 21, 1986.
START ME UP: Notre Dame has begun the season 20-1, matching the best 19-match start in Irish history, done previously by the `94 squad. That team began 20-1 en route to a program-best 33-4 record and a program-best #12 final ranking, losing in the NCAA round of 16. That team lost 3-1 at Florida State in its bid to become 21-1.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Heading into this week, Notre Dame is the only team to rank among the NCAA Division I leaders (30 teams are ranked) in both blocks per game and digs per game. The Irish, who have finished in the top five in the category for four straight years, are fifth in blocking, at 3.55. Notre Dame — which has never finished among the national leaders and has never ended up better than fifth in the BIG EAST in the category — ranks 21st in Division I (and first in the conference) with 18.35 per game.
BLOCK PARTY: The Irish are once again one of the top blocking teams in the nation, coming into the weekend ranked fifth nationally, at 3.55 per game. Notre Dame, which has led the BIG EAST Conference in each of the last four years and has been among the top five blocking teams in the NCAA in all of those seasons, returned eight of its top nine blockers from last year’s squad that averaged 3.37 per game, good enough for fourth nationally. After being fifth in 2001 (3.53) and second in ’02 (3.66), the Irish led Division I in team blocking in 2003 (3.72). Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year, has led the conference in blocking in both overall and league action in each of her three collegiate seasons. After setting Notre Dame freshman records in both total blocks (175) and block average (1.68) and coming in fourth nationally in 2002, she was the NCAA blocking champ in 2003 (1.78) and finished 21st last season (1.54). Brewster and fellow senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) rank first and third, respectively, in this week’s conference leaders at 1.58 and 1.42 blocks per game. Brewster is 11th nationally.
TOUGH TO KNOCK OUT: Notre Dame has been outstanding when facing game point this season, winning 23 points and losing just 12 when the opposition is on the verge of winning the game. The Irish are 4-1 when facing match point. On three occasions this year, ND has been down game point, but then won the game (game two vs. Texas & USC, game one vs. Valparaiso). Plus, the Irish saved five game points in the first game at St. John’s before losing 30-28.
HUGE HITTING: After struggling early in the season, Notre Dame’s offense has caught fire of late, posting the three highest attack percentages of the season over the past six matches and hitting over .350 in four of the last seven (after doing that just once in the first 14 matches of 2005). The Irish hit .355 at Connecticut on Oct. 9 and then posted the highest mark in 20 years and the second-highest all-time on Oct. 15, with a .522 hitting mark at DePaul. After hitting .231 at Illinois State, Notre Dame hit .451 against South Florida on Oct. 21 and .393 vs. Georgetown two days later. Over those seven matches, the Irish have hit over .300 in 13 of the 23 games, including over .400 in eight of them.
SENIOR CITIZENS: Notre Dame has five seniors on its roster in 2005: MB Lauren Brewster, S Kelly Burrell, MB Carolyn Cooper, L/OH Meg Henican, and OH/MB Lauren Kelbley. The last Irish volleyball team to feature five seniors was the 2000 squad, which boasted S Denise Boylan, OH Christi Girton, S/DS Michelle Graham, MB/OPP Jo Jameyson, and OH Adrienne Shimmel. That team went 26-7 and finished ranked 21st after losing in five games at Ohio State in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament. This is just the third time in the 26-year history of the varsity program that a team has featured five or more seniors. The other squad was the `92 one, which had DS Andrea Armento, OH Marilyn Cragin, MB Jessica Fiebelkorn, MB Cynthia May, MB Majenica Rupe, OH Jen Slosar, and OH Alicia Turner. That team went 30-8 and finished 22nd, falling in the round of 32 of the NCAAs.
THE IRISH EXPERIENCE: Notre Dame has one of its most-experienced teams in 2005, as the Irish returned nine of their top 10 players (in terms of games played) from last year’s squad. All nine of Notre Dame’s returnees had been starters in the past, heading into the year having combined for 284 career starts (31.6 per person). A pair of fourth-year starters – seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH/MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) – lead the Irish veterans, along with third-year starter L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), as well as three other returning starters: senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) and sophomores S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.). Heading into this season, Notre Dame’s roster had players who had combined to play in 1,790 career games. See pdf for Irish teams with the most combined career games played heading into the season:
LINEUP SWITCH LEADS TO OFFENSIVE FIREWORKS: After eight matches, Notre Dame’s offense was averaging just 14.81 kills per game (10th out of 15 in the BIG EAST) on a .200 attack percentage (10th), plus 13.52 assists per game (8th). Head coach Debbie Brown responded by shifting her lineup, using mostly the same players, but altering rotations, sliding senior co-captain Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) into the libero and moving sophomore Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) from there to outside hitter, and using junior DS/L Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) and senior S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School) as back-row substitutes. The alterations have resulted in a much-improved Irish attack, as sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) has Notre Dame averaging 16.98 kills and 15.65 assists on .292 hitting over the last 13 matches.
DYNAMITE DIGGING: Notre Dame has put up some outstanding dig numbers this season, averaging a BIG EAST best 18.35 per game (the Irish came into the week ranked 21st nationally in the category). The season average is higher than the ND record in the category (18.23 in 1992). Leading the way are two players that rank among the top five in the BIG EAST, senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and sophomore OH/L Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.). Henican — who broke the Irish individual record for digs in a season in 2004 — is fourth with an average of 4.54 per game, while Stasiuk, who missed the first three matches of the season, ranks fifth at 4.25. Sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) is averaging 2.55 per game, while junior DS/L Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) is at 2.53 per game.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Notre Dame’s serve-receiving corps has allowed just 55 aces in 74 games this season, an average of 0.74 per game (the Irish record is 0.94 in 2003). ND has not allowed an ace in 40 games (54%), and the Irish held Syracuse — which led the BIG EAST — without an ace in a 3-0 win on Sept. 30. The Irish are led by senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who has taken 49% of the opposing serves this season and has made just 15 errors for a 98.1% reception percentage. That included a streak of 238 in a row without an error from Sept. 25-Oct. 15. Sophomore OH/L Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) is next, having taken 31% of the serves with a 97.2% success ratio, while junior DS Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) is at 97.0%. The Irish are coming off the two best serve-receiving seasons in program history, having surrendered a program-record 0.94 aces per game in 2003 before allowing 0.96 last year.
SERVE IT UP: Notre Dame has been a prolific squad at the service line this season, as the Irish have 126 aces (1.70) and just 157 service errors (2.12). The ace-to-error ratio of 0.829 would rank as the second-best output in program history, behind only the 1996 (1.03) team. The Irish have had more aces than errors in eight matches. Leading Notre Dame is senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), who is fifth in the BIG EAST in aces (35, 0.47). Sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) is averaging 0.30 per game (22 aces), while senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) is at 0.23 and senior L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) is at 0.22. None of the top three have more errors than aces this season, as Cooper leads the way with 17 aces and 12 errors for a 1.42 ratio, while Tarutis is at 1.16, and Kelbley is at 1.13.
QUICK BIG EAST START: Notre Dame has continued its tradition of quick starts in BIG EAST Conference play, opening 10-0. It is the ninth time in 11 years of league membership (not `98 or `04) that the Irish have started BIG EAST action with a 10-0 mark.
IRISH HIT .522 AT DePAUL, INCLUDING .812 IN FINAL GAME: On Oct. 15, Notre Dame posted its highest hitting percentage in a match in 20 years and its second-best all-time, finishing with 53 kills and six errors on 90 attempts for a .522 mark in a three-game win at DePaul. The only better hitting match in the 26-year history of the program came on Oct. 3, 1986, against Marquette, when ND hit .539. In game three, which ND won 30-10, the Irish had 14 kills and just one error on 16 swings (DePaul dug just one ball) for an .812 hitting mark. It is the highest in the 15-year Debbie Brown era (previous records inconclusive). The prior high was .750 (9-0-12) in game one against DePaul on Sept. 26, 1995.
IRISH CLINCH 11th STRAIGHT BERTH IN BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame, which stands 10-0 in BIG EAST play with four matches remaining, already has clinched one of the eight spots in the 2005 BIG EAST Conference Championship, set for Nov. 18-20 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky., as early as Friday. The Irish have been in the title match of the BIG EAST tournament every year since joining the conference in 1995, winning eight championships.
THE BIG EAST’S DYNAMIC DUO: Louisville and Notre Dame — picked by league coaches to finish first and second, respectively, in the BIG EAST Conference this season — have already combined to make some league history. On Sept. 5, the Irish moved into the AVCA poll at 19th, joining the 11th-ranked Cardinals to mark the first time ever that two BIG EAST schools were nationally-ranked in volleyball at the same time. The following week, the teams took it one step further, as Notre Dame rose to eighth in the AVCA rankings and Louisville was right behind at ninth. It was the first time that the BIG EAST has had two of the top 10 volleyball teams in the country.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES: Perhaps the most notable characteristic of this year’s Irish team has been an ability to win close games. On the season, Notre Dame is 26-8 (.764) in games decided by four points or fewer (8-0 in the UTSA Dome Rally), including winning all three games against #6 Florida by exactly two points and winning three games over #6 Louisville by a combined seven points.
GIANT KILLERS: The five-member class of 2006 is just the second group in Notre Dame history to have upset at least one top-15 team in each of its four seasons playing for the Irish. The current seniors topped #10 Pepperdine in 2002, #10 Arizona in `03, #14 Utah a year ago, and #11 Texas, #8 USC, and #6 Florida this season. The only other class to do that was the duo of OH Brett Hensel and S Shannon Tuttle, which graduated in 1996 after being part of teams that beat #13 New Mexico in 1992, #9 Illinois, #3 Nebraska, and #8 Nebraska in `93, #15 Colorado and #9 Florida in `94, and #9 USC as well as #15 Colorado twice in `95.
IRISH CHAMPIONS AGAIN: Notre Dame won a pair of five-game matches (vs. #11 Texas and Arizona State) to win the championship of The Inn at Saint Mary’s Shamrock Invitational for the fifth consecutive time and eighth time in 11 all-time tournaments. It meant that 2005 is the sixth consecutive season in which the Irish have captured at least one in-season tournament championship. Last season, they won both the Cal Poly Invitational and the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament in Long Beach, Calif. In 2003, Notre Dame won both the Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas, and its own Shamrock Invitational. The Irish also won the Shamrock Invitational from 2000-02 and were the champions of the 2000 Lady Seminole Classic in Tallahassess, Fla., and the `02 Golden Dome Invitational at home. Notre Dame also was the only 3-0 team in this season’s UTSA Dome Rally, though there was no champion declared.
A SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER: Notre Dame finished the month of September with a 10-1 record, marking the fourth time in program history — and second time in three seasons — the Irish were beaten just one time in the month. ND also was 14-1 in 1994, 12-1 in `95, and 8-1 in 2003. This September also marked just the third time in program history that the Irish beat a trio of nationally-ranked teams in the same month. Notre Dame also did that in Septembers of both 1993 (four wins: #3 Nebraska, #9 Illinois, #24 Washington, #24 New Mexico) and `95 (#9 USC, #15 Colorado, #15 Colorado).
KNOCKING THEM OFF: In the 26-year history of Notre Dame volleyball, the Irish have knocked off teams ranked among the national top 12 on a dozen occasions, with four of those upsets coming already this season. See pdf for a list of the top all-time Irish victories, sorted by ranking of the opponent.
RANKED WINS: See pdf for the list of most wins over nationally-ranked teams in a season for Notre Dame:
FINISHING OFF GAMES: Notre Dame has saved its best volleyball for the ends of games this season. See pdf for some examples.
BIG POINTS MAKE BIG SEASONS: See pdf for a list of some of the most important points that have led to Notre Dame’s success this season:
NOTRE DAME WINS FIVE STRAIGHT FOR 15TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON: By prevailing in the opening five matches in 2005, Notre Dame made this the 15th consecutive season in which the Irish have had a winning streak of at least five matches, a span that covers every year since head coach Debbie Brown took over the program.
LET’S PLAY FIVE: In the Shamrock Invitational, Notre Dame beat both Texas and Arizona State in five-game matches before losing to LSU in the Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic. The Irish are 71-61 (.538) all-time in five-game affairs, including 9-8 (against some of the top programs in the country) since the current ND seniors stepped on campus. See pdf for all of the 3-2 matches played by them.
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND: Three times this year — twice against top-15 teams — Notre Dame has been down game point, but come back to win the game. Once the Irish had a match point, but could not convert it en route to losing. See details of all four situations in pdf.
Notre Dame Player Notes …
BIG EAST HONORS: See pdf for a summary of Notre Dame’s BIG EAST weekly honors in 2005 (POW – Player of the Week; ROW – Rookie of the Week):
BREWSTER, KELBLEY UNMATCHED AMONG BIG EAST DUOS: Seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) rank among the BIG EAST’s top 10 in points, making ND the only squad with two on that list. Brewster is fourth at 5.23 per game, while Kelbley is seventh at 4.66.
BREWSTER, COOPER AMONG TOP THREE BLOCKERS IN BIG EAST: Seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) enter the week ranked first and fourth in the BIG EAST Conference blocking leaders, averaging 1.57 and 1.36, respectively. Brewster has finished first in the BIG EAST in blocking both in overall and conference matches in each of the last three years, also taking the NCAA blocking crown in 2003. Cooper and Brewster have the Irish atop the team conference leaders in blocking (3.55), as well as fifth nationally. Brewster is 13th in the individual NCAA leaders.
HENICAN, STASIUK IN BIG EAST TOP FIVE IN DIGS: Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and sophomore OH/L Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, among the BIG EAST leaders in dig average, at 4.54 and 4.25 per game. No other school has multiple players in the top 10, and Stasiuk is the only non-libero in the leaders.
TREMENDOUS TARUTIS: Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) entered the week ranking first in the BIG EAST Conference in assists per game, at 12.92. She also has put her offense first in the conference-only leaders in kills per game (17.18).
BREWSTER, STASIUK BOTH POUND 20 KILLS vs. #6 LOUISVILLE: Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) and senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) turned in 21 and 20 kills, respectively, in Notre Dame’s four-game victory against #6 Louisville on Oct. 29. They were the first Irish duo to pound 20 kills apiece in the same match since Brewster and current senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) registered 22 each in a five-game win against Virginia Tech on Nov. 7, 2003. It was just the eighth time in program history that two Notre Dame players have had 20 kills in a match shorter than five games, with the most-recent occurrence coming on Oct. 8, 2000, when Christi Girton had 30 and Kristy Kreher accounted for 22 in a four-game win at Pittsburgh.
BREWSTER NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was named the CVU.com National Player of the Week by the Collegiate Volleyball Update on Sept. 6. It came on the heels of her being named the MVP of The Inn at Saint Mary’s Shamrock Invitational and the BIG EAST Player of the Week after leading the Irish to five-game victories against #11 Texas and Arizona State over the weekend to claim the tournament title. Brewster was the first Notre Dame player ever to earn the honor (sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk won it on Oct. 24) and the second to be tabbed national player of the week by any organization. The only two-time All-American in Irish history, OH Christy Peters, was recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Sept. 27, 1993, after leading 14th-ranked Notre Dame to a three-game upset of #3 Nebraska in the Golden Dome Invitational, a victory that remains the highest-ranked win ever for the Irish. Brewster was the top Irish performer in both game fives in the Shamrock Invitational, combining for 10 kills on .381 hitting to go with four digs and two blocks in those decisive frames. For the tournament, Brewster led all players in both kills (46, 4.60 per game) and blocks (15, 1.50 per game) and was second in hitting percentage (.310). She also had 10 digs (1.00), two assists, and a service ace for 56.5 points (5.65).
HENICAN BACK IN LIBERO JERSEY: Senior Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) has played 42 of the last 43 games in the libero jersey after starting the season at outside hitter. As the Irish libero, she is averaging 5.26 digs (218 total) and has made just eight reception errors in 481 attempts (.983).
IRISH 35-3 WHEN COOPER STARTS: Notre Dame has posted a 35-3 record when current senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) is in the starting lineup, 1-0 in 2003, 16-2 in `04, and 18-1 this season.
CROAL’S KILLS: In the five-game loss to Louisiana State, freshman Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) had 19 kills. It was the most by an Irish rookie since Emily Loomis had 19 against Georgetown on Sept. 30, 2001.
BREWSTER HITS 1,300 KILLS, KELBLEY NEARS IT: Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) posted the 1,300th kill of her career on Oct. 29 against #6 Louisville, becoming the sixth Irish player to reach that mark, as well as the only one who was primarily a middle blocker. Her classmate, OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), enters the week just seven kills away from joining her teammate in the 1,300-kill club. Only one set of classmates — Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee (1994-97) — has accomplished that feat before.
HENICAN ON PACE TO BREAK ND CAREER DIG AVERAGE RECORD: Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) heads into this weekend averaging 3.95 digs per game throughout her career, which is on pace to break the Notre Dame record of 3.72 by Christy Peters (1991-94). She also needs 149 digs to reach Peters’ record for career digs (1,640).
BREWSTER BREAKS ND CAREER RECORD FOR BLOCK ASSISTS, NEARS TOTAL BLOCKS MARK: Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) broke the Notre Dame career record for block assists with her first one against DePaul on Oct. 15. That allowed her to pass former record holder Mary Leffers, who had 516 from 1996-99. Brewster enters the weekend with 537. She also stands second on the Irish lists for career block average (1.64, record is 1.68 by Mary Kay Waller) and total blocks. She is 51 blocks shy of Waller’s (1985-88) record of 699.
TARUTIS GETS 2,000th ASSIST: Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) brought her career assist total to 2,000 with her final one against Georgetown on Sunday. She is the sixth Notre Dame player to record 2,000 career assists.
JUST CALL HER “MISS GAME FIVE”: Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was outstanding in the two game fives in The Inn at Saint Mary’s Shamrock Invitational, posting 10 kills on .381 hitting to go with four digs and two blocks. Throughout her career in fifth games, Brewster is averaging 2.60 kills per game on .304 hitting (39-15-79) to go with 18 digs and 12 blocks for 45.5 points (3.03). [Note: Statistics unavailable from two game fives.]
IRON WOMAN I: Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) enters the weekend having played in each of the last 313 Irish games, the longest streak ever by a Notre Dame volleyball player. She played in just two of five games against Miami on Nov. 15, 2002, but then finished out that campaign and then appeared in every game in both 2003 and `04 and all 67 thus far this season. She is the only Irish player ever to play in every game in consecutive seasons.
IRON WOMAN II: Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) has played in all 113 Notre Dame matches since joining the team in 2002, starting 97 of them. She has a chance to be the third Irish player ever to play in every match during her career, following in the footsteps of Janelle Karlan (1990-93, 145 matches) and Jenny Birkner (1993-96, 140 matches).
BREWSTER’S ASU OUTPUT AMONG BEST EVER BY AN IRISH MB: Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) had 28 kills against Arizona State on Sunday. Only once has a Notre Dame middle blocker had more kills in a match. See pdf for the list of top kill totals by Irish middles:
… AND MOST IN THE JOYCE CENTER BY ANY PLAYER SINCE 2000: The 28 kills by senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) against Arizona State on Sunday were the most in the Joyce Center by any player since Sept. 21, 2000, when Loyola Marymount’s Sarah McFarland had 45 (on 111 attempts, which still stands as an NCAA record for a four-game match) and Kristy Kreher of Notre Dame posted 32 in a four-game Irish triumph.
ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: See pdf for a summary of Notre Dame’s all-tournament honors in 2005:
HENICAN, BREWSTER TABBED CO-CAPTAINS: Seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH/L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) will serve as Notre Dame’s co-captains this season. Henican is back for her second season in the role, after serving as the lone captain during the 2004 campaign. She is the 10th multiple-year captain in program history and just the fourth to have been a solo captain in at least one of those seasons.
LOCAL INTEREST: Freshman DS/S Madison Clark (Sturgis H.S.) hails from Sturgis, Mich., which is just across the state line and less than 50 miles east of Notre Dame. She is the most-local player for the Irish volleyball team since South Bend native Dyan Boulac wound up her career in 1993.
TOGETHER AGAIN: Sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) are teammates once again with the Irish this season. Both played for the Golden West Volleyball Club prior to coming to Notre Dame,helping it to the bronze medal at the 2004 Junior National Olympics.
Miscellaneous Notes …
IRISH MAKE MUCH AVCA POLL HISTORY: After knocking off #6 Florida and #8 USC en route to being the only 3-0 team in the UTSA Dome Rally (Sept. 9-11), Notre Dame jumped 11 spots to #8 in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Poll. The 11-place rise matched the largest single-week ascension ever for any team in the poll (BYU also moved from 19th before the NCAA tournament to eighth in the final poll in 1996). The two-poll jump of more than 17 spots (from unranked to eighth) by ND stands as the largest in the 24-year history of the AVCA poll. The previous record was the 1995 Oral Roberts team that was unranked heading into the NCAAs, then moved up to 19th after the first two rounds and 10th in the final poll. The largest two-poll jump in ND history prior to this came in 2003, when the Irish were unranked in the preseason, moved to 21st, and then to 15th. The previous best one-week movement came in 1997, when the Irish went from unranked heading into the NCAAs to 18th in the final poll. The ranking was the highest for the Irish since Sept. 3, 1996. On Oct. 31, Notre Dame moved up to a program-best fifth in the AVCA poll, making it the first school ever to crack the top five in the AVCA poll after beginning the year unranked. Twice before (Minnesota in 2002, Ohio State in `04) teams had peaked at sixth in the listing after being unranked in the regular season.
NOTRE DAME RANKS 15TH NATIONALLY IN HOME ATTENDANCE: Heading into the week, Notre Dame ranked 15th in Division I in home volleyball attendance this season, averaging 1,812 for the first nine home matches of the 2005 campaign. The season opener against Michigan drew 1,574 fans — the most ever for a campaign lidlifter and one of the top 100 crowds in the nation this year — and the crowd of 5,541 that watched ND beat South Florida on Oct. 21, just before the ND-BYU football pep rally, is the second-largest volleyball crowd in facility history (and 27th-largest in Division I this season). On Oct. 29, a crowd of 2,597 watched the Irish knock off #6 Louisville, which marked the second-largest non-pep rally crowd for volleyball in Joyce Center history. Overall, 11 of ND’s 21 matches this season have been played in front of crowds of more than 1,000. Notre Dame has finished among the top 25 in home attedance in each of the last three years: 25th in 2002, 16th in `03, 17th in `04.
UPSET OF FLORIDA GIVES BROWN 350th WIN AT NOTRE DAME: The 3-0 victory over #6 Florida on Sept. 11 was the 350th for the Irish with Debbie Brown as head coach. Since first stepping onto campus in 1991, she holds a 362-119 (.752) record. She is easily the winningest coach in program history — a status she first took over in 1995 — having nearly twice as many victories as her closest competitor, Art Lambert, who was 127-87 in seven seasons from 1984-90. Brown is just the ninth head coach in Notre Dame athletics history — in any sport — to register 350+ victories while coaching the Irish, joining Yves Auriol (men’s and women’s fencing), Mike DeCicco (men’s and women’s fencing), Tom Fallon (men’s tennis and wrestling), Jake Kline (baseball), Paul Mainieri (baseball), Muffet McGraw (women’s basketball), Liz Miller (softball), and Digger Phelps (men’s basketball). Of that group, only Auriol and DeCicco hold higher winning percentages during their time at Notre Dame than Brown does.
HOME, SWEET HOME: Notre Dame’s Joyce Center has become one of the most difficult places in the nation for road teams to win, especially since the arrival of head coach Debbie Brown in 1991. Over the last 14 years, Notre Dame has posted a 174-28 (.860) home record. The Irish have pieced together a variety of impressive winning streaks on their home floor, winning 14 or more in a row on five occasions, highlighted by streaks of 27 (1993-95) and 36 (2000-02) straight home victories. Notre Dame also won 74 in a row in regular-season action against conference opposition from 1991-2004. The Irish, who have topped 15 ranked teams – including five top-10 squads – at home, also hold a 164-9 (.948) record against unranked teams in the Joyce Center, including a 52-match winning streak. Notre Dame is 9-0 at home this year, including upsets of #11 Texas and #6 Louisville.
CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has experienced unprecedented success in the decade since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995. The Irish have compiled a 117-6 (.950) regular-season mark, highlighted by nine titles and winning streaks of 45 and 35 consecutive matches. Notre Dame is 65-1 (.984) in BIG EAST regular-season contests in the Joyce Center, and the Irish have won eight BIG EAST tournament championships, posting a 19-2 mark and reaching the final every year. Notre Dame also has dominated the conference awards, winning player-of-the-year honors six times, the coach-of-the-year award on four occasions, and the league tournament’s most-outstanding-player award seven times. Also, Notre Dame student-athletes have garnered 35 all-conference accolades, including 21 first-team honors, which account for more than one-third of the first-team selections during the span. After being the preseason favorite 10 years in a row, the Irish were picked by the league head coaches to finish second to newcomer Louisville in 2005. Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was chosen as the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year, and she was joined on the preseason all-BIG EAST team by senior OH/MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), a unanimous selection.
FIVE ND FALL TEAMS IN NATIONAL TOP 10: The volleyball team is not the only Notre Dame team off to a hot start, as five of the six Irish fall teams head into this week ranked among the national top 10. Women’s cross country leads the way in the rankings at fourth, while women’s soccer and men’s cross country join volleyball at fifth, and football is eighth.
ACADEMIC ACHIEVERS: The Notre Dame women’s volleyball team posted its highest grade-point average on record for an academic year in 2004-05 and was rewarded as a recipient of a Game Plan/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award. The Irish, who had a team GPA of 3.362, were one of just four Division I squads to earn the Team Academic Award and also win at least one match in the 2004 NCAA Championship (also Kansas State, Ohio, and Wichita State). The AVCA Team Academic Award honors college and high-school teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale. Notre Dame was one of 45 Division I programs to be so recognized. The Irish previously copped the honor in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
TV STARS: Notre Dame will be featured on television at least three times during the 2005 season. The Irish beat Texas on Sept. 3 in The Inn at Saint Mary’s Shamrock Invitational in the Joyce Center, which was part of the AVCA’s national match-of-the-week package on College Sports Television (CSTV). Also part of that package will be the BIG EAST Championship title match on Nov. 20 in Louisville (ND has played in that match all 10 seasons since becoming a league member). Additionally, the Irish will make their ESPNU debut on Oct. 30 against Cincinnati and then play host to Tennessee on Nov. 26 in the Irish Thanksgiving Invitational in a match to be televised by Comcast Sports Net. A year ago, Notre Dame was on TV three times in road matches (CSTV at South Carolina, Comcast at Michigan, BYU TV at Brigham Young). The Irish — who played host to Miami in 2003 in a CSTV match — are one of just 10 schools who have been on the regular-season slate of CSTV’s match-of-the-week series in all three years since it debuted. The others are Colorado State, Florida, Hawai’i, Nebraska, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, Stanford, Texas, and Utah.
KEEPING UP WITH ND VOLLEYBALL: For the fastest results of Notre Dame volleyball matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #5 and #1. The hotline provides schedules and result information for all Irish varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the match recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletics website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with results of each Notre Dame volleyball match. Once again, www.und.com will be the best place for in-depth coverage of Irish volleyball. Live scoring of all home matches, as well as live internet broadcasts of six contests supplement the regular match previews and recaps. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting assistant sports information director Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.email@example.com. All requests for story ideas, interview access, match credentials, and further information on Irish volleyball should similarly be directed to Rottenborn. Credential and interview requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance.