Nov. 25, 2005
Irish Thanksgiving InvitationalFriday, Nov. 25 - Saturday, Nov. 26 â€¢ Joyce Center â€¢ Notre Dame, IN- Real-Time Stats: Available for all matches via und.comFriday, November 25#9 Louisville (27-2) vs. Georgia, 4:30 p.m. (EST)#7 Notre Dame (27-2) vs. Rice, 7 p.m.Saturday, November 26#9 Louisville vs. Rice, 4:30 p.m.#7 Notre Dame vs. Tennessee (20-8), 7 p.m.- Television: Comcast (tape delayed)- Live Audio: und.com
#7 NOTRE DAME VOLLEYBALL WILL CONCLUDE REGULAR SEASON WITH INAUGURAL IRISH THANKSGIVING INVITATIONAL: The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (27-2) — already assured of a spot in the NCAA tournament following its ninth BIG EAST tournament championship last weekend – will conclude the 2005 regular season this weekend by playing host to the inaugural Irish Thanksgiving Invitational in the Joyce Center. On Friday, action begins with the BIG EAST runner-up, ninth-ranked Louisville (27-2), taking on Georgia (10-17) at 4:30 p.m. (EST) before the Irish play host to Rice (17-9) at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the Cardinals will face the Owls at 4:30 p.m., and Notre Dame will face Tennessee (20-8) at 7 p.m. in a match to be televised on a tape-delayed basis by Comcast.
The full bracket for the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship will be announced on Sunday between 2:30-3:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPNews (channel 207 on DirecTV and channel 142 on Dish Network).
THE RADIO PLANS: Notre Dame’s official athletics website, und.com, features live internet audio broadcasts of 14 Irish volleyball matches this season. Friday’s match will not have live audio, while Dr. Lorne Oke returns to the microphone for the call of Saturday’s contest with Tennessee. The broadcast is available to subscribers of Fighting Irish All-Access (details on und.com).
THE TELEVISION PLANS: Saturday’s Notre Dame-Tennessee match will be televised by Comcast Sports Net on a tape-delayed basis. Mike Lingenfelter (play by play) and Diana Steplyk (analysis) will have the call. It will air on Comcast cable channel 3 in South Bend on Thursday at 7 p.m. (ET), as well as on Comcast Sports Net Chicago on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (ET/7 central) and Thursday at 2 p.m. (ET/1 central), plus on Comcast Local in Michigan on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (ET), and on Comcast Sports South in Tennessee on Thursday at 7 p.m. (ET) and Friday at 2 p.m. (ET).
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics, courtesy of College Sports Online’s GameTracker, will be made available free for both matches, via the Notre Dame athletics web site, und.com
Irish Items: Highlights of This Notes Package …
– Notre Dame moved up one spot to #7 in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25. It is an all-time high for ND at this point in the season. The Irish remained #7 in the Molten/Volleyball magazine poll.
– The Irish have matched the best 29-match start in program history, standing 27-2 for the second time. The 1994 squad began 32-2 en route to going 33-4 and finishing 12th (NCAA round of 16).
– 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) on Oct. 29 and #7 Louisville (3-2) on Nov. 20 in the BIG EAST final. It is the first time ND has ever beaten four top-10 teams in a season. The Irish have won six in a row against ranked teams.
– ND was 13-1 in BIG EAST action and shared the regular-season title with Louisville. The Irish then won a five-game match against the Cardinals to win the conference tournament (sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk was MVP). In 11 years as a BIG EAST member, ND has now won 10 regular-season championships and nine tournament titles.
– Debbie Brown was named the first five-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year (no other coach has won the award more than twice).
– ND became the first team ever to have five all-BIG EAST performers. Seniors Lauren Brewster, Meg Henican, and Lauren Kelbley were first-team selections, while sophomores Adrianna Stasiuk and Ashley Tarutis gained second-team accolades.
– ND has lost just twice this season, both in close five-game matches: 20-18 in the fifth against LSU on Sept. 16 in College Station, Texas, and 15-13 in the fifth at Pittsburgh on Nov. 6.
– ND is one of just 2 teams in DI (Nebraska, 8-0) to be unbeaten (5-0) against the top 25 of the RKPI.
– ND is one of just 4 teams to have 5+ wins over the current top 15 in the AVCA poll.
– This is the first-ever Irish Thanksgiving Invitational. It is the first time ND has ever played at home over Thanksgiving weekend.
– ND is 12-0 at home this season and is looking to finish unbeaten at home for the fourth time (5-0 in 1982, 17-0 in ’94, 12-0 in 2001).
– ND is 3-0 this season in matches that are televised.
– Notre Dame is among the top five in Division I in blocking (5th, 3.58 per game) for the fifth consecutive season. Senior All-American Lauren Brewster (the ’03 NCAA blocking champ) is 14th individually at 1.59.
– Notre Dame boasts 2 players in the top 8 in the BIG EAST in both blocks (Lauren Brewster, 2nd, 1.59 & Carolyn Cooper, 5th, 1.35) & digs (Meg Henican, 4th, 4.72 & Adrianna Stasiuk, 8th, 3.92). ND is the only team with 2 in the top 10 in points (Brewster, 4th, 5.05 & Lauren Kelbley, 9th, 4.45).
– Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis leads the BIG EAST in assists (12.88) and is 27th in Division I.
– Brewster — a 2004 All-American and the `05 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year — is one of only two players to be listed in four categories in the conference-only leaders.
– ND’s offense — led by sophomore Tarutis, who is 47-10 as a starter (6-1 vs. top-15 teams) — has been much improved (16.51 K, .280 in 21 matches) following a lineup shift on Sept. 25 (which included switching Henican to libero and Stasiuk to OH). In the first eight matches, ND had 14.81 kills on .200 hitting.
– ND led the league in assists (15.55) and digs (17.70; never higher than 6th before) in league play.
– ND is on pace to break the Irish record for opponent ace avg. (0.75, record-0.94 in `03). Henican has a .977 reception pct. (taking 51% of serves). Danielle Herndon is at .973 & Stasiuk is at .970.
– Henican’s final dig in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville was the 1,641st of her career, which broke the ND career record (was 1,640 by Christy Peters from 1991-94).
– Brewster needs three blocks to reach the ND career record of 699 by Mary Kay Waller (1985-88).
– Brewster is a first-team Academic All-District selection, while Stasiuk was on the second team.
– Saturday will be the final regular-season match in the Joyce Center for Irish seniors Lauren Brewster, Kelly Burrell, Carolyn Cooper, Meg Henican, and Lauren Kelbley. This is just the third ND team ever to have five or more seniors.
– Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Rice (3-1) and has never played Tennessee.
– Cooper is from Houston. Brewster is the only Tennessee native ever to be an AVCA All-American at any level.
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 371-120 (.756) 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 118-7 (.950) in regular-season BIG EAST play and 22-2 (.917) 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). A three-time first team all-BIG EAST pick 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 (.317) 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. She ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in kills, hitting percentage, blocks, and points, and already holds the ND record for career block assists and is three away from the mark of 699 total blocks by Mary Kay Waller (1985-88). 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 is just the third player from any school ever to be an all-BIG EAST pick four times (first team in 2003 and ’05). 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. This season she has been Notre Dame’s most prolific server, notching 41 aces.
Senior co-captain OH/L Meg Henican (HENN-ih-kin) is back for her third year in the starting lineup and is one of the top liberos in the country, as well as the top defensive player ever to compete for the Irish. A first-team all-BIG EAST selection, she played mostly there over the previous two campaigns, but has also seen time at outside hitter (where she played 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). Her 25th and final dig against #7 Louisville in the final of the BIG EAST tournament was the 1,641st of her career, which broke the Irish record. She has had 20+ digs in a match on 26 occasions during her career and 10 or more in each of the last 24 (the second-longest streak in Irish history, behind her own string of 32 that was ended in September). She is also the team’s top passer, having taken 51% of opposing serves and recording a .977 reception percentage. She had a streak of 238 receptions in a row without an error from Sept. 25-Oct. 15.
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 42-4 record with her as a starter through her career. This year, she ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in blocking (1.35 per game). 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 and last week was tabbed the Most Outstanding Player in the BIG EAST tournament. Stasiuk joins Henican as the core of the serve-receiving unit that is on pace to break the Irish record for opponent ace average in a season.
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 13 times in `05, including in each of the last 14 contests. Freshman OH Mallorie Croal (krole), a Volleyball magazine Fab 50 selection, also has seen time as a regular, starting 11 matches at outside hitter earlier this season. was the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Sept. 5 and also played a key role in the final of the BIG EAST tournament, with 15 kills on .310 hitting off the bench.
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 47-10 as a starter, including 6-1 against top-15 teams, and leads the BIG EAST in assists (12.89), ranking 27th nationally. 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. She 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 371-120 (.756) mark, while holding a 488-203 (.706) 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 13 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 40 have gained all-BIG EAST mention since 1995. The Irish also have claimed 14 regular-season conference titles (4 Midwestern Collegiate, 10 BIG EAST) and 13 league tournament crowns (4 MCC, 9 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 #7 IN CSTV/AVCA POLL: After beating Villanova, Cincinnati, and then-#7 Louisville to win the BIG EAST Championship, Notre Dame slid up a spot to #7 in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, released on Monday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. It is the highest listing at this point in the season ever for the Irish (previous best ranking on Nov. 25 was 12th in 1994). On Oct. 31, ND became the first team ever to enter the top five (program-best ranking of fifth) in the AVCA poll after being unranked to begin the year. This week marks ND’s 18th all-time ranking in the top 10 (with 10 of those coming this season). 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 132 of the 211 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 – #4 Florida, #9 Louisville, #11 Texas, and #13 Southern California – are also in the top 25, while Tennessee is the second team receiving votes outside of the top 25. 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. Notre Dame remained seventh in the Molten/Volleyball magazine poll this week. The Irish are sixth in the RichKern.com poll and jumped eight spots to a season-high sixth in the the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI.
ND UP TO SIXTH IN RKPI: After winning the BIG EAST tournament last weekend, Notre Dame rose eight spots to a season-high sixth in the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI. The Irish are now among the top seven in all three polls (6th in RichKern.com, 7th in AVCA, 7th in Volleyball magazine) and in the RKPI, a distinction shared by only four other schools: Penn State (1st in RKPI), Nebraska (2nd), Washington (4th), and Florida (5th). Louisville is third in the RKPI.
BROWN BECOMES FIRST FIVE-TIME BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR: Notre Dame’s Debbie Brown became the first five-time BIG EAST Women’s Volleyball Coach of the Year when the annual conference awards were announced on Nov. 17. She also won the honor in 1995, 2000, ’01, and ’03 and has been a conference coach-of-the-year on 10 occasions in her career, including in the Pac-10 (1986) and four times in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (1991-94). Since the BIG EAST’s award debuted in 1991, only two other coaches have won it multiple times (Connecticut’s Ellen Crandall in 1993 and ’94; Syracuse’s Jing Pu in 1996 and 2004), and no one else has won more than a pair of them.
ND MAKES HISTORY WITH FIVE ALL-BIG EAST SELECTIONS: Notre Dame became the first school ever to have five players earn all-BIG EAST accolades, as seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), and OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) were first-team selections, and sophomores OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) and S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) gained spots on the second team. No other school had more than three players on the all-BIG EAST teams. Brewster, Kelbley, and Henican are the first trio of Notre Dame classmates ever to be on the all-BIG EAST first team in the same season. It was the fifth time in 11 years of league membership that the Irish had three players on the first team. Kelbley (first team in 2003 and ’05; second team in 2002 and ’04) became just the third player from any school ever to be tabbed to one of the all-BIG EAST teams in each of her four seasons, joining Pittsburgh’s Jennie Driscoll (1993-96) and Villanova’s Stacy Evans (1994-97). Brewster, a unanimous pick for the second straight year, is just the sixth player from any school – and first since 1997 – to be named to the all-BIG EAST first team on three occasions (also in 2003 and ’04). The others were Ann Marie Lucanie from Pittsburgh (1991-93), Seton Hall’s Perrette Arrington (1992-94), Pitt’s Jennie Driscoll (1994-96), Villanova’s Stacy Evans (1994-95, ’97), and Notre Dame’s Jaimie Lee (1995-97). Henican joined Pittsburgh’s Megan McGrane in becoming the first liberos ever to be named to the all-BIG EAST team.
BREWSTER NAMED TO ESPN THE MAGAZINE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT FIRST TEAM; STASIUK ON SECOND TEAM: Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was one of six players named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 5 First Team, it was announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She will now move on to the Academic All-America ballot, which will include just nine players from teams currently in the AVCA top 25. Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was a second-team honoree, making the Irish the only squad with both a first- and second-team selection in District 5. Brewster carries a 3.37 cumulative grade-point average as a marketing and sociology double major, while Stasiuk has a team-high 3.61 GPA as a business major with a minor in mathematics. The duo became Notre Dame volleyball’s first CoSIDA academic all-district honorees since Lindsay Treadwell in 1998. Brewster was joined on the first team by the Ball State duo of Sarah Obras and Stephanie Bacon, plus Bradley’s Gillian Falknor, Liz Mikos from Valparaiso, and Megan Kennedy of Eastern Illinois. That group – along with the first-team honorees from each of the other seven districts – will be featured on the 48-player ballot for Academic America, which will be announced on Nov. 30. Brewster is aiming to be the third CoSIDA Academic All-American in program history. Jessica Fiebelkorn was as second-team selection in 1992 and Jaimie Lee earned second-team accolades in ’97.
STREAKS: The following streaks are active heading into this week:
– ND has won 12 consecutive home matches [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3]
– ND has won 10 consecutive matches when splitting the first two games [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3]
– ND has won 27 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 20 consecutive matches when finishing with more digs than its opponent [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3, 83-81 digs]
– ND has won 18 consecutive matches lasting three games [last loss: 12/4/04 at Wisconsin, NCAA second round]
– ND has won 10 consecutive matches lasting four games [last loss: 9/28/04 at Michigan]
– ND has won six consecutive matches against nationally-ranked teams [last loss: 9/4/04 vs. #2 Nebraska, 2-3]
– ND has had at least one service ace in 199 consecutive matches [last without: 10/9/99 at Rutgers]
– Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican has had 10+ digs in 24 consecutive matches [second-longest streak in ND history behind her own string of 32; last without: 9/10 vs. Oklahoma, 8 digs]
– Senior MB Lauren Brewster has had 10+ points in 56 consecutive matches [last without: 9/3/04 vs. #2 Nebraska, 9.5 pts.]
– Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis has had 35+ assists in 24 consecutive matches [last without: 9/10 vs. Oklahoma, 33 assists]
– Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican has played in each of the last 342 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 121 matches since stepping onto campus
– Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis has led Notre Dame in assists in all 59 matches as a collegian
Notes On This Week’s Matches …
IRISH HAVE THANKSGIVING AT HOME FOR FIRST TIME: Notre Dame will play at home on Thanksgiving weekend for the first time in the 26-year history of the varsity program. It will be the inaugural Irish Thanksgiving Invitational, the second tournament hosted by ND this season. The Irish have been the champions of each of their last five in-season tournaments in the Joyce Center: the 2001, ’02, ’04, and ’05 Shamrock Invitationals and the ’02 Golden Dome Invitational. The last time ND did not prevail in its own tournament was the 2000 Golden Dome Invitational, which was won by then-#7 Colorado State.
ND AIMS TO STAY UNBEATEN ON TV: On Saturday, Notre Dame will look to remain perfect in televised matches this season, having gone 3-0 thus far. The Irish won in five games against #11 Texas on Sept. 3 in a match televised by College Sports Television. Notre Dame then beat Cincinnati 3-0 on Oct. 30 in its debut on ESPNU and earned a five-game victory over #7 Louisville in the final of the BIG EAST tournament last weekend in another CSTV match. Last year, the Irish were 0-3 in matches shown on television.
IRISH PUT FIVE-MATCH WINNING STREAK AGAINST FIRST-TIME OPPONENTS ON THE LINE: Notre Dame will take on Tennessee for the first time ever on Saturday. The Irish head into the match with a five-match winning streak in first all-time meetings. The last first-time defeat for Notre Dame came on Nov. 15, 2002, in a five-game match at Miami. Since then, the Irish beat the College of Charleston in the opening round of the 2002 NCAA tournament before downing Fresno State, Sacramento State, and UC Irvine in regular-season play a year ago, and then South Florida last month.
ND-RICE SERIES NOTES: The Irish and the Owls will play for the first time since 1994 and the fifth time overall … Notre Dame has won each of the last three after Rice took the first-ever match … the most-recent contest saw the #15 Irish prevail 15-6, 6-15, 15-2, 15-3 at home in the 1994 Golden Dome Invitational … Rice’s victory was at home in 1986 in a five-game match (15-12 in the fifth) … this will be the Owls’ third trip to the Joyce Center, where they are winless … Notre Dame leads 11-6 in game victories … both of the first two matches between the teams were 3-2 affairs, with ND prevailing in the 1987 Eastern Kentucky Colonel Invitational in Richmond (15-7 in the fifth) … Notre Dame and Rice played in three consecutive years from 1986-88, but have played just once since then (’94) … Notre Dame holds a 7-5 all-time record against current members of Conference USA … Debbie Brown boasts a 6-1 mark vs. C-USA, including a 4-0 record while at ND … nine Texas natives (fourth-most, behind California-23, Illinois-18, and Indiana-18) have played volleyball for the Irish, including current senior Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Lutheran South Academy, Houston Jrs. VBC) … she is the second Houston-area product to be a regular for the Irish over the last decade, following Jo Jameyson (1997-2000, Alvin, Alvin H.S., Houston Juniors VBC).
ND-TENNESSEE SERIES NOTES: The Irish and Lady Vols will meet in women’s volleyball for the first time … the match will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by Comcast … it will be the second first-time opponent of the 2005 season for Notre Dame, which beat South Florida 3-0 in the inaugural match between the schools on Oct. 21 … the Irish head into the season having won four in a row against first-time foes, having beaten the College of Charleston in the opening round of the 2002 NCAA tournament before downing Fresno State, Sacramento State, and UC Irvine in regular-season play a year ago … the last first-time defeat for ND came on Nov. 15, 2002, in a five-game match at Miami (15-7 in the fifth) … Debbie Brown holds a 14-12 career record against current members of the Southeastern Conference, including an 11-8 mark while at Notre Dame … senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Brentwood H.S., Impact VBC) is the first Tennessee product ever to play volleyball for the Irish … a third-team selection in 2004, she stands as the only Volunteer State native ever to be named to one of the AVCA’s All-America teams at any four-year college (Divisions I, II, III, NAIA) … ND and UT have met 53 times previously in other sports, with the Vols holding a 40-13 advantage … the majority of those matchups have come in women’s basketball (UT leads 16-0) or women’s tennis (UT leads, 13-4).
Notre Dame Team Notes …
BIG EAST CHAMPS … AGAIN: Notre Dame won a share of the BIG EAST Conference regular-season title — its 10th in 11 years — by posting a 13-1 record in league play, a mark matched by Louisville. Both schools broke the conference record for wins in BIG EAST play in a season, which was held by the 2001 Irish team that went 12-0 in BIG EAST action. Since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995, the Irish have failed to win at least a share of the regular-season championship on only one occasion: 1998. ND has won eight outright titles and a pair of co-championships (also 2003 with Pittsburgh). Since ’95, no other school has managed to capture more than just a portion of a single BIG EAST regular-season title. Georgetown and Connecticut shared the ’98 crown, while Pittsburgh and Louisville also have earned co-championships.
BIG EAST CHAMPS … AGAIN, PART II: Notre Dame beat Villanova, Cincinnati, and Louisville en route to claiming the title in the BIG EAST Championship. The Irish have reached the title match of the tournament in all 11 seasons since joining the conference, winning nine championships. The only defeats came to Georgetown in 1999 and Pittsburgh in 2003.
START ME UP: Notre Dame has begun the season 27-2, matching the best 29-match start in Irish history, done previously by the `94 squad. That team began 32-2 en route to a program-best 33-4 record and a program-best #12 final ranking, losing in the NCAA round of 16.
THOSE WINNING WAYS: Notre Dame’s 27 victories this season are the most by an Irish team since 1995, when ND finished 27-7. This is the seventh time in the 26-year history of the program that the Irish have had 27 or more victories in a season. The last time they had more than that was 1994, when they finished 33-4. That win total is tied for the most ever in a season (the 1986 squad was 33-7).
LATEST IRISH TOP-10 APPEARANCE: Notre Dame is ranked seventh in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25. It is the first time the Irish have ever been ranked in the top 10 this late in the season. The previous best ND ranking on Nov. 25 was 12th in 1994.
IRISH BOAST FIVE WINS OVER TOP-15 TEAMS: Notre Dame has a 5-0 record against the teams currently ranked among the top 15 in the CSTV/AVCA poll. See pdf for the list of teams with the most victories over those squads this season:
IRISH A TOP-10 STAPLE: Notre Dame has appeared in the top 10 of the CSTV/AVCA poll on 10 occasions this season after having done that just eight times combined over the first 25 years of the program’s existence. Before this season, the Irish had been in the top 10 during much of the 1995 season and briefly early in ’96.
BLOCK PARTY: The Irish are once again one of the top blocking teams in the nation, coming into the weekend ranked fifth nationally, at 3.58 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.) has led the conference in blocking in both overall and league action in each of the last 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 second and fourth, respectively, in this week’s conference leaders at 1.59 and 1.35 blocks per game. Brewster, who is just three blocks away from the Irish record, is 14th nationally this season.
TOUGH TO KNOCK OUT: Notre Dame has been outstanding when facing game point this season, winning 28 points and losing just 18 (61%) when the opposition is on the verge of winning the game. The Irish are 6-2 when facing match point (saved four vs. LSU and two vs. Pittsburgh). 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.
IRISH 8-2 IN TWO-POINT GAMES vs. RANKED TEAMS: Though Notre Dame is just 10-10 overall this season in games decided by two points, the Irish have been outstanding in those situations when facing nationally-ranked teams. ND is 8-2 in two-point games against ranked squads, having gone 1-1 vs. #11 Texas, 1-0 vs. #8 USC, 3-0 vs. #6 Florida, 2-0 vs. #6 Louisville, and 1-1 vs. #7 Louisville in the BIG EAST final.
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 29-13 (.690) 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.
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 list of 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 16.51 kills and 15.21 assists on .280 hitting over the last 21 matches.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Notre Dame’s serve-receiving corps has allowed just 77 aces in 103 games this season, an average of 0.75 per game (the Irish record is 0.94 in 2003). ND has not allowed an ace in 54 games (52%), and the Irish held Syracuse — which led the BIG EAST at the time — 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 51% of the opposing serves this season and has made just 26 errors for a 97.7% reception percentage or one error every 3.96 games. That included a streak of 238 receptions 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 30% of the serves with a 97.0% success ratio, while junior DS Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) is at 97.3%. 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. Henican was a big part of both of those marks, while Stasiuk also was a key in last year’s serve receiving.
DYNAMITE DIGGING: Notre Dame has put up some outstanding dig numbers this season, averaging a BIG EAST best 17.80 per game. The Irish have posted a higher season dig average just once in program history (18.23 in 1992). Leading the way are two players that rank among the top six 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 last year and the career mark in the BIG EAST tournament — is fourth with an average of 4.72 per game, while Stasiuk, who missed the first three matches of the season, ranks eighth at 3.92. Sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) is averaging 2.54 per game, while junior DS/L Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) is at 2.44 per game.
SERVE IT UP: Notre Dame has been a prolific squad at the service line this season, as the Irish have 162 aces (1.57) and just 217 service errors (2.11). The ace-to-error ratio of 0.747 would rank as the third-best output in program history. The Irish have had more aces than errors in 11 matches after doing that just five times in 2004. Leading Notre Dame is senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), who is fifth in the BIG EAST in aces (41, 0.40). Sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) is averaging 0.27 per game (26 aces), while senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) is at 0.27. All of the top three have more aces than errors this season (something no Irish player has done in a season since Janie Alderete in 2000), as Cooper leads the way with 28 aces and 19 errors for a 1.47 ratio, while Tarutis is at 1.08, and Kelbley is at 1.05.
IRISH STRONG IN BIG EAST CONFERENCE-ONLY STATS: With the completion of BIG EAST play for the 2005 season, Notre Dame earned a pair of conference statistical titles and was the only school to end up among the top three in the league in every team statistical category (a first in program history). The Irish finished first in the BIG EAST in both assists and digs. Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) led ND to an average of 15.55 assists per game, while St. John’s came in next at 15.51. It is the third time the Irish have led the BIG EAST in assists in league play, having also done so in 2000 (with starting setter Denise Boylan) and ’01 (Kristen Kinder). ND has been among the top three in the category in nine of 11 seasons. Tarutis just missed her first BIG EAST individual statistical title, finishing second in assists (13.17) to Cincinnati’s Noel Olson (13.35).
The digs title was much more notable, as Notre Dame had never before finished better than sixth in the BIG EAST in dig average in conference matches. The Irish held that spot in each of the last two seasons, but averaged 17.70 in league play this year to easily out-distance runner-up West Virginia (16.76). The Irish were the only team to have a pair of players among the individual leaders in digs, as senior co-captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) ended third (5.04) and sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was eighth (3.70) and the only non-libero among the top 10 in the conference in digs.
Notre Dame finished second to Louisville in four statistical categories: hitting percentage (.289, Louisville – .338), opponent hitting percentage (.145, .142), kills (16.79, 16.84), and blocks (3.26, 3.83). The Irish were third in the only other category, service aces (1.66), behind Villanova (1.69) and Louisville (1.68).
In conference play, senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) – the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year – averaged 4.02 kills per game (7th in league leaders) on .396 hitting (3rd) to go with 1.43 blocks (5th) for 5.03 points (4th). She joined Louisville senior OH Lena Ustymenko as the only players to be listed among the BIG EAST leaders in four categories. Senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) averaged 3.53 kills on .308 hitting in league play and was tied for eighth in service aces per game at 0.36. Senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) finished ninth in blocking (1.23), while Stasiuk averaged 3.28 kills and 3.70 digs per game to go with 0.94 blocks. In addition to her prolific digging, Henican made just 10 reception errors in 512 attempts (taking 52% of opposing serves) in BIG EAST play for a .980 reception percentage.
ND SNAPS LOUISVILLE’S 20-MATCH WINNING STREAK: Notre Dame won 30-28, 30-28, 27-30, 30-27 on Oct. 29 against Louisville in the Joyce Center after the Cardinals had begun the year with a 20-0 record. It marked the second straight year the Irish ended a long streak as 14th-ranked Utah had won 12 straight before getting swept by ND at home last October. ND also beat the Cards in the final of the BIG EAST tournament, handing U of L its only two regular-season defeats.
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.
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.
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, #6 Florida, #6 Louisville, and #7 Louisville 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 QUINTET POSTS 10+ KILLS EACH vs. LOUISVILLE: Notre Dame’s balanced attack saw five players finish with 10 or more kills in the five-game victory over #7 Louisville in the final of the BIG EAST Championship. Senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster led the way with 19, while sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk had 18, freshman OH Mallorie Croal added 1 off the bench, senior OH Lauren Kelbley had 13, and senior MB Carolyn Cooper registered 11. It was the first time five Irish players had 10+ kills since Sept. 10, 2004, in a five-game victory against Fresno State. Kelbley led the way with 17 against the Bulldogs, while Stasiuk had 15, Brewster 14, Emily Loomis 12, and current sophomore Ellen Heintzman 10.
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).
IRISH HIT 20 WINS FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT YEAR: Notre Dame’s win against Cincinnati on Oct. 30 was the 20th on the season, making 2005 the seventh consecutive year in which the Irish have registered at least 20 victories. In the 15 years under head coach Debbie Brown, Notre Dame has failed to win 20 matches on just one occasion, finishing 18-13 in 1998.
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.
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 13 occasions, with five of those upsets coming this season. See pdf for a list of the top all-time Irish victories, sorted by ranking of the opponent.
IRISH FIRST TEAM IN SCHOOL HISTORY TO BEAT FOUR TOP-10 TEAMS: Notre Dame has victories over #8 USC, #6 Florida, #6 Louisville, and #7 Louisville this season, making it the first team in program history to knock off four top-10 teams in the same campaign. Only one Irish team before ever had beaten multiple top-10 teams in a season; the 1993 squad downed #9 Illinois, #3 Nebraska, and #8 Nebraska. The ’05 ND team has three wins over teams ranked among the top seven after the Irish had accomplished that feat only twice in the first 25 years of the program’s existence.
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:
LET’S PLAY FIVE: Notre Dame is 3-2 in five-game affairs this season, having beaten #11 Texas, Arizona State, and #7 Louisville and lost to LSU and Pittsburgh. The Irish are 72-62 (.537) all-time in five-game affairs, including 10-9 (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.
IRISH SIGN OUTSTANDING GROUP OF FIVE RECRUITS: Notre Dame announced recently that five high school and club standouts signed national letters of intent during the early period to join the Irish program beginning in 2006. The group – which will replace a quintet of current seniors that is in the midst of leading ND in one of its best seasons in program history – is comprised of OH/MB Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey H.S./Sports Performance VBC), OH Christina Kaelin (Louisville, Ky./Assumption H.S./KIVA), MB Kim Kristoff (Carmel, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit Prep School/Team Indiana VBC), S Jamel Nicholas (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine-Richland H.S./Renaissance VBC), and OH/MB/OPP Serinity Phillips (Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center H.S./Vintage VBC). The Irish have three signees rated by PrepVolleyball.com as among the top 25 high school seniors in the nation (Kaelin #9, Fesl #14, Phillips #21), making ND one of only two schools able to boast that (along with Penn State). Only three other schools – Nebraska, Penn State, and Texas – could match the Irish in having a pair of the top 15 on that list. The Senior Aces list began with the current collegiate juniors, and Notre Dame’s highest-ranked recruit prior to this class had been current freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.), who was 32nd.
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):
ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: See pdf for a summary of Notre Dame’s all-tournament honors in 2005:
HENICAN BREAKS CAREER DIGS RECORD: The 25th and final dig of the match for senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) in the final of the BIG EAST Championship at #7 Louisville was the 1,641st of her career, which broke the Irish record for career digs, which had stood for 11 years as 1,640 by two-time All-American OH Christy Peters from 1991-94. Henican now owns every Notre Dame season and career dig record except for career dig average, which she will smash upon completion of the season. She is averaging 4.04 per game, while Peters averaged 3.72 during her career.
BREWSTER BREAKS ND CAREER RECORD FOR BLOCK ASSISTS, JUST THREE SHY OF 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 581. She also stands second on the Irish lists for career block average (1.63, record is 1.68 by Mary Kay Waller) and total blocks. She is just three blocks shy of Waller’s (1985-88) record of 699.
BREWSTER, KELBLEY UNMATCHED AMONG BIG EAST SCORING 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 5.05 per game, while Kelbley is ninth at 4.45.
BREWSTER, COOPER AMONG TOP FOUR 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 second and fourth in the BIG EAST Conference blocking leaders, averaging 1.59 and 1.35, 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 second in the team conference leaders in blocking (3.58), as well as fifth nationally. Brewster is 14th in the individual NCAA leaders.
HENICAN, STASIUK IN BIG EAST LEADERS 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 eighth, respectively, among the BIG EAST leaders in dig average, at 4.72 and 3.92 per game. No other school has multiple players in the top 10, and Stasiuk is the only non-libero in the leaders. They helped Notre Dame lead the BIG EAST in digs per game in conference action (17.70) for the first time.
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 12.88, as well as 27th nationally. She helped the Irish lead the league in assists per game in conference action (15.55).
COOPER HUGE IN BIG EAST FINAL AGAINST #7 LOUISVILLE: Senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) saved one the best matches of her career for one of the biggest moments, in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville. She matched her season high with 11 kills, while also matching her career high with four solo blocks. In addition, she led the Irish with a career-high four aces, while not making a single service error. Cooper also registered a career-best 19 points.
CROAL PROVIDES SPARK OFF BENCH IN BIG EAST FINAL: Freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) turned in one of her best matches of the season in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville. She entered the match early in game two, after the Irish had dropped the opening game and were down 7-2 in the second. She proceeded to hit 15 kills – seven in that game – on .310 hitting to go with a pair of blocks for 16.5 points. Though Croal was a starter for 11 matches early in the season, she had not played in more than two games in any match in more than a month (since Oct. 9).
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 DEADLY AND ACCURATE: Senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) currently stands as the only player to rank among Notre Dame’s all-time top five in both hitting percentage (2nd, .317) and kill average (4th, 3.35). The next-best combination of efficiency and power in Irish history is Zanette Bennett (1985-88), who ranks third in career kills (1,471) and kill average (3.44), as well as sixth in hitting percentage (.289).
STASIUK & BREWSTER 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.
Brewster won it 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 71 of the last 72 games in the libero jersey after starting the season at outside hitter. As the Irish libero, she is averaging 5.24 digs (372 total) and has made just 19 reception errors in 800 attempts (.976)
IRISH 42-4 WHEN COOPER STARTS: Notre Dame has posted a 42-4 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 25-2 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 1,400 KILLS; KELBLEY NEARING IT: Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) posted the 1,400th kill of her career on Nov. 20 in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville, becoming the fifth 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.) stands just 12 kills away from becoming the sixth Irish player in that elite group. Only one set of classmates — Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee (1994-97) — has accomplished that feat before.
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. She also had a pair of kills and a solo block to lead ND to an 8-3 advantage en route to the fifth-game victory in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville. Throughout her career in fifth games, Brewster is averaging 2.56 kills per game on .294 hitting (41-16-85) to go with 18 digs and 14 blocks for 49 points (3.06). [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 342 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 103 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 121 Notre Dame matches since joining the team in 2002. 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 has participated in 423 of the 437 games Notre Dame has played over the past four seasons, which is 97.0%. That is on pace to break Birkner’s record for percentage of games played (96.5%).
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.
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 on Sept. 12. 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 17TH NATIONALLY IN HOME ATTENDANCE: Heading into the week, Notre Dame ranked 17th in Division I in home volleyball attendance this season, averaging 1,700 for the first 12 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, 14 of ND’s 26 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 177-28 (.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 167-9 (.948) record against unranked teams in the Joyce Center, including a 52-match winning streak. Notre Dame is 12-0 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 120-7 (.950) regular-season mark, highlighted by nine titles and winning streaks of 45 and 35 consecutive matches. Notre Dame is 67-1 (.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 five occasions, and the league tournament’s most-outstanding-player award nine times. Also, Notre Dame student-athletes have garnered 40 all-conference accolades, including 24 first-team honors, which account for exactly one-third of the first-team selections during the span.
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 are fifth, football is sixth, and volleyball is seventh.
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 four 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 was the BIG EAST Championship title match on Nov. 20 in Louisville, in which ND prevailed 3-2 over the Cardinals. Additionally, the Irish made 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.