Oct. 9, 2004
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) had 13 kills on .500 hitting and her classmate, OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), added 12 kills on a .474 attack percentage as the University of Notre Dame (7-5, 2-0 BIG EAST) turned in one of its best performances of the season in sweeping Rutgers (11-5, 0-1 BIG EAST) 30-23, 30-22, 30-24 Saturday afternoon in the College Avenue Gymnasium. The win was the 100th for the Irish in BIG EAST Conference play in 105 regular-season matches since joining the league in 1995.
The Irish turned in their most consistent offensive match of the 2004 season, notching 16 or more kills on hitting of .270 or better in every game and finishing with a .303 attack percentage. Freshman Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and junior Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Preparatory School) orchestrated the Notre Dame attack, finishing with 27 and 18 assists, respectively. The Irish hitting mark was the second-best performance of the season, while their 50 kills were the second-most in a three-game affair in 2004.
Brewster hit .500 or better for the third time this season and the 12th time in her career, making just two attack errors in 22 swings. Kelbley’s 12 kills came on just 19 attempts (fourth-highest on the team), and she made only three errors. Senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) added nine kills apiece, while junior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy), making her second start of the season, had five kills on .333 hitting.
Notre Dame is just the second school to win 100 BIG EAST matches, joining Pittsburgh, which holds a 103-37 (.736) record in league action, though they have competed in five more seasons than the Irish. The .952 winning percentage for Notre Dame is by far the best of any league school, as the Panthers are next in that category.
The Irish defense was outstanding for the second match in a row, holding Rutgers below .100 hitting in every game and a .081 mark for the match. The Scarlet Knights did not manage more than 13 kills in any game, finishing with 36 kills and 27 errors. Notre Dame had seven different players combine for nine blocks, including a team-high four from Brewster. The Irish held a 38-30 dig advantage, with junior L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) leading the way with a match-high 10. Stasiuk had nine digs and senior DS Kelly Corbett (Mountain View, Calif./St. Francis H.S.) registered a season-high total of six.
The Irish never trailed in game one, jumping out to an 8-3 lead to take control. The Scarlet Knights pulled to within 23-21, but a kill from Loomis ignited a 7-2 run to end the game. Loomis and Stasiuk had five kills apiece in the game, while Brewster added four on six swings.
Rutgers won three of the first five points in game two before Notre Dame went on a run to open up a 15-8 advantage that put the game out of reach. Kelbley led the Irish with five kills on eight attempts.
Notre Dame took control immediately in the third game and never trailed. Rutgers pulled to within a single point at 11-10, but the Irish then pulled away, opening up a lead of as many as nine. Brewster had seven kills on eight attempts in the game, while Kelbley notched five, including one on match point.
The Irish have won all 12 meetings with Rutgers, winning 36 of the 37 games.
Notre Dame will complete a nine-match road trip on Sunday, taking on Seton Hall at 1 p.m. (EDT) in the Walsh Gymnasium.