Dec. 16, 2004
Notre Dame junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was named a third-team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), when the organization announced its national awards for the 2004 season on Wednesday. Brewster, who was tabbed honorable mention All-America last season, is the first Irish player ever to gain mention on one of the AVCA’s All-America teams. Fellow junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) was honorable mention All-America for the second year in a row.
The AVCA announced three teams of 12 All-Americans, while 63 other players – the remaining all-region selections – were awarded honorable-mention accolades. The awards will be presented on Friday at the AVCA All-America/Player of the Year Banquet at the Long Beach (Calif.) Westin Hotel, which Brewster is schedule to attend.
That banquet is taking place in conjunction with the semifinals and final of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship, which takes place today and Saturday in Long Beach Arena. The first semifinal, which pits Pac-10 rivals #6 Stanford and #5 Washington, led by former Notre Dame assistant and 2004 AVCA/Tachikara National Coach of the Year Jim McLaughlin, is slated for 5:30 p.m. (PST) and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by ESPN2 at 11 p.m. (EST). The second semifinal, featuring two-time defending NCAA Champion #8 USC and #4 Minnesota, will be played at 7:30 p.m. (PST) and will be shown by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. (EST) on Friday. The final will be televised live by ESPN2 on Saturday at 4 p.m. (EST).
Out of 24 players on the first two teams, only five were middle blockers (six were setters), while five other middles joined Brewster on the third team: senior Melissa Munsch of Texas A&M, juniors Bibiana Candelas of USC and Alexandra Oquendo of Georgia, sophomore Ana Yartseva from future BIG EAST rival Louisville, and freshman Alexis Crimes of Long Beach State. The first team featured only two middle blockers – senior Emily Adams of USC and junior Melissa Elmer from Nebraska – but four setters. Seniors Bethany Howden of Texas and Camille Lefall from California, as well as junior Victoria Prince of Hawai’i were the middles on the second team.
Brewster, who joined Munsch as the only players in Division I averaging over 1.50 blocks (1.54, 21st in Division I) and 1.50 digs (2.18) per game, was the only Tennessee native to be named to the All-America teams. In fact, the Volunteer State had not produced a Division I AVCA All-American since before 1996 prior to Brewster’s selection.
Though Brewster’s citation marked an Irish first, Notre Dame has had players garner other All-America accolades in the past. Most notably, OH Christy Peters was tabbed a third-team All-American by Volleyball magazine in both 1993 and ’94 (the AVCA honored just two teams then), while three former Irish players – MB Jessica Fiebelkorn (1992), OH Jaimie Lee (1997), and S Denise Boylan (2000) – were selected honorable mention All-America by Volleyball at the conclusion of their senior seasons. The AVCA began its honorable mention category in 2003, and four Notre Dame players – Brewster, Kelbley, current senior OH/OPP Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.), and 2004 graduate S Kristen Kinder – were recognized.
Brewster – the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, a unanimous first-team all-conference selection, and the conference’s leader in blocking in both overall and league matches – was the lone player from the league to be tabbed an All-American, though six others were named honorable mention: Kelbley, senior MB Megan Miller – the conference’s player of the year – and juniors OH Gini Ullery and L Megan McGrane from Pittsburgh, junior OH Jackie Ahlers of St. John’s, and junior OPP Kelly Duan of Syracuse. In addition, four players from teams that will be BIG EAST Conference members in 2005 were named honorable mention All-America (in addition to sophomore Yartseva being a third-team selection): senior OH Julie DuPont of Cincinnati and the Louisville trio of senior OPP Bing Sun and juniors MB Jennifer Hoffman and OH Lena Ustymenko.
Team success in the NCAA Championship and AVCA honors were in high correlation, as all 12 players on the first team led their teams to at least the round of16 (six will be playing in today’s national semifinals). The second team featured just four players that did not advance to the second weekend, while the third team had five. In all, just nine of the 36 All-Americans did not reach the round of 16 and only two – UC Irvine’s Kelly Wing and Alexandra Oquendo of Georgia – were on squads that did not win a match in the NCAA tournament.
The selections were made by head coaches comprising the AVCA Division I All-America Committee: Maryland’s Janice Kruger (chair), Colorado’s Pi’i Aiu, California’s Rich Feller, Utah State’s Burt Fuller, Alabama’s Judy Green, New Hampshire’s Jill Hirschinger, Illinois-Chicago’s Nancy Mueller, and Michigan’s Mark Rosen. The AVCA Awards Chair is Illinois State head coach Sharon Dingman.
Notre Dame finished the season with a 21-9 record after winning its ninth BIG EAST regular-season crown in 10 years, as well as its eighth league tournament title. The Irish, who hit the 20-win plateau for the sixth consecutive year and 13th time in 14 years under head coach Debbie Brown, gained their 13th consecutive NCAA tournament invitation, defeating Valparaiso in the opening round before falling at 14th-seeded Wisconsin.
See below season biographical sketches of Notre Dame’s 2004 All-America honorees:
#12 Lauren Brewster
Jr. â€¢ MB â€¢ 6-3 â€¢ Brentwood, Tenn. â€¢ Brentwood H.S. â€¢ Impact VBC
The first AVCA All-American in Notre Dame history, as she was a third-team selection … the first Tennessee native to be named an AVCA All-American since at least 1995 … also named AVCA all-Northeast Region and was a unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST selection … defending NCAA Division I blocking champion (1.78) who also helped the Irish lead the nation in team blocking in `03 (3.72) … tabbed first-team all-BIG EAST, AVCA all-Northeast Region, and honorable mention All-America last year … three-time conference player of the week has earned all-league accolades in each of last three seasons … named BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, notching 27 kills (3.86) on .319 hitting to go with tournament-high 14 blocks (2.00) in helping Irish to eighth title … has established herself as one of the best all-around defensive players in the country, as she is one of only two players in Division I to be averaging over 1.50 blocks (1.54) and 1.50 digs (2.18) per game (also Texas A&M’s Melissa Munsch) … ranks second in Irish record book in career block average (1.66) and hitting percentage (.316) … led BIG EAST in blocking in league matches for third consecutive year, with average of 1.66 … also led conference in overall blocking (21st in Division I) to notch her seventh BIG EAST statistical championship (also blocking in both league and overall matches in 2002 and `03 and hitting percentage in conference action last season), the most in program history … a major reason the Irish are tops in the conference and fourth in Division I in the category (3.37) … has 30 solo blocks in helping Notre Dame rank second nationally in that category (117) … joins teammate Lauren Kelbley as the only players in the conference who ranks among the top 10 in three statisticial categories in both overall and BIG EAST action … in all matches, ranks first in blocking, fourth in points (4.76), and sixth in hitting percentage (.313) … in league play, was first in blocks, second in hitting percentage (.326), and sixth in points (4.75) … also a big factor in Irish leading league in opponent hitting percentage in conference action (.134) … on other Irish career lists, ranks third in total blocks (532) and eighth in kill average (3.15) … led the Irish in blocking for third consecutive season and was also tops in kills (406/3.62), points (533/4.76), and attack percentage (.313) … ranked second in service ace-to-error ratio (0.84, 26 SA, 31 SE) and fourth in digs (244/2.18) and aces (26/0.23) … had 10 or more kills in 26 of 30 matches (tied for fifth-highest single-season total in Irish history) … in second round of NCAA tournament against Wisconsin, became 16th player — and just the fifth middle blocker — in school history to register 1,000 kills … had 11+ kills in 15 consecutive matches from Sept. 4-Oct. 24, the fourth-longest streak of double-digit kills in school history … led team in blocks in 23 matches this season, while also being tops in points 15 times, kills on 14 occasions, hitting percentage 12 times, and aces nine times … posted first triple-double by an Irish player since 1998, ending with 17 kills, 13 digs (matching career high), and 11 blocks against Illinois State … largely responsible for Irish winning the fifth game of that match, when she had four kills on four attempts to go woth two digs and two blocks in the decisive frame … had 11 double-doubles to bring career total to 17 … easily the top defensive middle blocker/hitter in the BIG EAST, boasting a combined block and dig average of 3.72 (no one else is above 2.29) … has been tabbed league player of the week six times during her career, the most in Irish history … named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Nov. 15 after leading Notre Dame to 3-0 wins against Pittsburgh and West Virginia in the final weekend of league play to hand the Irish their ninth regular-season league title … averaged 4.17 kills on .469 hitting (just two attack errors) to go with 3.17 digs and 2.17 blocks in the two matches … earned second BIG EAST Player-of-the-Week award on Oct. 25 after leading Irish to 3-0 road upset of #14 Utah, which snapped Utes’ school-record 12-match winning streak and dealt them their first home defeat in more than a year … notched 18 kills on .567 hitting to go with seven digs in that contest … in three matches during that week, converted half of her attack attempts for kills, ending with 44 (4.00 per game) on a .409 hitting percentage … added 22 digs (2.00) 10 blocks to go with 52.5 points (4.77) … named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Sept. 13 after helping the Irish win the Cal Poly Invitational (16 G, 60/3.75 K, .336 hitting, 3 BS/23 BA/1.62 TB, 41/2.56 D, 78.5/4.91 pts.) … tabbed Cal Poly Invitational MVP after leading all players in hitting percentage (.372) and finishing second in blocks (18/1.64), fourth in kills (42/3.82), and fifth in service aces (4/0.36) … tabbed to all-tournament team in Gamecock Invitational after averaging 3.75 kills on .365 hitting to go with 1.25 service aces, 2.62 digs, 0.88 blocks, and 5.44 points per game … picked up slack for the injured Lauren Kelbley against Northern Iowa, leading all players with a career-high 27 kills, while just missing a triple-double (nine digs, eight blocks) … led all players in five statistical categories — kills (17), hitting percentage (.500), service aces (4), blocks (4), and points (23) — in helping ND to first win over Michigan State since 1994 … turned in the top serving performance for an Irish player since 1995 by notching career-high six aces — including four on a single rotation in game three — against South Carolina … had 10 kills and then-career-high eight digs to go with seven blocks in season opener vs. Loyola University Chicago … reset career high with nine digs in just three games in first match against #2 Nebraska … registered 18 kills in back-to-back matches, doing it first on .452 hitting in Notre Dame’s five-game near-upset of the Cornhuskers … duplicated the feat against Valparaiso, while adding eight blocks and 13 digs to reestablish her career high in the latter category for the third time in four matches … had 14 kills, 13 digs, and seven blocks against Fresno State before notching 15 kills on .323 hitting to go with 11 digs vs. Sacramento State … matched career high with .684 hitting percentage at Cal Poly, notching 13 kills on 19 errorless swings … had five blocks in the third game of match against the Mustangs … had 13 kills and 12 digs against South Carolina … finished Gamecock Invitational with 10 aces and only one service error in 47 times serving … had 13 kills on .500 hitting at Rutgers … had 14 kills and 11 digs at Brigham Young … notched 12 kills on .435 hitting … had nine kills on .320 hitting in 3-0 win at Georgetown in bid to extend streak of matches with 10+ kills to 16 … carried Irish to 3-0 win vs. league rival Pittsburgh, with 12 kills an no errors for .545 attack percentage, to go with 12 digs and eight blocks … had 13 kills on .407 hitting vs. West Virginia … had 19 kills on .366 hitting to go with 11 digs and seven blocks for 22.5 points … posted double-double vs. UC Irvine, with 10 kills on .333 hitting plus 11 digs, while adding eight blocks … had 14 kills on .393 hitting plus nine digs against Long Beach State … notched double-double in NCAA first round against Valparaiso, with 14 kills on .306 hitting to go with 11 blocks for 20 points … was only Irish player in double figures in kills against Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAAs, finishing with 13 kills on .265 hitting to go with 10 digs for another double-double … set Irish record for block assists (161) in 2002 and established freshman records for total blocks (175) and block average (1.68, ranked 4th in Division I) … has played in all 92 matches during her career, starting 89 of them, including 49 in a row before yielding her spot to Kelly Corbett on Senior Night, when the Irish started with Brewster’s position in the back row … has played in 320 of 334 games for a 95.8% mark that stands third-best all-time.
#6 Lauren Kelbley
Jr. â€¢ OH/MB â€¢ 6-1 â€¢ Bascom, Ohio â€¢ Hopewell-Loudon H.S. â€¢ Black Swamp VBC
Three-year all-BIG EAST selection is one of only two current Division I juniors who have gained all-region accolades in each of her first three years … tabbed honorable mention All-America by the AVCA in both 2003 and `04 … gained second-team all-conference honors in 2002 and `04 and was a first-team honoree in `03 … stands as the only Notre Dame player ever to be tabbed to the BIG EAST’s all-conference teams in each of her first three seasons … named rookie of the year for both the BIG EAST and the AVCA’s Northeast Region in `02 … ranks among top 10 in Irish career record book in hitting percentage (5th, .293), kill average (5th, 3.27), matches with 10+ kills (8th, 62), block average (8th, 1.04), and matches with 20+ kills (T-7th, 7) … against Long Beach State on Nov. 27, became the 15th Irish player to post 1,000 career kills … moved to middle blocker to outside hitter for final two matches of last season and has remained there in `04 … led Irish in kill average (372/3.68) and was second in hitting percentage (.244), points (449/4.45), and ace average (0.33) … joins teammate Lauren Brewster as the only players in the conference who ranks among the top 10 in three statisticial categories in both overall and BIG EAST action … ranks sixth in BIG EAST in aces, seventh in points, and ninth in kills … conference-only leaders had her fifth in points (4.77), eighth in hitting percentage (.278), and 10th in kills (3.92) … missed three late-season matches due to a foot injury … named to Cal Poly Invitational all-tournament team … led all players in that tournament in both kill average (44/4.00) and ace average (7/0.64) and was third behind teammates Lauren Brewster and Adrianna Stasiuk with a .264 hitting percentage … had 10+ kills in 22 of 27 matches in which she played this season, and 53 of her last 64 … had 20+ kills five times, including in back-to-back matches, after doing so just twice in her first two collegiate seasons … had 33 service aces after having just 13 in `03 … led Irish in kills in 14 matches and was tops in aces 14 times, points 12 times, and hitting percentage on six occasions … became first Notre Dame player in nearly four years to have 25 kills in a match when she posted that sum on .304 hitting in four games against Seton Hall … turned in one of the best matches of her career in five-game contest vs. Valparaiso, matching career best with 22 kills on .365 hitting, while setting a career high with nine digs and adding seven blocks and two service aces for a total of 27.5 points … had 15 kills and matched then-career high with six digs in season opener against Loyola University Chicago … was only Irish player with double-figure kills against #2 Nebraska on Sept. 3, finishing with 10 and just two errors for a .381 attack percentage … registered 15 kills against the Huskers the following night … led Irish with 17 kills in five-game win over Fresno State … had 15 kills on .364 hitting in three games against Sacramento State, with 10 of those kills coming in the second game … notched 12 kills and matched career high with four aces at Cal Poly … had 12 kills on team-high .273 hitting against South Carolina in final of Gamecock Invitational … set career high with 24 kills on. 404 hitting at Michigan for a total of 27 points … had 12 kills on .474 hitting at Rutgers … notched 20 kills to go with five digs and four service aces (matching career high) in five-game win against Illinois State … outstanding in Notre Dame’s two biggest conference wins … turned in team-high 16 kills on .387 hitting to go with four digs and four blocks vs. Connecticut despite sitting out first 30 points of a game … came back from injury for 14 kills, seven digs, and four blocks against Pittsburgh in contest that eventually determined the league’s regular-season champion … was a key factor in the Irish claiming their eighth BIG EAST tournament championship, posting 34 kills (4.86) on .387 hitting … posted 20 kills on .425 hitting in semis agaisnt Boston College after missing previous two matches … had 14 kills on .343 mark in final against Pittsburgh … notched 14 kills with .357 attack percentage in win vs. UC Irvine … registered 19 kills and season-high eight blocks in Notre Dame’s first-ever win against Long Beach State … three of those kills came after Irish were facing match point, down 14-12 in the fifth game … drilled successive kills on final two points of the match … in the matches she missed due to injury, Irish were 1-2 and hitting just .169, as opposed to a .241 attack percentage and 20-7 record in contests in which she has played … had played in first 82 matches of her collegiate career before sitting out against Boston College … also missed matches vs. West Virginia and Northern Iowa … has played in 313 of 334 games (93.7%, which ranks fourth all-time) during her career … had started 58 matches in a row before the BC tilt.