Oct. 14, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) both notched triple-doubles in leading a potent blocking game that keyed the University of Notre Dame volleyball team’s (9-5) 30-25, 34-32, 25-30, 23-30, 15-10 victory over Illinois State (12-5) Wednesday evening in the Joyce Center. The Irish finished with 25.5 blocks – with four different players taking part in 10 or more apiece – in holding the Redbirds to a .163 hitting mark.
Having already lost two fifth games on their home floor this season, Notre Dame picked up its play in the decisive frame, notching eight kills and making just a single error for a .438 attack percentage to go with four blocks. The Irish never trailed and took the lead for good on a block by senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) and junior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) to go up 3-2. After leading by five at 9-4, Notre Dame, which held leads of four or more points in both of the games they lost, saw the Redbirds rally, eventually cutting the margin to 11-9 and then 12-10. An Illinois State attack error forced an ISU timeout, and then Loomis and Brewster combined for a block to give Notre Dame a match point, which Brewster converted to extend Notre Dame’s current winning streak to four.
Brewster ended with 17 kills on a .318 attack percentage and matched her career high with 13 digs. She also took part in 11 blocks, notching one solo block and assisting in 10 others for a total of 23 points. It was the 12th time in Brewster’s career – but the first instance in 2004 – that she ended up with 10 or more blocks in a match. Wednesday was the 12th consecutive match in which Brewster has had 11 or more kills, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak of double-digit-kill performances in Irish history. Brewster had previously notched 10 double-doubles, including four this year.
Stasiuk was just one assist away from a triple-double the last time she stepped on the Joyce Center floor, but this time she left no doubt, finishing game three with 12 kills, 10 digs, and 10 blocks. At the end of the match, the rookie had 14 kills, 11 digs, and 11 blocks for a total of 21.5 points. In her first 13 collegiate matches, Stasiuk had never had more than five blocks, but she more than doubled that on Wednesday. The match also was the 10th time that Stasiuk, who has had four double-doubles this season, has had 10+ digs in a contest this season, and she finished just two shy of her season high in kills. In addition, Stasiuk had a pair of aces – including one to win the marathon second game.
In an interesting twist, no Irish player had registered a triple-double since Dec. 4, 1998, when a pair of Notre Dame competitors also accomplished the feat on that day. In that match, a four-game, NCAA first-round win over Eastern Washington, Kristy Kreher, then just a rookie, had 24 kills on .541 hitting to go with 14 digs and 14 assists, while senior Lindsay Treadwell registered 11 kills, 16 digs, and 10 blocks.
It was the second time in 2004 a Division I team had a pair of players with triple-doubles; Dartmouth’s Kathryn Hirsch and Elise Krieger did it against Army on Sept. 17. Brewster’s and Stasiuk’s accomplishment of dual triple-doubles that do not include assists is extremely rare. Since 2002, teams in Division I had featured multiple triple-doubles nine times, but none of the players involved in those sported 10+ blocks, as all of them checked in with double-digit assists.
Notre Dame, which led Division I in team blocking in 2003 and came into the match as the top blocking squad in the BIG EAST Conference (and 19th nationally) in ’04, had by far its best blocking match of this campaign, ending up with 25.5 blocks, one of the highest totals in school history. The Irish had only 2.5 blocks in the first game, but they then notched seven in the second game and nine in the third game before ending with three in the fourth and four in the 15-point final stanza. Notre Dame’s previous season high in blocks had been 16 against Syracuse on Oct. 2. Prior to Wednesday, no Irish player had taken part in 10 blocks in a match, but a quartet accomplished that feat against the Redbirds.
Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) continued her hot hitting, finishing with 20 kills on a .283 hitting percentage. It was the second time in as many matches that she hit the 20-kill plateau, following a 25-kill performance on Sunday at Seton Hall. Kelbley also matched her career high with four service aces and had five digs and a pair of blocks for 25 points.
Loomis turned in her best performance of the 2004 season, ending with season highs with 18 kills, 11 blocks, and 25 points, sharing match-high honors in the latter category. The 11 blocks were a career high and five better than her previous season best, and the double-double was the 13th of her career and first of 2004.
Cooper established career highs in both solo blocks (three) and total blocks (10) in becoming the fourth Irish player to notch double-digit blocks. She also matched her season high with 8.5 points.
Rookie S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) matched her season high with 51 assists and was just one shy of her collegiate high in digs with 17 that notched her sixth double-double of the season. She was outstanding as an offensive weapon, ending with four kills on eight attempts for a .375 percentage.
Junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who set an Irish record with 37 digs on Sunday at Seton Hall, finished with 15 against Illinois State, marking the 13th time in 14 matches that she has been in double digits in the category.
Though Notre Dame beat Illinois State for the sixth time in a row, the match rekindled the rivalry in a series that has regularly featured five-game thrillers. In fact, eight of the last 13 meetings between the Irish and the Redbirds have been 3-2 affairs, with Notre Dame winning five of them.
Coming off its best offensive weekend of the 2004 season, Notre Dame began with an efficient first game in which it registered 21 kills while making only four errors for a .347 attack percentage. The Irish won four of the first five points and never trailed, opening up advantages of as many as seven points before getting a kill from Cooper to end the game. Stasiuk had six kills on nine attempts in the game, while Kelbley also had six kills, on a .364 attack mark, and Loomis added four without an error. The Irish had 21 digs, including eight from Henican.
Game two was about as close as possible, as it featured 25 ties and 10 lead changes before the Irish finally prevailed. After the Irish won three of the first four points, ISU won four straight – the longest streak by either team in the game. The Redbirds broke a 19-19 tie by using two Irish attack errors and a service ace by Ashley Grubb to build their largest advantage of the game, at 22-19. But the frame would still feature 10 more ties. Notre Dame pulled ahead by two at 27-25 with a kill by Loomis and a Henican ace, but Illinois State immediately fought back. Kills by Savannah Knowles saved Irish game points at 29-28 and 30-29 and an attack error by Notre Dame gave Illinois State the chance to even the match score. The next two points ended with kills from Loomis, but Kelly Rikli returned the favor on Notre Dame’s third game point. Brewster and Stasiuk combined for a block to set up a game-winning service ace from the rookie that caught the back of the baseline between a pair of Redbird serve receivers. Loomis had seven kills and Kelbley added five in the game, which also featured seven Notre Dame blocks. The 31 points for the Irish were the most in any game this season, bettering Notre Dame’s previous high of 26.
It appeared for a time that Notre Dame would complete the sweep, as the Irish led by as many as four points (14-10) before Illinois State came back to even the score. Trailing 19-18, the Redbirds wnet on a 7-1 run to take control for good. The Irish got to as close as two points (25-23), but Illinois State finally extended the match – and snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Irish – on a Notre Dame service error. The Irish did not win the game even though they finished with nine blocks (Cooper and Stasiuk were in on four each).
The Irish appeared ready to end the match in four games when they were ahead by five midway through the frame, 16-11. Illinois State son six consecutive points en route to a 15-2 run that would put the Redbirds in position to force a final game.
Notre Dame will take its winning streak to the state of Utah next week, first facing the 18th-ranked University of Utah on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (MDT) in Salt Lake City before taking on Brigham Young on Wednesday at the same time in Provo.