Oct. 13, 2004
Notre Dame (8-5) vs. Illinois State (12-4)
Wednesday, October 13, 7 p.m. â€¢ Joyce Center
– Live Internet Audio: www.und.com & www.redbirds.org
– Real-Time Stats: www.und.com
– Breast Cancer Awareness Day, sponsored by St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
– First 300 fans will receive a ND Volleyball special edition t-shirt
– Special t-shirts for cancer survivors
– Free genetic counseling and screening information from St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
– First 500 fans will receive a Krispy Kreme doughnut sponsored by Krispy Kreme
IRISH FINALLY RETURN HOME, WILL FACE ILLINOIS STATE ON WEDNESDAY: Following the longest midseason road trip in school history, the University of Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (8-5) finally returns home this week, as the Irish will play host to Illinois State (12-4) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (EST) in the Joyce Center. It is the first Irish home match since Sept. 7, with a nine-match, 36-day road trip in the interim.
THE RADIO PLANS: For the third consecutive season, various Notre Dame volleyball matches feature live internet audio available to subscribers of College Sports Pass via Notre Dame’s official web site, www.und.com. Dr. Lorne Oke, former head volleyball coach at Bethel College, and Stephen Hinkel are back for their second season teaming up to call Irish volleyball. The match against Illinois State will be the fourth of at least seven broadcasts this season. Illinois State will offer free internet audio via its website, www.redbirds.org, as R.C. McBride and Tom Lamonica call the action. The broadcast also can be heard on WJBC-AM 1230 in the Normal area.
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics, courtesy of College Sports Online’s GameTracker, will be made available on Wednesday, via the Notre Dame (www.und.com) athletics web site.
SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame’s women’s volleyball program has experienced a wealth of success since the arrival of head coach Debbie Brown in 1991. In her 13+ seasons, Brown has guided Notre Dame to a winning record every year (and 20+ wins in each year but one), compiling a 331-114 (.744) mark. The Irish have earned 12 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 eight regular-season and seven tournament titles in nine years. Overall, the Irish are 101-5 (.953) in regular-season BIG EAST play and 17-2 (.895) in conference tournament action. Notre Dame is 56-0 in BIG EAST regular-season matches in the Joyce Center. The 2004 Irish team returned nine monogram winners and four starters from last year’s squad that was 23-7 and finished 24th in the national rankings after peaking at 12th. The Irish also led the nation in blocks per game (3.72, with second-place Cornell at 3.52) and have three of their top four blockers back for the `04 campaign. Offensively, Notre Dame returns three players who were named honorable mention All-America last season and who constitute the only trio in school history to register 350+ kills apiece in the same season. Senior OH Emily Loomis (LOU-miss), the 2002 BIG EAST Championship’s Most Outstanding Player and a fourth-year starter, became the 14th player in Irish history to register 1,000+ career kills late in `03. She currently stands 12th with 1,121 and has a chance to finish among the top five on the Notre Dame career kills list. Loomis played middle blocker for the first 10 matches of 2004 before moving to outside hitter, where she has played in the last three matches. Junior MB Lauren Brewster led the country in individual blocking in `03 (1.78 per game), and she ranks second on the Irish career lists in both block average (1.67) and attack percentage (.315). She already has five individual BIG EAST statistical crowns to her credit (blocking in league and overall matches in `02 and `03, hitting percentage in BIG EAST play in `03), which is the most-ever by a Notre Dame player. Brewster, the only Irish returning starter playing in the same position she did a year ago, was named the Cal Poly Invitational MVP and leads the Irish in points (235/4.70), attack percentage (.305), blocks (72/1.44), and service aces (18/0.36) this season. Her classmate, OH Lauren Kelbley (KELL-blee), is one of only three juniors in Division I to earn all-region honors from the AVCA in each of her first two seasons. In `02, she was the rookie of the year for both the AVCA’s Northeast Region and the BIG EAST Conference. Her career hitting percentage of .315 currently ranks as the third-best in school history. Notre Dame’s early-season leader in kills (195/3.90), Kelbley has had 15 or more kills seven times this season, and she became the first Irish player in almost four years to pound 25 or more kills in a match, doing so against Seton Hall. The other veteran in the Irish starting lineup is junior MB Carolyn Cooper, who was Notre Dame’s top front-row sub for the last two seasons before moving into the lineup on Oct. 2. She has provided an immediate boost to Notre Dame’s blocking, as she is averaging 1.50 per game (T-7th in BIG EAST) as a starter. With the graduation of AVCA honorable mention All-American Kristen Kinder, setter was the biggest hole to fill for this year’s Notre Dame team. Freshman S Ashley Tarutis (tuh-ROO-tiss), a two-time All-American for Los Alamitos High School and the Golden West Volleyball Club in California, took over as Notre Dame’s starting setter in the third match of the season and nearly led the Irish to an upset of #2 Nebraska (3-2 loss). Junior S Kelly Burrell (burr-ELLE), who has been a reserve the past two seasons including as part of the 6-2 offense run by the Irish early in `03, also has been rotating with Tarutis, typically playing in two of the six rotations in Notre Dame’s 5-1 offense. Another rookie, OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (stuh-SHEWK), completes the Irish starting lineup. A “Fab 50” selection playing for Maine South High School and the Chicago-area Sports Performance Volleyball Club, she missed a triple-double by just a single assist on Sept. 7 against Valparaiso and ranks among Notre Dame’s top three in six statistical categories. She was tabbed the BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Week last week. Junior captain L Meg Henican (HENN-ih-kin) began the season starting at outside hitter, but injuries forced her into the libero jersey. In eight matches in the spot, she is averaging 5.45 digs per game (158 digs, 29 games). On Sunday at Seton Hall, she registered 37 digs to break the 12-year-old Notre Dame record for digs in any-length match and become the first Irish player since 1993 to have 30+ digs in a contest. Earlier this season, she had 26 digs in three games against Sacramento State, establishing the second-best performance ever in a three-game match. Henican, one of the team’s top all-around players, played libero for most of `03 and became just the third player in program history to register 400+ digs in a season. Her 3.49 career dig average is the second-best mark in Irish history, and she has hit the 20-dig plateau five times this season, while failing to notch 15 digs only twice in 13 matches. Among Notre Dame’s top subs are freshman OH Ellen Heintzman (HIGHNTZ-min), senior DS Kelly Corbett (CORE-bit), and sophomore DS Danielle Herndon (HURN-din). Heintzman, a five-time AAU All-American for the Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Academy (KIVA), has seen some time in the starting lineup at both outside hitter and libero, and she had her best collegiate match vs. Michigan State, ending up with 15 kills on .444 hitting. Corbett and Herndon have seen time as defensive specialists after the latter started the season as Notre Dame’s libero.
LAST TIME ON THE COURT: Notre Dame claimed a pair of victories in the state of New Jersey last weekend, winning 30-23, 30-22, 30-24 at Rutgers before notching a 30-24, 30-27, 26-30, 30-23 win against Seton Hall. 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 Notre Dame turned in one of its best performances of the season in sweeping Rutgers. 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. 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. 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. Henican broke a 12-year-old school record with 37 digs, while Kelbley had 25 kills to lead Notre Dame against Seton Hall. Henican dug just four Pirate attack attempts in the first game, but then scrambled for a dozen in game two, 11 in the third game, and 10 in the final frame to end up with a total 11 better than her previous career high (26 vs. Sacramento State in the Cal Poly Invitational on Sept. 11). Her performance – an average of 9.25 digs per game – broke the school record of 36 digs, done by Christy Peters on Sept. 5, 1992, against Kentucky in a five-game match. Though the captain had nearly half of the Irish digs, Stasiuk added 14. Meanwhile, Tarutis and Burrell led the Irish offense to its best match of the season. Notre Dame had 17 or more kills in every game (including 20+ in two) and hit .340 or better in three games to end up with a season-best match attack percentage of .315, the top mark for the Irish in their last 18 matches (since hitting .358 at West Virginia on Nov. 15, 2003). Tarutis and Burrell had four hot hitters to work with, as a quartet of Notre Dame players finished with 14 or more kills and .300+ hitting marks. Tarutis ended up with 46 assists, her best output in a four-game match, while Burrell had 16, her third-best sum of the season. Kelbley led the way by becoming the first Irish player in nearly four years to notch 25 kills in a match. She took the lion’s share of swings, ending with just eight attack errors on a career-high 56 attempts for a .304 percentage and 26 points. Like Henican, Kelbley started slowly, converting 10 attempts into only three kills in the first game. But she rebounded to have eight kills on .353 hitting in the following frame and then notch seven kills apiece in each of the final two games, hitting better than .305 on both occasions. Brewster was strong, as well, ending up with 16 kills on .316 hitting. Stasiuk came up just one shy of her season high, ending with 15 kills on .344 hitting, while Loomis added 14, making just a single error for a .361 mark. Cooper had a season-best five kills for the second time in as many days. She also led the blocking effort by taking part in five of Notre Dame’s 11 blocks, with a pair of solos and three block assists.
SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE: The Redbirds come to the Joyce Center with a 12-4 record on the season, but having lost two in a row. They are 5-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play, standing in a tie for third place with Northern Iowa, behind Wichita State and Southwest Missouri State. Following a 3-2 start (losses to #19 Illinois and Western Kentucky), Illinois State won nine consecutive matches (including wins against Northern Iowa and Pittsburgh) and was receiving votes in last week’s AVCA national poll. The Redbirds then lost matches at Southwest Missouri State (15-13 in the fifth after winning first two games) and at conference unbeaten Wichita State (3-1). Following its trip to the Joyce Center, Illinois State will play 11 of its final 12 matches against Missouri Valley Conference foes. The Redbirds returned six of seven starters from last year’s squad that finished 19-14 overall and fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference (11-7 record/tournament semifinals). Sharon Dingman is in her fifth season as head coach at Illinois State, having compiled a 81-56 (.591) record. In 12+ seasons as a head coach, she is 270-169 (.615).
IRISH-REDBIRDS SERIES NOTES: The Irish and Redbirds will meet for the ninth consecutive season and 17th time overall … Notre Dame has won 10 of the previous contests, including each of the last five … the Irish were victorious 30-23, 30-18, 30-20 in the Joyce Center in 2003 … Illinois State and Kentucky share the distinction of being the most-common out-of-state non-conference opponents in Irish history … Notre Dame is 6-2 in the Joyce Center against the Redbirds, including five straight victories (last ISU win: 1991) … the schools have a history of playing five-game affairs, with the Irish winning four of the seven 3-2 decisions … the teams played six consecutive five-gamers from 1989-97 and then another in 2001 … the teams first met in 1984 in Normal, with Illinois State prevailing in three games … the Redbirds won 3-0 again the following season, but the Irish gained their first win against ISU in 1986, beginning a streak of three straight victories (including in the 1987 Sportmart Mid. American Classic) … the most recent streak of Irish dominance began in 1999 … Notre Dame leads in games won 37-29 … the Irish are 26-12 all-time against current members of the Missouri Valley Conference … Debbie Brown is 17-6 against the Valley, including 15-6 at Notre Dame … two freshman Chicago-area natives – Laura Bresnahan (Elmhurst) and Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge) – are the latest Illinois products to play for the Irish … a total of 18 Notre Dame volleyball players have hailed from Illinois, making it tied with Indiana as the second-most common home state of Irish players … in 1987, the Irish won the third game 21-19, which was tied for the most combined points in an ND game under the 15-point format … in ’89, Notre Dame scored 74 points, which was tied for the most by an Irish team under the side-out rules … in 1992, ISU rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win in five games to snap 21st-ranked Notre Dame’s school-record streak of eight consecutive wins on opponents’ home courts … the ’97 match, in which the Irish won the final two games (16-14, 15-9) to prevail in five, was notable for a number of reasons … Notre Dame finished with 102 kills, the third-highest total in school history, as well as 11 aces, which is tied for the most in a five-game affair … Mary Leffers turned in one of the top hitting performances in a five-game match, with 19 kills and just two errors on 33 swings for a .515 mark, while Denise Boylan dished off 83 assists to become just the third Irish setter to have 80+ assists in a match … Notre Dame’s 3-2 win in 2001 featured 261 combined points, which is the most ever in an Irish match … the 134 by ND matches the school record … the Irish won the second game 35-33, which, at the time, was the most points ever scored in an ND game … Notre Dame finished with 108 digs, which is the last time the Irish hit the century mark … Irish juniors Lauren Brewster and Lauren Kelbley have been deadly in two matches against Illinois State … Brewster is averaging 3.43 kills on .500 hitting (just 3 attack errors) to go with 1.00 blocks, 0.71 aces, and 4.71 points, while Kelbley has contributed 3.71 kills on .455 hitting to go with 1.57 blocks and 4.71 points … Meg Henican is averaging 3.33 digs vs. the Redbirds.
HEAD COACH Debbie Brown: Irish head coach Debbie Brown is in her 14th season at the helm of the Notre Dame program. She has led the Irish to a 331-114 (.744) mark, while holding a 448-197 (.695) overall record. Brown’s Notre Dame teams have earned 12 consecutive NCAA tournament berths, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1993 and the round of 16 in `94, `95, and `97. Her squads have won 20 or more matches 12 times. A nine-time conference coach of the year (4 BIG EAST, 4 Midwestern Collegiate, 1 Pac-10), she has coached eight Irish players to All-America honors, while 32 have gained all-BIG EAST mention since 1995. The Irish also have claimed 12 regular-season conference titles (4 Midwestern Collegiate, 8 BIG EAST) and 11 league tournament crowns (4 MCC, 7 BIG EAST). A 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.
HENICAN’S 37 DIGS BREAK 12-YEAR-OLD SCHOOL RECORD: Irish junior libero and captain Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) broke the 12-year-old school record for most digs in any-length match by registering 37 in a four-game affair at Seton Hall on Sunday. Henican dug just four Pirate attack attempts in the first game, but then scrambled for a dozen in game two, 11 in the third game, and 10 in the final frame to end up with a total 11 better than her previous career high (26 vs. Sacramento State in the Cal Poly Invitational on Sept. 11). Her performance – an average of 9.25 digs per game – broke the school record of 36 digs, done by Christy Peters on Sept. 5, 1992, against Kentucky in a five-game match. The previous Irish record for digs in a four-game match was 35 by Jessica Fiebelkorn, set that same month, on Sept. 18, 1992, at Purdue. No player had managed even 30 digs in any-length match since a 31-dig performance by Peters in 1993 at Arizona State.
IRISH RETURN HOME AFTER LONGEST MIDSEASON ROAD TRIP IN SCHOOL HISTORY: Notre Dame finally returns to the Joyce Center this week after the longest midseason road trip in school history. The Irish last played at home on Sept. 7 against Valparaiso before embarking on a nine-match, 36-day road trip that covered a total of 9,042 miles. Notre Dame traveled to five different states and six cities: San Luis Obispo, Calif; Columbia, S.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Syracuse, N.Y.; New Brunswick, N.J.; and South Orange, N.J. It is the longest midseason road trip in the 25-year history of the program, in terms of both consecutive matches away from home and time between home tilts. Unfortunately for the Irish, the travel is not quite over, as four of their next six matches also will be away from home. Notre Dame will then have five consecutive home matches from Nov. 5-16, leading up to the BIG EAST Championship.
STASIUK NAMED BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was named the BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Week on Monday after helping Notre Dame to a pair of conference victories on the road last weekend against Rutgers and Seton Hall. The Park Ridge, Ill., native averaged 3.43 kills per game on a .302 hitting mark, while contributing 3.29 digs to an Irish defense that held its opponents to an attack percentage of only .166. Stasiuk was a key factor in Notre Dame holding Rutgers – which came into the match ranking second in the BIG EAST in hitting percentage – to below .100 hitting in every game and a .081 mark for the match. Her nine digs were the second-highest total accumulated by any player, while she also took part in a pair of blocks. Offensively, Stasiuk had nine kills – tied for the third-highest total for all players – to end up with 10 points. On Sunday, Stasiuk helped Notre Dame outdig Seton Hall – who was second in the conference in digs – by a 76-67 margin. She again was second on the team, this time with 14 digs, marking the ninth time in 13 matches this season that she has had 11 or more digs. The 2004 Maine South High School graduate was one of four Irish players with 14 or more kills, ending with 15 – one shy of her season high – on a .344 hitting percentage. Stasiuk also served up a pair of aces (the sixth time she has had multiple service aces in a match in ’04) and took part in three blocks to finish with 18.5 points, her second-highest match total as a collegian. Stasiuk, who was named to Volleyball magazine’s elite “Fab 50” list of the top prep players in the nation last year, is the seventh Notre Dame player ever to be honored as the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week. The last Irish student-athlete to be so tabbed was current junior Lauren Brewster, who earned the accolade on Oct. 28, 2002.
BROWN NEARING 450 CAREER VICTORIES: Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown is just two wins away from the 450th of her 20-year collegiate coaching career. Heading into Wednesday’s match, her career mark as a head coach stands at 448-197 (.695). Brown will join an elite club of just 31 active Division I coaches who have registered 450+ victories as head coaches. Only three coaches in that group (Alabama’s Judy Green-19th, Arkansas’ Chris Poole-19th, Florida’s Mary Wise-18th) have coached for fewer seasons than Brown. The 14th-year Irish mentor (after six seasons at Arizona State) came into the season ranking 22nd among active Division I coaches in winning percentage.
IRISH NOTCH 100TH BIG EAST REGULAR-SEASON VICTORY: Notre Dame’s 3-0 victory at Rutgers on Saturday was its 100th in BIG EAST regular-season action. Since joining the conference in 1995, the Irish now hold a 101-5 (.953) record, including 56-0 in the Joyce Center. Notre Dame joined Pittsburgh (103-37) as the only schools to have won 100 BIG EAST matches. The Irish are just two victories behind the Panthers in conference wins even though Pittsburgh competed in the BIG EAST for five more seasons than Notre Dame.
KELBLEY BECOMES FIRST ND PLAYER IN NEARLY FOUR YEARS TO NOTCH 25+ KILLS: Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) had a career-best 25 kills on Sunday at Seton Hall. She took the lion’s share of swings, ending with just eight attack errors on a career-high 56 attempts for a .304 percentage and 26 points. Kelbley started slowly, converting 10 attempts into only three kills in the first game. But she rebounded to have eight kills on .353 hitting in the following frame and then notch seven kills apiece in each of the final two games, hitting better than .305 on both occasions. It marked the second time in four matches that Kelbley set her career high (after tying it once earlier this season). She had 24 kills at Michigan on Sept. 28 to better her previous best output by two. It also was the most kills for an Irish player since Oct. 29, 2000, when Christi Girton notched 31 in a five-game victory at Connecticut.
OFFENSE FINDS CONSISTENCY IN NEW JERSEY: Notre Dame’s matches in New Jersey last weekend were two of the best offensive performances, orchestrated by setters Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School), for the Irish this season. Notre Dame, which has been plagued with offensive inconsistency for much of the 2004 campaign, hit .270+ in six of seven games against Rutgers and Seton Hall, topping the .330 mark on four occasions. The Irish had 16 or more kills in every game in both matches and committed more than five errors just twice. Notre Dame ended up hitting .303 against the Scarlet Knights after being over .300 just once in the first 11 matches of the season. The Seton Hall match currently stands as the top offensive contest of the season for the Irish, as they had 17 or more kills in every game (including 20+ in two) and hit .340 or better in three games to end up with a season-best match attack percentage of .315, the top mark for the Irish in their last 18 matches (since hitting .358 at West Virginia on Nov. 15, 2003). Tarutis and Burrell had four hot hitters to work with, as a quartet of Notre Dame players finished with 14 or more kills and .300+ hitting marks. Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) became the first Notre Dame player in nearly four years to have 25 kills in a match (on .304 hitting), while fellow junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) ended up with 16 kills on .316 hitting, while freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) had 15 kills on .344 hitting and senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) added 14, making just a single error for a .361 mark. Tarutis ended up with 46 assists, her best output in a four-game match, while Burrell had 16, her third-best sum of the season.
NOTRE DAME OPENS 3-0 IN BIG EAST FOR SIXTH CONSECUTIVE SEASON: After road wins against Syracuse (3-0), Rutgers (3-0), and Seton Hall (3-1), the Irish are 3-0 in BIG EAST Conference action. It is the sixth consecutive season and ninth time in 10 years of league membership that Notre Dame has been unbeaten after three BIG EAST matches. In fact, the Irish have opened 11-0 in BIG EAST play in every year but one (1998-lost third league match, 3-2 at Connecticut).
DIG TO WIN: Notre Dame’s floor defense is a key indicator of its success. The Irish have won 24 consecutive matches (seven in 2004) in which they have finished with more digs than the opponent. The last time Notre Dame lost when outdigging the opponent was Nov. 15, 2002, when the Irish finished with a 76-73 dig advantage at Miami, but lost in five games (15-7 in the fifth). In Notre Dame’s six victories this season, it owns a +2.45 dig average (17.31-14.86), while the Irish are being outdug by 1.71 per game (16.52-14.79) in their five defeats. It was a key factor in the Irish claiming the title at the Cal Poly-Best Western Invitational. Heading into that event, Notre Dame had been outdug in seven consecutive matches (dating back to 2003), but the Irish averaged 19.00 digs per game for the tournament, finishing each match with more digs than their opponents. A highlight of that was Notre Dame registering 80 digs in a three-game win over Sacramento State for an average of 26.67 per game. Leading the way was junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who had 26 — the second-highest total ever for an Irish player in a three-game affair.
BREWSTER TABBED CAL POLY INVITE MVP, KELBLEY ON ALL-TOURNEY TEAM: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was tabbed the tournament MVP for helping Notre Dame to the championship of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational, while fellow junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) gained mention on the all-tournament team. Brewster finished the three-match Cal Poly Invite with 42 kills, an average of 3.82 per game, on a tournament-high .372 hitting percentage. She also was in on 18 blocks (1.64 average) and scrambled for 28 digs (2.55), while serving up four aces (0.36). She was in the tournament leaders in four categories, ending up first in hitting percentage, second in blocks, fourth in kills (the only non-OH in the top six), and fifth in aces. Kelbley led all players in the event in both kill average (44/4.00) and ace average (7/0.64), while ranking behind only two of her teammates with a .265 hitting percentage. She also added 10 blocks (0.91). It was the second in-season tournament in a row that Brewster was tabbed the MVP, as she gained the same honor in last year’s Shamrock Invitational. Kelbley gained all-tournament honors for the fourth time in her career.
BREWSTER WINS FOURTH BIG EAST PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK AWARD: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on Sept. 13 after helping Notre Dame go unbeaten to capture the championship of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational. Brewster, who was named the tournament’s MVP, notched three double-doubles in four matches during the week, ending with 60 kills, an average of 3.75 per game, on a .336 hitting percentage. She also averaged 1.62 blocks (3 BS, 23 BA) and 2.56 digs (41 total) per game and had 78.5 points (4.91 per game). In the mid-week match against Valparaiso, she was just two blocks shy of her first career triple-double, as she ended up with 18 kills, 13 digs, and eight blocks. Saturday’s evening match, vs. tournament host Cal Poly, saw the Brentwood, Tenn., native match her career best with a .684 hitting mark, registering 13 kills on 19 errorless swings to go with six blocks. Brewster ranked among the top four in four different categories in the Cal Poly Invitational leaders, coming in first in hitting percentage, second in blocks, and fourth in service aces and kills. She was the only non-outside hitter in the top six in kill average. The Brentwood High School graduate, who was named the BIG EAST’s top player three times during October of 2003, joins outside hitters Angie Harris (’98) and Christi Girton (’01) as the only Irish players ever to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Week four times during their careers.
BREWSTER, TARUTIS EARN GAMECOCK INVITATIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) were named to the all-tournament team after helping Notre Dame to a runner-up finish in the Gamecock Invitational. Brewster finished with 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. She led all players in five statistical categories on Friday vs. Michigan State and then turned in the top serving performance for an Irish player since 1995 by notching six aces vs. the tournament host. For the tournament, Brewster had 10 aces — four on a single rotation in the third game against USC — and only one service error in 47 times serving. Tarutis ended up with 10.00 assists per game in helping the Irish hit .212 for the tournament, and she added 1.75 digs and 0.38 aces. Against MSU, the rookie led Notre Dame to a .289 hitting mark that was its second-highest of the season and its best in a match longer than three games since Nov. 7, 2003.
IRISH CHAMPIONS AGAIN: Notre Dame dropped just two games in claiming the title at the Cal Poly-Best Western Invitational, Sept. 10-11. It meant that 2004 is the fifth consecutive season in which the Irish have captured at least one in-season tournament championship. 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.
TV STARS: The Sept. 28 match between Notre Dame and Michigan was televised by Comcast Sports Local and shown on a tape-delayed basis in southeast Michigan. It was the second time in as many matches that the Irish were featured on television, as the championship match of the Gamecock Invitational, in which South Carolina claimed a 3-1 victory, was shown nationally by College Sports Television (CSTV) as part of its “Sunday Night Spikes” national match-of-the-week package. This marks the third time in the last 18 matches that Notre Dame has been televised, as the Irish beat then-league rival Miami in three games late last season in a match that was part of CSTV’s inaugural “Sunday Night Spikes” series.
SERVE IT UP: Notre Dame’s serving game has been proficient early in 2004, as the Irish are averaging 1.74 service aces per game through the first 13 matches. That average would rank as the third-best mark in Irish history and is a large improvement over last season’s average of 1.44. The Irish have 87 aces and 123 service errors for an ace-to-error ratio of 0.707, which would be the fourth-best in program history. Only twice this season has Notre Dame had fewer service aces than its opponent (Sept. 4 vs. Nebraska & Sept. 28 at Michigan), and the Irish have had 10 or more aces on four occasions, including a 15-ace performance against South Carolina that tied the school record for aces in a four-game match.
IRISH HOLD ORANGE TO .017 HITTING PERCENTAGE: Notre Dame’s defense held Syracuse to just a .017 attack percentage in the 3-0 Irish victory on Oct. 2. The Orange ended up with 35 kills and 33 errors on 121 attempts, due in large part to a season-high 16 blocks from Notre Dame. The Syracuse attack managed more kills than errors in just one game, posting the lowest attack percentage by an Irish opponent since last year’s Orange ended up hitting -.008 (32 kills, 33 errors) in the Joyce Center on Nov. 2. The `Cuse had 10 or more errors in every game and finished with 35 kills and 33 errors, with nearly half of them coming on Irish blocks.
IRISH MATCH FOUR-GAME SCHOOL RECORD WITH 15 ACES VS. GAMECOCKS: Despite losing, Notre Dame served up 15 aces against South Carolina in the title match of the Gamecock Invitational. That sum matched the school record for aces in a four-game match. Notre Dame previously posted 15 aces on Oct, 14, 1994 at Texas and on Sept. 9, 1995 against Kentucky in Bloomington, Ind. In addition to a team-leading six aces from Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), the Irish also got three aces from junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), and two each from freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.), sophomore DS Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.), and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.). Notre Dame committed just eight service errors and finished with 26 aces (3.25 per game) and just 15 service errors in eight games of the tournament.
BREWSTER’S SIX ACES BEST FOR IRISH PLAYER SINCE 1995: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) turned in the best serving performance of her career against South Carolina in the championship match of the Gamecock Invitational. She finished with six service aces, including four on a single rotation in game three to set her career high for the second match in a row (4 vs. Michigan State on Sept. 17). Her performance marked the best serving performance by an Irish player since Angie Harris had a school-record nine aces on Oct. 20, 1995, against Syracuse. Brewster’s total – which was further accentuated by her having only one service error – is tied for the second-highest mark ever by an Irish player in a four-game match. In the two matches of the Gamecock Invitational, she had 10 aces and only one error.
BREWSTER POSTS MATCH HIGHS IN FIVE CATEGORIES IN LEADING ND OVER MICHIGAN STATE: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) had one of the best all-around performances of her career, leading all players in the match in five different statistical categories in helping Notre Dame to its first win against Michigan State since 1994 on Sept. 17 in the Gamecock Invitational. Brewster had match highs in kills (17), hitting percentage (.500), service aces (4), blocks (4), and points (23). She made just two attack errors and no service errors in setting a career high for service aces. Brewster also was third on the Irish with nine digs.
IRISH JUST MISS BIGGEST UPSET IN SCHOOL HISTORY: On Sept. 4, Notre Dame took a two-games-to-one lead against #2 Nebraska, but could not hold on, eventually losing 15-10 in the fifth game. The Huskers would have been the highest-ranked team ever to lose to the Irish, but their 1993 squad still holds that distinction, as Notre Dame upset #3 Nebraska in four games in the Golden Dome Invitational in the Joyce Center. Nonetheless, the five-game loss marked a significant improvement for the Irish against the nation’s very best teams. Only once in 11 previous contests against squads ranked #1 or #2 had Notre Dame managed to win a game — in a four-game loss to #2 Florida in 1997 in the Joyce Center.
NOTRE DAME OPPONENTS EXCELLING IN 2004: Notre Dame’s opponents have been finding considerable success during the first month of the 2004 season, as seven are either ranked or receiving votes in this week’s AVCA poll and just three of 26 headed into this week with a losing record. In particular the five teams that have defeated the Irish — Nebraska twice, Valparaiso, South Carolina, and Michigan — have combined for a 55-12 (.821) record thus far this season.
HENICAN JUST MISSES SCHOOL RECORD WITH 26 DIGS vs. SACRAMENTO STATE: Junior captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) registered a career-high 26 digs in a three-game win over Sacramento State on Sept. 11. It was the second-highest dig total for an Irish player in a three-game match in school history, trailing only the 28 by Jessica Kinder in last year’s win against Valparaiso on Sept. 9 in the Joyce Center. Henican was playing libero for the first time this season in the Cal Poly Invitational, and she responded by averaging 5.91 digs per game over three matches.
STASIUK ONE ASSIST SHY OF TRIPLE-DOUBLE vs. VALPO: Rookie OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) nearly registered a triple-double on Sept. 7 in the five-game match against Valparaiso. She finished with a season-high 16 kills (on .342 hitting) to go with 15 digs and nine assists in Notre Dame’s loss to the Crusaders. Stasiuk also had a pair of service aces and was in on five blocks for a total of 21.5 points. She has started every match for the Irish in `04 and ranks among the team’s top three in every statistical category.
TARUTIS TURNS IN TERRIFIC TOTALS: Freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) made her first start on Sept. 4 vs. #2 Nebraska — after playing only in the back row in the first two matches of the season — and responded by nearly leading Notre Dame to its biggest victory (in terms of national rankings) in the program’s history. She helped the Irish to hitting percentages over .425 in two games, as well as a .244 mark for the match. Tarutis finished with 51 assists and 14 digs, as well as six kills on .357 hitting. Her assist total was the most for an Irish freshman in a match since Denise Boylan had 73 on Dec. 13, 1997, against Wisconsin in the round of 16 of the NCAA Championship. Tarutis’ six kills were the most for a Notre Dame freshman setter since Shannon Tuttle notched six against Bowling Green on Oct. 13, 1992.
FIVE HIT DOUBLE FIGURES IN KILLS vs. FRESNO STATE: Notre Dame’s five-game win over Fresno State on Sept. 10 in the opening match of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational saw the Irish put five players in double figures in kills for the first time in nearly two years. Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) led the Irish with 17 kills, while freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) had 15, junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) added 14, senior MB Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) had 12, and rookie OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) registered 10 in her first career start. It was the first time five Notre Dame players had 10+ kills in a match since Sept. 14, 2002, in a five-game win against #10 Pepperdine in the final of the Golden Dome Invitational at the Joyce Center. Loomis, Brewster, and Kelbley also were part of that effort.
LET’S PLAY FIVE … AGAIN: For just the second time in the 25-year history of the program, Notre Dame played three consecutive five-game affairs earlier this month. The Irish lost to #2 Nebraska in the Joyce Center on Sept. 4 (15-11 in the fifth) and then, four days later, fell 15-12 in the fifth to Valparaiso. On Sept. 10, Notre Dame defeated Fresno State (15-12 in the fifth) in the opening match of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational. The only previous streak of three straight five-game matches came from Nov. 16-24, 1991.
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 13 years, Notre Dame has posted a 160-26 (.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 different occasions, highlighted by 27 consecutive home wins from 1993-95 and a program-best 36-match winning streak from 2000-02. Notre Dame currently has won 72 consecutive regular-season conference matches (56-0 vs. the BIG EAST) in the Joyce Center, with its last defeat coming in 1990. The Irish, who have topped 13 ranked teams – including four top-10 squads – at home, also hold a 153-7 (.956) record against unranked teams in the Joyce Center, including a 52-match winning streak (1998-2002).
THREE RECENT NATIONAL CHAMPIONS, A DOZEN ’03 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS HIGHLIGHT 2004 SCHEDULE: A dozen teams earning berths to last year’s NCAA Championship and a trio of teams that have combined to win six of the last 11 national titles highlight the 2004 schedule. Notre Dame was scheduled to take on three of the last five teams to win national championships. After consecutive home dates against Nebraska (national champions in 1995 and 2000) earlier this month, the Irish were supposed to face two-time defending NCAA champion USC, where Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown was a standout outside hitter, in the Gamecock Invitational, but the Women of Troy pulled out of the tournament due to weather concerns. Three-time national champ (1989, ’93, ’98) Long Beach State will play host to the Irish on Nov. 27. Twelve of Notre Dame’s 17 non-conference matches will be against NCAA participants from a year ago, including half of the 16 road matches.
PRESEASON BIG EAST FAVORITES: For the 10th consecutive season, Notre Dame is the favorite in the BIG EAST Conference. The Irish, who have captured eight regular-season and seven tournament crowns in their nine years in the league, garnered nine first-place votes and were chosen as the favorite in the preseason volleyball poll of conference head coaches. Pittsburgh, which beat the Irish in last year’s BIG EAST final after the teams shared the regular-season crown, gained two first-place votes and was picked second. The teams will meet in the Joyce Center on Nov. 12 in a match slated to take place before the football pep rally for the matchup between the schools on the gridiron the following day. For the first time since the debut of the preseason all-BIG EAST team in 1998, one school placed three players on it. Notre Dame senior OH/MB/OPP Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) and juniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and MB/OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) were tabbed after the younger two were first-team all-league honorees in `03 and Loomis was on the second team after being a first-team selection in `02.
IRISH ONE OF JUST TWO DIVISION I TEAMS RETURNING THREE ALL-REGION PLAYERS: Back for Notre Dame in 2004 are three players – senior OH/MB/OPP Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and junior MB/OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) – who were tabbed all-Northeast Region and honorable mention All-America by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) last season. The Irish are one of only a pair of Division I squads (also two-time defending NCAA champion USC) to have three players back who earned all-region accolades from the AVCA in 2003.
BREWSTER, IRISH LOOK TO REPEAT AS NCAA BLOCKING CHAMPS: In 2003, Notre Dame won its first two NCAA statistical championships, as the Irish were the top blocking squad in Division I with an average of 3.72 per game (second-place Cornell averaged only 3.52), while then-sophomore MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) led the nation in individual blocking (1.78 per game). The core of Notre Dame’s blocking unit returns for the ’04 season, with Brewster, junior MB/OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), and senior OH/MB/OPP Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) back in the fold. Gone is OPP Katie Neff, who was third on the Irish in blocking in both 2002 and ’03. That quartet holds the distinction of being the only foursome in Notre Dame history to post 100 blocks apiece in the same season, a feat it accomplished in both of the last two campaigns.
CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has experienced unprecedented success in the nine years since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995. The Irish have compiled a 98-5 (.951) regular-season mark, highlighted by eight titles and winning streaks of 45 and 35 consecutive matches. Notre Dame is 56-0 in BIG EAST regular-season matches in the Joyce Center, and the Irish have won seven BIG EAST tournament championships, posting a 17-2 mark in the event and reaching the final every year. Notre Dame also has dominated the conference awards, winning player-of-the-year honors six times and the coach-of-the-year award on four occasions. In seven instances, Irish players have been named the league tournament’s most outstanding player. Also, Notre Dame student-athletes have garnered 32 all-conference accolades, including 20 first-team honors, which account for more than one-third of the first-team selections during the span.
SEVEN-MATCH SCHEDULE SET FOR www.und.com INTERNET AUDIO: Notre Dame’s official athletic website, www.und.com, will feature six internet audio broadcasts of Irish matches this season, available to subscribers of College Sports Pass. Former Bethel College volleyball coach Dr. Lorne Oke returns to call the action, and he will be joined again by Stephen Hinkel, in his second season of Irish volleyball. The schedule continues on Wednesday vs. Illinois State (7 p.m.) and then continues Nov. 5 vs. Connecticut (7 p.m.), Nov. 12 vs. Pittsburgh (4 p.m.), and Nov. 16 vs. Northern Iowa (7 p.m.). For more information about College Sports Pass, see www.und.com.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.