Nov. 24, 2004
Baden Thanksgiving Tournament
Long Beach, Calif. â€¢ The Pyramid
Friday, November 26
American (23-5) at Long Beach State (21-5), 2:00 p.m.
Notre Dame (18-8) vs. UC Irvine (18-9), 5:00 p.m.
Kentucky (12-16) at Long Beach State, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 27
American vs. Kentucky, 5:00 p.m.
Notre Dame at Long Beach State, 7:00 p.m.
– Live Audio: www.longbeachstate.com
IRISH HEAD TO LONG BEACH FOR FINAL WEEKEND OF REGULAR SEASON: The University of Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (18-8), fresh off claiming an automatic bid to its 13th consecutive NCAA tournament via claiming the BIG EAST championship last weekend, will head to Long Beach, Calif., for the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament in The Pyramid this weekend. The Irish will tune up for the NCAAs by taking on a pair of probable qualifiers — facing UC Irvine (18-9) on Friday at 5 p.m. (PST) and host Long Beach State (21-5) on Saturday at 7 p.m. — before the NCAA Championship bracket is revealed on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. (EST) on ESPNews.
THE RADIO PLANS: A live internet audio broadcast of Saturday’s match with Long Beach State will be available via its official athletics website, www.longbeachstate.com.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW SET FOR SUNDAY AT 6:45 P.M. (EST) ON ESPNEWS: The full 64-team field for the 2004 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship will be revealed on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. (EST) on ESPNews. Action will begin at 16 campus sites from Dec. 2-5 and will continue with regional action Dec. 10-11 at four predetermined sites (Louisville, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Green Bay) before culminating Dec. 16 and 18 in Long Beach, Calif.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS NOTES PACKAGE: Below are some of the top points from this notes package. For more details on any topic, consult the remainder of this release.
* Notre Dame has won 13 of its last 16 and 17 of 22 following a 1-3 start. The Irish stand at 18-8 on the season and are 18th in the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI. Notre Dame is the only team that is in the top 23 in the RKPI, but is not ranked or listed (appearing on two or more ballots) in the AVCA poll.
* The Irish are first in the Northeast Region in the RichKern.com/AVCA Division I Region Rankings, with Pittsburgh next at 39th. Notre Dame ranks fifth among the eight region leaders, but is the only one who is not ranked or listed (appearing on two or more ballots) in the AVCA poll.
* Notre Dame has won seven in a row and 12 of its last 13 (the loss coming in five games) when playing with its complete lineup. Junior OH Lauren Kelbley, the team’s kill average leader and a second-team all-BIG EAST honoree, missed three matches late in the season due to a foot injury, and the Irish dropped two of those contests.
* The Irish won the BIG EAST Championship for the eighth time in 10 years of league membership, defeating Boston College (3-1) and defending champion Pittsburgh (3-0) on
* Junior MB Lauren Brewster was named the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, finishing with 27 kills (3.68) on .319 hitting to go with a tournament-high 14 blocks (2.00). Other standouts for the Irish in the event were junior OH Lauren Kelbley, who had 34 kills (4.86) on a .387 hitting mark, and junior captain L Meg Henican, who had 45 digs (6.43).
* By winning the BIG EAST tournament, Notre Dame secured the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Irish will make their 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament and 14th overall. Heading into this year, only nine other Division I schools (Stanford, Penn State, UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Nebraska, Long Beach State, USC, and Florida) had qualified for each of the last 12 NCAA Championships.
* The streak of 13 consecutive NCAA appearances is the second-longest among Notre Dame’s varsity sports, behind only fencing.
* Notre Dame also claimed its ninth BIG EAST regular-season title in 10 years, by going 9-1 in league play, with seven 3-0 victories. The lone blemish on the Irish mark was a 3-0 defeat at home against Boston College on Nov. 7. That loss ended Notre Dame’s 58-0 run in home regular-season BIG EAST matches since joining the conference in 1995 and its 74-match winning streak in the Joyce Center in regular-season league play (previous loss came in 1990).
* The Irish became the first outright regular-season BIG EAST champion ever to be shut out of the conference’s major awards. Junior MB Lauren Brewster, one of two unanimous selections, was Notre Dame’s sole first-team all-BIG EAST honoree (marking just the second time ever that the league’s outright champ failed to place multiple players on the first team), while junior OH Lauren Kelbley was a second-team selection, and senior OH Emily Loomis was tabbed honorable mention. All three gained all-league accolades for the third consecutive year.
* Notre Dame is in the top 10 in Division I in team block average for the fourth consecutive season. The Irish, who led the nation in 2003 (3.72), head into the weekend at eighth with a 3.32 average. Junior MB Lauren Brewster, who was first in individual blocking last season (1.78), is 25th in 2004 with a 1.52 average.
* Standing 5-5 at the end of September, Notre Dame made a lineup switch, moving senior Emily Loomis from middle blocker to outside hitter (where she played her first two collegiate seasons) and inserting junior MB Carolyn Cooper into the lineup. Since then, the Irish are 13-3, with two of the defeats coming in five games and two of them coming without kill average leader OH Lauren Kelbley.
* Junior MB Lauren Brewster has established herself as one of the top all-around defensive players in the country. She is one of only two Division I players averaging over 1.50 blocks (1.52) and 1.50 digs (2.15) per game. The other is Texas A&M’s Melissa Munsch (1.67 blocks, 3.09 digs), a second-team All-American in 2003.
* Junior captain L Meg Henican needs just 26 digs to break the Irish record for digs in a season. The current record is 500 by Christy Peters in 1993. Henican’s 4.90 dig average is on pace to shatter Peters’ record of 4.10 from that season. Henican ranks seventh all-time with 1,077 career digs.
* Freshman S Ashley Tarutis, who has started each of the last 24 matches and helped the Irish lead the BIG EAST in hitting percentage in league play (.254), is a Long Beach native. She played her prep volleyball at Los Alamitos High School, and also was active for the Golden West Volleyball Club.
* Notre Dame and UC Irvine will be meeting for the first time.
* Long Beach State and Notre Dame will meet for the first time since 1997. LBSU has won all four previous meetings with the Irish, taking 12 of 13 games. This is the first time the Irish will face an unranked Beach team.
* Notre Dame is making its third trip to Long Beach State. The Irish hit The Beach on fall break in 1995 and over Thanksgiving for tournament action in 1997.
* Irish head coach Debbie Brown and 18-year Long Beach assistant Debbie Green-Vargas were teammates on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team.
* Notre Dame has had more volleyball players from California (22) than from any other state, including current senior DS Kelly Corbett (Mountain View) and freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach).
* After playing just 17 matches against current Big West Conference teams in the first 24 years of Irish varsity volleyball, Notre Dame has three Big West foes on this year’s schedule. The Irish beat 10th-place Cal Poly in three games in the Cal Poly Invitational in September, and they will face fourth-place UC Irvine and second-place Long Beach State this weekend.
* Notre Dame has struggled over Thanksgiving weekend, going just 2-12 — all away from home — since 1992 in contests during the weekend between the conference tournament and the NCAAs. All 12 defeats came against nationally-ranked teams, while the lone wins came against Washington State in the 1999 Community Bank Classic in Stockton, Calif., in 1999 and vs. LSU in the 2001 Florida Volleyball Challenge in Gainesville.
* Notre Dame is well-represented in the BIG EAST leaders, as at least one Irish player appears in the top 10 of all 14 categories. In all, there are 21 Notre Dame student-athletes listed, an average of 1.5 per category. Among the top performances are junior MB Lauren Brewster winning the blocking title in conference matches (1.66) for the third consecutive year, while finishing second in hitting percentage (.326), as well as freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk ranking second in aces in league play (0.44). Junior L Meg Henican is third in digs in both overall (4.90) and conference play (6.00), while Brewster also leads the conference in overall blocking (1.52) and Stasiuk is second in aces (0.37). In team categories, the Irish were first in league play in hitting percentage (.254) and opponent hitting percentage (.134) for the sixth year in a row. Notre Dame also was tops in blocking for the fifth time in six years, and the Irish lead the league in overall blocking (3.32) and are second in kills (15.34) and assists (13.92).
* Junior captain L Meg Henican has had 10+ digs in 25 of 26 matches this season (24 in a row) and 59 times in her career. She also has had 20 or more digs 11 times — including in each of the last five matches — in 2004, including posting totals of 24+ in three-game matches on five occasions. On Oct. 10, she set the Notre Dame record for digs in any-length match with 37 in four games at Seton Hall.
* Junior OH Lauren Kelbley has had 10+ kills 19 times this season and has hit the 20-kill plateau five times.
* Senior OH Emily Loomis ranks seventh on Notre Dame’s all-time kill list with 1,262. Next up is 2000 graduate Christi Girton, who has 1,286. Loomis also has had 10+ kills in 70 career matches, which is tied for the third-highest mark in program history. She has played 405 of 415 games during the last four seasons, which is on pace to set an Irish record for percentage of games played (.976).
* Junior MB Lauren Brewster ranks second in Notre Dame history in career hitting percentage (.316) and block average (1.66).
* Notre Dame, led by junior L Meg Henican and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk, is allowing just 0.98 aces per game in 2004. It is the second-lowest mark in Irish history behind last year’s 0.94, for which Henican was largely responsible, as well.
* Notre Dame won a total of six BIG EAST weekly honors this season. The Irish were the only team to have multiple players — juniors MB Lauren Brewster and L Meg Henican — named the league’s player of the week, as well as the only squad to have three different student-athletes earn weekly honors. Brewster was a three-time player of the week, tying for conference-high honors in that category, while OPP Adrianna Stasiuk was tabbed rookie of the week twice in a row, making her one of three players to win that award on multiple occasions. Brewster has been named the league player of the week six times during her career, the most-ever by a Notre Dame player.
* Notre Dame is 8-3 (.727) when playing on its opponent’s home court, with the lone defeats coming at South Carolina, Michigan, and Brigham Young. The highlight of that record was a 3-0 upset of then-#14 Utah on Oct. 19, which snapped the Utes’ school-record 12-match winning streak and handed them their first home defeat in more than a year. The Irish are also 4-0 in neutral site meetings, giving them a 12-3 record away from the Joyce Center.
* Only five Irish opponents are under .500 this season, meaning that 23 of Notre Dame’s 28 pre-NCAA contests will be with squads that currently have winning records.
* Notre Dame is 18-0 when posting a higher hitting percentage than its opponent and 0-8 when hitting worse than its foe. In all, each of the last 30 Irish matches have been won by the team with the higher hitting mark. The last exception was on Nov. 16, 2003, when Notre Dame lost in five games at Pittsburgh despite holding a .215-.170 hitting advantage. The last time the Irish overcame worse hitting to win was Sept. 13, 2003, when they beat Utah in five games, but were outhit .220-.138.
* The Irish are 16-0 when having as many or more kills than their opponents this season.
* Though it rarely happens — the Irish have been outblocked just seven times in 56 matches over the past two seasons — Notre Dame has trouble winning when it gets outblocked. The Irish are 0-5 in 2004 when finishing with fewer blocks than the opposition. In all, Notre Dame has lost eight straight when being outblocked, dating back to a win against Connecticut in the semifinals of the 2002 BIG EAST tournament despite a 10-9 block disadvantage.
* Notre Dame had lost 10 consecutive matches when dropping the first game before rallying for a 3-1 win against Boston College in the semifinals of the BIG EAST tournament.
* Prior to losing to Northern Iowa (ND outdig the Panthers 83-81) on Nov. 16, Notre Dame had won 28 in a row when holding an advantage in digs. The previous loss came in five games on Nov. 15 at Miami, even though the Irish had a 76-73 dig margin.
* Notre Dame ranks 18th in Division I in volleyball attendance, attracting 1,513 per match to the Joyce Center.
* The Irish have played six five-game matches this season, winning twice.
* The Irish have won 40 consecutive matches when taking a 2-0 lead, dating back to Sept. 18, 2002.
* Notre Dame is 11-2 in matches played during the day, but just 7-6 at night.
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 341-117 (.743) 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 107-6 (.947) in regular-season BIG EAST play and 19-2 (.905) in conference tournament action. Notre Dame is 60-1 (.984) 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 features 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 seventh with 1,262 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. Junior MB Lauren Brewster — one of just two Division I players to be averaging over 1.50 blocks (1.52) and 1.50 digs (2.15) — led the country in individual blocking in `03 (1.78 per game), and her career block average of 1.66 is second-best in school history, while she also ranks second in attack percentage (.316). She was tops in BIG EAST play in blocks (1.66) to claim her sixth conference statistical crown (also 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, has been the league’s player of the week three times this season and ranks 25th nationally in blocking. She leads the Irish in kills (355/3.66), attack percentage (.312), points (466/4.80), and blocks. Brewster, who had a triple-double against Illinois State (17 kills, 13 digs, 11 blocks) had a streak of 15 consecutive matches with 11+ kills snapped on Oct. 30. 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 .303 currently ranks as the fifth-best in school history. Notre Dame’s leader in kill average (323/3.76), Kelbley has had 15 or more kills 11 times this season (20+ on five occasions), 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 on Oct. 10. 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 a boost to Notre Dame’s blocking, as she is averaging 1.38 per game as a starter, and the team is averaging 3.77 blocks.
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-diss), 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. The duo combined to give Notre Dame the top hitting mark (.254) in conference action this season.
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 ranks among Notre Dame’s top four in six statistical categories. After missing a triple-double by just a single assist on Sept. 7 against Valparaiso, Stasiuk became the first Irish player since 1998 to register one, clinching it in three games against Illinois State before finishing with 14 kills, 11 digs, and 11 blocks. She was tabbed the BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Week in consecutive weeks, on Oct. 11 and 18. Junior captain L Meg Henican (HENN-ih-kin) is in the midst of the best defensive season in Notre Dame history, as she is on pace to shatter the school record for season digs (475, record is 500) and dig average (4.90, record is 4.10) and is just 70. She began the season starting at outside hitter, but injuries forced her into the libero jersey. She led Notre Dame to the league’s lowest opponent hitting percentage in BIG EAST matches (.134). On Oct. 10 at Seton Hall, she registered 37 digs in four games 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. She also has had 24 or more digs in three-game matches five times this season, after that had been accomplished just twice in the first 24 years of varsity volleyball. She also became just the second libero ever to be named BIG EAST Player of the Week. Her 3.74 career dig average is the best in Irish history, and she has hit the 20-dig plateau 11 times this season (including in each of the last five matches), while failing to notch 15 digs only five times in 26 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.
IRISH-ANTEATERS SERIES NOTES: This will be the first-ever meeting between the schools … Notre Dame has previously played six other current members of the Big West (UC Santa Barbara, CS Northridge, Cal Poly, Idaho, Long Beach State, and Pacific) … UCI is one of three Big West teams on ND’s ’04 slate, along with Cal Poly and LBSU … freshman Ashley Tarutis, who played for Los Alamitos High School and the Golden West Volleyball Club, is from Los Alamitos, which is just 25 miles from Irvine … Notre Dame has had more volleyball players from California (22) than from any other state, also including current senior Kelly Corbett (Mountain View, near San Jose) … UCI’s Kelly Wing, who was ninth in Division I in kills (5.74), earned third-team All-America accolades from the AVCA in 2003 … Ashlie Hain finished ninth in assists (13.64), while Sami Cash was 38th in hitting percentage (.363) … the Anteaters were 19th in team assists (15.05).
IRISH-49ERS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and The Beach will play for the first time since 1997 and the fifth time overall … LBSU has won each of the previous four meetings, taking 12 of the 13 games … this will be Notre Dame’s third trip to Long Beach … three of the previous four matches have seen both teams carrying national rankings … ND has never faced a Long Beach team ranked lower than 14th, and three times The Beach has been in the top three when taking on the Irish … LBSU was #1 in the most recent contest, in 1997, a 15-3, 15-13, 15-5 decision … the teams first met in the 1992 Golden Dome Invitational in the Joyce Center, with Long Beach winning in three games to snap a 16-match home winning streak for the Irish … they played again the following year at the Reebok Invitational in Chicago before the Irish made trips to Long Beach in 1995 and ’97 … in ’95, 12th-ranked ND captured the second game 15-9, but #14 LBSU rallied for the victory to hand Notre Dame its only four-match losing streak of the Debbie Brown era … LBSU is one of three Big West teams on ND’s ’04 slate, along with Cal Poly and UC Irvine … freshman Ashley Tarutis, who played for Los Alamitos High School and the Golden West Volleyball Club, is from Los Alamitos, which is just 12 miles from Long Beach … Notre Dame has had more volleyball players from California (22) than from any other state, also including current senior Kelly Corbett (Mountain View, near San Jose) … in the ’93 match, Notre Dame’s Christy Peters had 24 kills, which is tied for the second-most for an Irish player in a three-game match … Jillian Mazzarella was 37th in Division I in assists (12.58) in 2003, while Erika Chidester was 46th in kills (4.55)
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 341-117 (.744) mark, while holding a 458-200 (.695) 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 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 35 have gained all-BIG EAST mention since 1995. The Irish also have claimed 13 regular-season conference titles (4 Midwestern Collegiate, 9 BIG EAST) and 12 league tournament crowns (4 MCC, 8 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.
IRISH CLAIM EIGHTH BIG EAST TOURNAMENT TITLE; BREWSTER TABBED MVP: Notre Dame posted wins against Boston College (3-1) and defending champion Pittsburgh (3-0) last weekend in the Panthers’ Fitzgerald Field House en route to winning the BIG EAST Championship for the eighth time in 10 years of league membership. Junior MB Lauren Brewster was named the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, finishing with 27 kills (3.68) on .319 hitting to go with a tournament-high 14 blocks (2.00). Other standouts for the Irish in the event were junior OH Lauren Kelbley, who had 34 kills (4.86) on a .387 hitting mark, and junior captain L Meg Henican, who had 45 digs (6.43). With the victory, the Irish earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
IRISH CLIMB TO 18th IN RKPI: After winning the BIG EAST Championship last weekend, Notre Dame moved up two spots to 18th in the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI formula. The Irish — who passed Georgia Tech and Kansas State this week — are by far the top team in the AVCA Northeast Region, with Pittsburgh coming in second at 39th. Notre Dame is the only team that is in the top 23 in the RKPI, but is not ranked or listed (appearing on two or more ballots) in the AVCA poll. Notre Dame ranks fifth among the eight region leaders, but is the only one who is not ranked or listed (appearing on two or more ballots) in the AVCA poll.
IRISH SET FOR 13TH CONSECUTIVE NCAA TOURNAMENT: As champion of the BIG EAST tournament, Notre Dame has secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, which begins Dec. 2-5 on campus sites. It is the 13th consecutive year that the Irish will participate in the NCAAs, and only eight Division I schools have a chance to match that streak by earning spots when this year’s field is announced. Of those teams, UC Santa Barbara and Nebraska also already have claimed automatic bids, while Stanford, USC, and Penn State have a chance to do so this weekend, and figure to garner at-large selections if they do not. The other schools — Pacific, Long Beach State, and Florida — also are expected to participate as at-large entrants.
NOTRE DAME CLAIMS NINTH BIG EAST REGULAR-SEASON TITLE IN 10 YEARS: Notre Dame finished 9-1 in BIG EAST Conference action to claim its ninth regular-season championship in 10 years since joining the league. The lone blemish was a loss against Boston College on Nov. 7. The only year the Irish did not win the BIG EAST regular-season title was 1998, when they were third. In 2003, Notre Dame was a co-champion with Pittsburgh.
BREWSTER, KELBLEY, LOOMIS EARN THIRD-YEAR ALL-BIG EAST HONORS: Notre Dame juniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) and senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) all gained all-BIG EAST accolades for the third consecutive year, when the conference’s annual awards, based on by voting by the conference’s head coaches, were revealed Nov. 19. Brewster was a first-team selection for the second consecutive year, while Kelbley was on the second team, and Loomis was honorable mention. Notre Dame also became the first outright BIG EAST regular-season champion ever to be shut out of the league’s major awards. Brewster was one of just two players to be unanimous first-team selections. A three-time BIG EAST Player of the Week who led the league in blocking for the third consecutive year and is the only player in the conference to be averaging over 1.00 blocks and 1.00 digs per game, she became just the sixth Notre Dame player – and first middle blocker – to be tabbed first-team all-BIG EAST on multiple occasions. In that elite group, she is joined by OPP Jenny Birkner (’95, ’96), OH Jaimie Lee (’95, ’96, ’97), OH Angie Harris (’95, ’97), S Denise Boylan (’99, ’00), and OPP Kristy Kreher (’00, ’01). Brewster also was an honorable mention selection as a rookie in 2002. Kelbley became the first Irish player ever to be named to one of the two all-BIG EAST teams in each of her first three campaigns, despite missing three late-season matches due to injury. She also was a second-team honoree – and the league’s rookie of the year – in 2002 before moving up to the first team a season ago. Loomis was tabbed honorable mention after being a second-team selection in 2003 and a first-team honoree as a sophomore.
Despite a late-season injury that caused her to miss 40 percent of the BIG EAST season and vanish from the conference-only league leaders, senior MH Megan Miller was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year. She was just the second competitor to garner the honor without playing on a team that won at least a share of the regular-season BIG EAST championship. The other was Miami’s Valeria Tipiana, the 2002 winner even though the Hurricanes finished second to the Irish during the regular season. Pittsburgh OH Diana Andreyko was tabbed the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, while Boston College’s Allison Anderson was named Libero of the Year, and Syracuse’s Jing Pu was Coach of the Year. The Panthers, as the lone team to win multiple major awards and the only squad to have four players earn all-league honors, dominated the awards for the second year in a row. In 2003, Pittsburgh – then league co-champions with Notre Dame – won three major awards and had four all-conference selections. In addition to being the first outright champions to come up empty in the major awards, Notre Dame was just the second solo champ to place only one player on the all-BIG EAST first team, joining the 2002 Irish squad. It also marked only the second time that an outright champion had fewer than four players gain all-league accolades since the BIG EAST began recognizing three teams in 1996. The other was the Irish squad in that initial year, which also had just three selections.
BREWSTER ONE OF THE TOP ALL-AROUND DEFENSIVE PLAYERS IN DIVISION I: Although she is also one of Notre Dame’s top offensive weapons, junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) has established herself as easily the top defensive middle blocker/hitter in the BIG EAST Conference and one of the best in the country. In fact, Brewster is one of only two players in the country to be averaging over 1.50 blocks (1.52) and 1.50 digs (2.15) per game. The other is Texas A&M’s Melissa Munsch (1.67 blocks, 3.09 digs), a second-team All-American in 2003. Brewster also is the only player in the BIG EAST to be averaging more than 1.00 blocks and 1.00 digs per game. She is by far the best in the conference in combined block and dig average, at 3.65. Georgetown’s Sara Albert is next at 2.29 (1.42 blocks, 0.87 digs), and West Virginia’s Alison Zemanski ranks third at 2.19 (1.46 blocks, 0.73 digs). BIG EAST Player of the Year Megan Miller of Pittsburgh, the top offensive middle in the league, has a combined block-dig average of 1.63 per game (0.89 blocks, 0.74 digs).
HENICAN JUST 26 AWAY FROM BREAKING SEASON DIGS RECORD: Junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) is in the midst of the most impressive defensive season ever for an Irish player. She has 475 digs in 2004, putting her just 26 from breaking the Notre Dame record of 500 by Christy Peters in 1993. Her average of 4.90 per game is on pace to shatter Peters’ program-best mark of 4.10 from that season. Henican has had 20+ digs 11 times, including in each of the last five matches. She set a school record for digs in any-length match with 37 against Seton Hall on Oct. 10, and she has had 24+ digs in three-game affairs five times.
BREWSTER, IRISH CONTINUE DOMINANT BLOCKING: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and Notre Dame’s blocking game have once again been a key to Notre Dame’s success. After leading the nation in team blocking (3.72) in 2003 — thanks largely to Brewster being tops in Division I in individual blocking (1.78) — the Irish are tops in the BIG EAST and eighth nationally in blocking this season, with an average of 3.32 per game. Brewster is 25th individually with an average of 1.52. Notre Dame is more than one-half block per game better than the rest of the conference, as St. John’s ranks second in the BIG EAST with an average of 2.76.
BREWSTER BECOMING THE TOTAL PACKAGE: After a 2003 campaign in which she led the BIG EAST in hitting percentage and blocks and was tops in Division I in the latter category en route to being a first-team all-conference and all-region selection, as well as an honorable mention AVCA All-American, junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) has followed that up with a 2004 season in which she has become a more complete player. While still averaging about 3.60 kills and over 1.50 blocks a game on .310+ hitting, her third collegiate season has seen Brewster’s defensive and serving production rise. In 2003, she rarely played when her position rotated into the back row, instead subbing out for the libero or a defensive specialist. But in `04, Brewster’s increased defensive skills have earned her more back-row time, which has translated into more than a 300% increase in her digging. Brewster is one of four Irish players averaging over 2.00 digs per game in 2004, coming in with 2.15, after she averaged only 0.68 as a sophomore. In her first two seasons combined, Brewster accumulated 130 total digs and her career high was seven, but she has 209 in 26 matches in `04, including 12 matches over her previous career-best total. Her serving also has improved in both consistency and potency. She has 25 aces this season for an average of 0.286 per game that is fourth on the team. Brewster has committed just 28 errors for a team-best ace-to-error ratio of 0.89. In 2003, she turned in 27 aces, while making 42 errors for a ratio of just 0.64.
BREWSTER, KELBLEY LEAD MAJOR IRISH PRESENCE IN BIG EAST LEADERS: Juniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) are leading an Irish contingent that has representatives among the top 10 in all of the 14 official statistical categories. Brewster and Kelbley are the only two players in the league listed in the top 10 in three different categories in both overall and conference action. In league action, Brewster finished first in blocks (1.66), second in hitting percentage (.326), and sixth in points (4.75), while Kelbley was fifth in points (4.77), eighth in hitting percentage (.278), and 10th in kills (3.92). In overall action, Brewster is first in blocks (1.52), fourth in points (4.80), and sixth in hitting percentage (.312), while Kelbley is sixth in aces (0.33), seventh in points (4.49), and seventh in kills (3.76).
BREWSTER-LED IRISH SNAP #14 UTAH’S SCHOOL-RECORD WINNING STREAK: Behind 18 kills on .567 hitting from junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), Notre Dame swept #14 Utah on Oct. 19 in Salt Lake City to snap the Utes’ 12-match winning streak, which was the longest in school history, and deal them a home loss for the first time in more than a year. The Utes had not lost since Sept. 7 and were riding a winning streak that had featured victories against both #6 UCLA and #7 Colorado State. The Irish win snapped Utah’s 13-match home winning streak and marked its first home defeat since a 3-1 decision against Colorado State on Sept. 27, 2003. Notre Dame beat a ranked team in three games for the first time since 1995, when the seventh-ranked Irish topped #15 Colorado by 3-0 scores on back-to-back nights in the Joyce Center on Sept. 23 and 24. It was just the second time in school history — in addition to beating #21 Hawai’i on Oct. 22, 1992 — that the Irish beat a ranked team in three games on their home court.
BREWSTER CRANKS CAREER-HIGH 27 KILLS vs. NORTHERN IOWA: In picking up the slack for the injured Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) slammed a career-best 27 kills on Nov. 16 against Northern Iowa. She did it on a career-high 55 swings for a .273 hitting percentage, while flirting with a triple-double (nine digs, eight blocks). Brewster’s kill total was the most for an Irish player since Christi Girton had 31 vs. Connecticut in 2000.
HENICAN, IRISH CONTINUE REIGN AS BIG EAST’S TOP DEFENSE: Notre Dame’s defense, led by junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), established itself as the finest in the BIG EAST Conference for the sixth consecutive season. Since the league began tracking opponent hitting percentage in 1999, the Irish have finished first in the category all five years. This season, Notre Dame holds a hefty advantage heading into the final weekend, as the Irish allowed BIG EAST foes to manage a hitting mark of only .134. The next-best performance was .174 by Syracuse.
IRISH WELL-REPRESENTED IN BIG EAST WEEKLY AWARDS: Notre Dame players have regularly been recognized by the conference office this season, as Irish competitors have garnered a total of six weekly honors, including one in four consecutiv weeks from Oct. 11-Nov. 1. Notre Dame is the only school to have multiple players — juniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) — be named the BIG EAST Player of the Week, and also stands as the lone institution to have three different student-athletes earn weekly honors, as OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was the league’s rookie of the week on Oct. 11 and 18. Brewster was a three-time player of the week.
LOOMIS SEVENTH IN CAREER KILLS: Senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.), who ranks in the top 10 in program history in 11 different categories, heads into this weekend with 1,262 kills and ranking seventh on the all-time list. Next up on that list for Loomis is 2000 graduate Christi Girton, who had 1,286 kills.
HENICAN SIXTH IN CAREER DIGS: Junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who will likely break the Notre Dame records for digs in a season this weekend, already stands sixth on the Irish career digs list, with 1,077. Next up is two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year Jaimie Lee (1994-97), with 1,142.
HENICAN, STASIUK ANCHOR STELLAR SERVE-RECEIVING UNIT: Notre Dame’s serve-receiving unit, which is anchored by junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.), has proven to be one of the best in Irish history. Opponents are averaging just 0.98 service aces per game in 2004, an average that trails only the number posted by last year’s squad, which also was led by Henican. In 2003, opponents averaged just 0.94 aces per game. Stasiuk has made just 41 receiving errors this season, or one in every 2.37 games. Henican has been even more solid, committing only 30 reception errors, an average of one in every 3.23 games. Only five times in 26 matches this season has Henican made multiple reception errors.
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 Oct. 10. 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.
BREWSTER TABBED BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR SIXTH TIME: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 15 for the third time this season and sixth time in her career. She led the Irish to a pair of 3-0 wins that clinched their ninth BIG EAST regular-season title and was near-perfect on offense, making just two errors, while averaging 4.17 kills on .469 hitting to go with 3.17 digs, and 2.17 blocks. Brewster had 12 kills on 22 errorless swings for a .545 hitting mark vs. Pittsburgh, barely missing a triple-double by ending with 12 digs and eight blocks. She then had 13 kills on .407 hitting and seven digs against West Virginia.
Brewster’s second honor came on Oct. 25 after helping Notre Dame to a pair of victories, including a sweep of #14 Utah on the Utes’ home floor to snap their school-record 12-match winning streak. The Brentwood, Tenn., native was the catalyst of that upset, notching 18 kills on .567 hitting to lead Notre Dame to its third win against a top-15 foe in as many seasons. In three matches during the week, Brewster converted half of her attack attempts for kills, ending with 44 (4.00 per game) on a .409 hitting percentage. She added 22 digs, an average of 2.00 per game, and 10 blocks to go with 52.5 points (4.77).
On Sept. 13, Brewster gained the honor 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).
Brewster is the only Irish player to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Week more than five times. She was one of only two players (also Pittsburgh middle hitter Megan Miller) to have been named the player of the week on multiple occasions in 2004.
HENICAN BECOMES JUST SECOND LIBERO TO BE NAMED BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 1 after helping Notre Dame to a pair of 3-0 road victories in league action over the weekend. Henican, just the second libero ever to win the award, averaged 6.33 digs per game – including 26 against Villanova on Sunday – in leading a defensive effort that held opponents to a .116 attack percentage. No libero had been named the BIG EAST Player of the Week since the inclusion of the position in the college game, beginning in 2002, until Allison Anderson of Boston College did so on Oct. 11 of this season.
BREWSTER, STASIUK NOTCH TRIPLE-DOUBLES vs. ILLINOIS STATE: 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 Notre Dame’s five-game victory against Illinois State on Oct. 13. Stasiuk clinched hers in the third game and ended with 14 kills, 11 digs, and 11 blocks, while Brewster finished with 17 kills, 13 digs, and 11 blocks. It was the second time this season that a Division I team had multiple triple-doubles in the same match (Dartmouth’s Kathryn Hirsch and Elise Krieger did it against Army on Sept. 17), but the 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. Of all the triple-doubles in Division I in 2004, only three previously had consisted of kills, digs, and blocks. Prior to Wednesday, no Irish player had registered a triple-double since Dec. 4, 1998, when a pair of Notre Dame competitors also accomplished the feat. 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.
TARUTIS, BURRELL HELP IRISH LEAD BIG EAST IN HITTING: For the sixth consecutive season and eighth time in 10 years, Notre Dame finished first in team hitting percentage in BIG EAST matches, with a .254 mark, thanks in large part to freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and junior S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School).
BROWN NOTCHES 450TH CAREER VICTORY IN UPSET OF #14 UTAH: Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown, in her 20th year as a collegiate head coach, claimed her 450th career victory when the Irish upset #14 Utah 3-0 in Salt Lake City on Oct. 19. Brown, who sports a 458-200 (.695) joined 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.
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.
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 on Sept. 19 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.
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 Oct. 10 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.
STASIUK REPEATS AS BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) became the first Irish player ever to be named the BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Week in consecutive weeks. She was first honored on Oct. 11 after helping Notre Dame to a pair of conference victories on the road 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. The opposite won the Oct. 18 award after becoming the first Irish student-athlete since 1998 to register a triple-double, as she finished with 14 kills, 11 digs, and a collegiate-high 11 blocks in Notre Dame’s five-game victory over Illinois State, the lone Irish match of the week. She clinched the triple-double in the third game and added a pair of service aces, including one to end the marathon second game (34-32). She matched her season high with 21.5 points and more than doubled her previous collegiate high in blocks, which was five.
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.
BREWSTER’S STREAK OF MATCHES WITH 11+ KILLS ENDS AT 15: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) managed only nine kills on Oct. 30 at Georgetown, which ended her streak of consecutive matches with double-digit kills at 15. It stands as the fourth-longest streak of matches with 10+ kills in Irish history.
BREWSTER BOASTING A TRIO OF und.com PRIMETIME PERFORMANCES: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) currently holds the distinction of being the only Notre Dame student-athlete to have already been honored three times in the inaugural season of und.com Primetime Performances, which recognize the top few performances by Irish student-athletes each week. Brewster initially earned the honor — along with freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) — on Oct. 18 after both players notched triple-doubles (the first for Notre Dame since 1998) against Illinois State. Brewster gained the honor again on Oct. 25 after a week in which she had 18 kills on .567 hitting in helping Notre Dame to a 3-0 upset of #14 Utah on the Utes’ home floor. She then was tabbed again on Nov. 22 after being named the tournament MVP in helping the Irish to their eighth BIG EAST Championship title. Junior L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) was recognized on Nov. 15 after averaging 8.17 digs in helping Notre Dame to sweeps of Pittsburgh and West Virginia en route to the BIG EAST regular-season title.
IRISH UPSET A TOP-15 FOE FOR THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON: Notre Dame’s 3-0 upset of #14 Utah in Salt Lake City on Oct. 19 marked the third consecutive season that Notre Dame has upset a top-15 squad. Last year, the Irish notched a four-game win in a neutral-site match against #10 Arizona, and the ’02 team beat #10 Pepperdine 3-2 in the final of the Golden Dome Invitational.
STASIUK FLIRTS WITH SCHOOL HITTING RECORD vs. ST. JOHN’S: Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was extremely efficient in the 3-0 win against St. John’s on Sunday, ending up with 11 kills on just 14 swings for a .643 attack percentage. For a time, she was challenging the school record for hitting in a match (.923 by Mary Kay Waller vs. DePaul in 1986), as she finished game two with 11 kills and no errors on 12 attempts, a mark of .917. She then was blocked and committed an error on her only two swings in the final game. Stasiuk’s hitting mark was a collegiate high for her, besting her previous high (.458 vs. Sacramento State) by nearly .200. It also stands as the second-best hitting mark by any Notre Dame player in ’04.
NOTRE DAME WINS FIVE STRAIGHT FOR 14TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON: Notre Dame won five matches in a row from Oct. 2-19, defeating Syracuse, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Illinois State, and #14 Utah. This is the 14th consecutive season — a span that covers every year since head coach Debbie Brown took over the program — in which the Irish have had a winning streak of at least five matches.
TV STARS: The Oct. 20 match against Brigham Young was televised live by BYU Television, marking the third time in an eight-match span that the Irish were on TV. It also was the fourth time in less than a year that Notre Dame has been televised. Most recently, 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. That 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 week also marks the fourth the third time in the last 23 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.
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 ) 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
LET’S PLAY FIVE … AGAIN: Notre Dame has played six five-game matches during 2004, losing four of them. A trio of them came in a seven-day span, as for just the second time in the 25-year history of the program, Notre Dame played three consecutive five-game affairs. 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. The Irish also beat Illinois State (15-10 in the fifth) in five at home on Oct. 13, lost at Brigham Young (15-11 in the fifth) on Oct. 20 , and fell at home vs. Northern Iowa (15-13 in the fifth) on Nov. 16.
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 165-28 (.855) 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 had won 74 consecutive regular-season conference matches (58-0 vs. the BIG EAST) in the Joyce Center, with its last defeat coming in 1990, before a loss to Boston College on Nov. 7. The Irish, who have topped 13 ranked teams – including four top-10 squads – at home, also hold a 158-9 (.946) record against unranked teams in the Joyce Center, including a 52-match winning streak (1998-2002)
CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has experienced unprecedented success in the 10 years since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995. The Irish have compiled a 107-6 (.947) regular-season mark, highlighted by nine titles and winning streaks of 45 and 35 consecutive matches. Notre Dame is 61-1 (.984) in BIG EAST regular-season matches in the Joyce Center, and the Irish have won eight BIG EAST tournament championships, posting a 19-2 (.905) 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 eighth instances, Irish players have been named the league tournament’s most outstanding player. Also, Notre Dame student-athletes have garnered 35 all-conference accolades, including 21 first-team honors, which account for more than one-third of the first-team selections during the span.
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.