Dec. 1, 2004
NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship
Madison, Wis. â€¢ Wisconsin Field House
First Round — Friday, December 3
Notre Dame (20-8) vs. Valparaiso (29-4), 5:00 p.m.
– Live Audio: www.und.com
– Real-Time Scoring: www.ncaasports.com
No. 14 seed Wisconsin (19-9) vs. Loyola Chicago (21-8), 7:00 p.m.
Second Round — Saturday, December 4
First-Round Winners, 7:00 p.m.
– Live Audio: www.und.com (if ND is in match) & www.uwbadgers (if Wisconsin is in match)
– Real-Time Scoring: www.ncaasports.com
IRISH OFF TO WISCONSIN FOR FIRST TWO ROUNDS OF NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: The University of Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (20-8), winners of 10 of its last 12 matches, will head to Madison, Wis., this weekend to begin play in the 2004 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. The Irish, regular-season and tournament champions of the BIG EAST Conference, will open by facing Valparaiso on Friday at 5 p.m. (CST) in the UW Field House, while the host, 14th-seeded Wisconsin, will face Loyola Chicago at 7 p.m., and the winners will meet in the second round on Saturday at 7 p.m. Fans will be able to follow Notre Dame’s action via live internet audio broadcasts available at www.und.com.
THE RADIO PLANS: Second-year broadcaster Stephen Hinkel will hit the road for the second time this season to cover the Irish with live internet audio broadcasts of Notre Dame’s NCAA action in Madison. The broadcasts will be available to subscribers of College Sports Pass via Notre Dame’s official athletics web site, www.und.com. In addition, Wisconsin’s official site, www.uwbadgers.com, will provide live internet audio for the Badgers’ matches this weekend.
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics will be made available for all three matches, via the University of Wisconsin athletics web site, www.uwbadgers.com.
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 15 of its last 18 and 19 of 24 following a 1-3 start. The Irish stand at 20-8 on the season and are 15th in the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI. Notre Dame is receiving votes and listed 31st in this week’s USA Today/CSTV Coaches Top 25, distributed by the AVCA.
* By winning the BIG EAST tournament, Notre Dame secured the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Irish are making their 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament and 14th overall. Only eight other Division I schools (Stanford, Penn State, UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Nebraska, Long Beach State, USC, and Florida) have qualified for each of the last 13 NCAA Championships.
* The streak of 13 consecutive NCAA appearances is the second-longest among Notre Dame’s varsity sports, behind only fencing.
* Notre Dame’s best NCAA result came in 1993, when the 17th-ranked Irish got a bye in the first round before upsetting #8 Nebraska in three games and Minnesota on its home court to advance to the quarterfinals, where it fell to #7 Penn State. Notre Dame has been to the round of 16 five times, also qualifying in 1988, `94, `95, and `97. Since 1999, the Irish are just 2-5 in NCAA action, reaching the second round in 2000 and `02. Overall, Notre Dame is 11-13 in the NCAAs.
* The Irish are first in the Northeast Region in the RichKern.com/AVCA Division I Region Rankings, with Pittsburgh next at 38th.
* Notre Dame has won nine in a row and 14 of its last 15 (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.
* Notre Dame claimed its third tournament title of the season last weekend, winning the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament in Long Beach, Calif., with victories over two NCAA qualifiers: UC Irvine (3-0) and Long Beach State (3-2).
* Sunday was Notre Dame’s first-ever win against the 49ers in five all-time meetings. The Irish came back from a 2-1 deficit for the first time in 2004 and were down 14-12 in the fifth game before winning four straight points to prevail. Leading the way was senior OH Emily Loomis, who had a career-high 29 kills on .414 hitting.
* 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 its home court.
* 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).
* 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 NCAAs sixth with a 3.37 average. Junior MB Lauren Brewster, who was first in individual blocking last season (1.78), is 25th in 2004 with a 1.51 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 (1.51) and 1.50 digs (2.18) per game. The other is Texas A&M’s Melissa Munsch (1.71 blocks, 3.07 digs), a second-team All-American in 2003.
* Junior captain L Meg Henican had 25 digs against Long Beach State on Nov. 27 to break the Notre Dame record for digs in a season, bringing her 2004 total to 513. The previous mark was 500 by Christy Peters in 1993. Henican’s 4.89 dig average is on pace to shatter Peters’ record of 4.10 from that season. Henican ranks sixth all-time with 1,115 career digs.
* Notre Dame will meet Valparaiso for the 22nd time. The Crusaders are the second-most-common opponent in Irish history behind Pittsburgh (23 matches). The Irish had won 18 in a row against Valpo prior to the Crusaders claiming a five-game win on Sept. 7 in the Joyce Center.
* Valparaiso head coach Carin Avery’s husband, Mike, is an assistant coach for the Irish men’s soccer squad.
* The Irish are traveling to Madison for NCAA action for the third time, having lost in the round of 16 to #4 Wisconsin in 1997 before losing to #20 Michigan State in the opening round of the 2001 event. In all, the Irish are 0-5 in UW Field House, having also lost in the regular season in 1984, as well as to both the Badgers and Indiana in the 1998 Inntower Invitational.
* Notre Dame and Loyola Chicago met in the season opener on Sept. 1, with the Irish prevailing 30-24, 30-19, 17-30, 30-28. Notre Dame leads the series with the Ramblers 13-3 and has won each of the last nine matches.
* The Irish and Wisconsin have not met since 1998. The Badgers have won four of the previous five meetings, with Notre Dame’s triumph coming in 1987 in the Joyce Center.
* This is the eighth time — and fourth since 2000 — that the Irish have traveled to a Big Ten Conference court for NCAA play.
* Ten of Notre Dame’s 13 losses in the NCAA tournament have come to current Big Ten schools, including three of the last four and five of the last seven. The Irish are 2-10 against the current Big Ten members in the NCAAs, including seven consecutive losses, dating back to 1993.
* 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 for a total of 20 entries. Junior MB Lauren Brewster leads the way as the only player in the conference to be among the leaders in three different categories in both overall and league-only action. She won the blocking title in conference play (1.66) for the third consecutive year, while finishing second in hitting percentage (.326). Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk was second in aces in league play (0.44), while junior L Meg Henican is third in digs in both overall (4.90) and conference action (6.00). Brewster also leads the conference in overall blocking (1.51), 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 (3.37) and are second in kills (15.34) and assists (13.92).
* Junior captain L Meg Henican has had 10+ digs in 27 of 28 matches this season (26 in a row) and 61 times in her career. She also has had 20 or more digs 12 times — including in six of the last seven 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 21 times this season and has hit the 20-kill plateau five times.
* Senior OH Emily Loomis tied with Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) for fifth on Notre Dame’s all-time kill list with 1,299. Loomis also has had 10+ kills in 71 career matches, which is the second-highest mark in program history. She has played 413 of 423 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 (.317) and block average (1.66).
* Notre Dame, led by junior L Meg Henican and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk, is allowing just 0.96 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 accolades. 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 9-3 (.750) 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, who also beat Long Beach State for the first time ever in The Pyramid, are 5-0 in neutral site meetings, giving them a 14-3 record away from the Joyce Center.
* Only six Irish opponents are under .500 this season, meaning that 22 of Notre Dame’s 28 pre-NCAA contests were against squads that currently have winning records. According to the RKPI, the Irish non-conference schedule was the seventh-toughest of all Division I schools.
* Notre Dame is 20-0 when posting a higher hitting percentage than its opponent and 0-8 when hitting worse than its foe. In all, each of the last 32 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 17-0 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 seven five-game matches this season, winning three times.
* The Irish have won 41 consecutive matches when taking a 2-0 lead, with the last loss comingon Sept. 18, 2002 against Purdue.
* Notre Dame is 12-2 in matches played during the day, but is just 8-6 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 14 seasons, Brown has guided Notre Dame to a winning record every year (and 20+ wins in each year but one), compiling a 343-117 (.746) 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, currently stands tied for fifth in ND history in career kills, with 1,299, and has posted 71 career double-digit-kill matches, the third-highest total for an Irish player. Loomis played middle blocker for the first 10 matches of 2004 before moving to outside hitter. She posted a career-high 29 kills — the most for any Irish player since 2000 — on .414 hitting in Notre Dame’s first-ever win against Long Beach State on Nov. 27. Junior MB Lauren Brewster — one of just two Division I players to be averaging over 1.50 blocks (1.51) and 1.50 digs (2.18) — 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). The BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding player this year, she was tops in league 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 (279/3.61), attack percentage (.315), points (498.0/4.74), 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. She is the only player in the BIG EAST to be among the league leaders in three categories in both overall and conference-only action. 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 and is the only Notre Dame player ever to be named to an all-BIG EAST team in each of her first three collegiate 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 .302 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 12 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 1.40 per game as a starter, and the team is averaging 3.78 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, and needs just one more service ace to be only the second Irish freshman ever to post 40 in a season. Junior captain L Meg Henican (HENN-ih-kin) is in the midst of the best defensive season in Notre Dame history, as she broke the school record for digs in a campaign (currently 513, record was 500) and is on pace to shatter the school record for season dig average (4.89, record is 4.10). 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 3.77 career dig average is the best in Irish history, and she has hit the 20-dig plateau 12 times this season (including in six of the last seven matches), while failing to notch 15 digs only five times in 28 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 played as defensive specialists after the latter started the season as Notre Dame’s libero.
BRIEF HISTORY OF ND IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame qualified for its first NCAA Championship appearance in 1988, defeating #20 Penn State in the Joyce Center before falling to #4 Illinois in Urbana, Ill. … this is the 13th straight season the Irish have appeared in the NCAA tournament (1992 – 2004) … the best NCAA Championship results for Notre Dame were a 1993 quarterfinals appearance and reaching the round of 16 in `94, `95, and `97 … Notre Dame is 11-13 (.458) in NCAA tournament action … 10 of the Irish NCAA losses have come to current Big Ten schools, including three of the last four and five of the last seven … Notre Dame is 2-10 against the current Big Ten members in the NCAAs, including seven consecutive losses, dating back to 1993 … last season, Notre Dame was placed in one of only two sub-regionals with three nationally-ranked teams, losing 3-0 to #19 Louisville in the opening round.
IRISH GAIN 13th CONSECUTIVE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP BERTH: Notre Dame will have a chance to avenge one of its regular-season losses, as it will head to Madison, Wis., this weekend to take on Mid-Continent Conference champion Valparaiso (29-4) on Friday at 5 p.m. (CST) in the opening round of the 2004 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. The other first-round match (Friday at 7 p.m.) in the only subregional without a nationally-ranked team pits host and 14th-seeded Wisconsin (19-9) against Horizon League champ Loyola Chicago (21-8). The winners will meet on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the second round. The Irish, who have won 10 of their last 12 matches, lost in five games against the Crusaders on Sept. 7 in the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame, regular-season and tournament champions of the BIG EAST Conference, gained an automatic bid to participate in the NCAA Championship for the 13th consecutive season. Valpo and the Ramblers also gained automatic entrance due to their conference-tournament triumphs, while the Badgers garnered one of the 33 at-large bids.
The winner of Saturday’s second-round match will advance to Green Bay, Wis., for regional play Dec. 10-11. The national semifinals and final will be Dec. 16 and 18 in Long Beach, Calif.
Wisconsin finished fourth in the Big Ten Conference, which is ranked as the top league in the nation this season by the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI) and was rewarded with three of the top five overall seeds, boasting a record of 13-7 in league play. The Badgers are 19-9 overall and are receiving votes in the AVCA national poll (listed 32nd). Valparaiso, which was 14-0 in league play and stands 29-4 overall, enters the NCAAs on a nine-match winning streak and having won 23 of its last 24 matches. Loyola, which opened the season with a four-game loss to Notre Dame in the Joyce Center on Sept. 1, saved eight match points in rallying from a 2-0 deficit to beat Cleveland State in the title match of the Horizon League tournament. The Ramblers were 10-4 in conference action and enter the NCAAs with a 22-8 mark.
It will be the second time in four years and the third time since 1997 that the Irish have traveled to Madison for NCAA tournament play. Notre Dame lost in four games to #4 Wisconsin in the round of 16 in 1997 and fell 3-1 to #20 Michigan State in the first round of the 2001 tournament. Notre Dame will be looking for its first-ever win in Wisconsin Field House, where it is winless in five previous contests.
Notre Dame had won 18 consecutive matches against Valpo prior to this season, when the Crusaders claimed a 26-30, 30-24, 30-26, 24-30, 15-12 triumph. It was their first win over the Irish since 1980 in a series of two former North Star Conference rivals. The schools have played three previous times in the postseason, with Notre Dame prevailing in the conference tournament in 1986 and ’87, but Valpo registering a win in the 1980 Indiana Division II Championship.
The Irish and Loyola, who were in both the North Star and Midwestern Collegiate Conferences together, have met 16 times, with Notre Dame winning 13, including each of the last nine matches. The Irish prevailed 30-24, 30-19, 17-30, 30-28 in the season opener.
Notre Dame and Wisconsin have played five times previously, but not since 1998. The Badgers have won four of those contests, with Notre Dame’s victory coming in four games in the Joyce Center in 1987.
The 13 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances is the second-longest current streak of any Notre Dame sport, behind fencing. Overall, the Irish have earned 14 berths, reaching the quarterfinals in 1993 and the round of 16 in `94, `95, and `97. Notre Dame is 11-13 all-time in the NCAAs.
IRISH-CRUSADERS SERIES NOTES: The Irish and Crusaders, formerly North Star Conference rivals, will meet for the 22nd time (ND leads 18-3), as Valpo is the second-most-common opponent in the history of Notre Dame varsity volleyball … after Valparaiso won the first two meetings (both in 1980), Notre Dame won 18 in a row until the Crusaders prevailed 26-30, 30-24, 30-26, 24-30, 15-12 in the Joyce Center on Sept. 7 … the Irish had registered 10 consecutive 3-0 sweeps of Valpo and had won 32 games in a row … the teams will meet on neutral courts for the fifth time, with the Irish winning four of the previous encounters … it will be the fourth postseason matchup, after two North Start Conference Championship tilts (won by ND) and a meeting in the 1980 Indiana Division II Championship (a Valpo victory) … the Irish won 30-21, 30-17, 32-30 a season ago against the previously undefeated (8-0) Crusaders … Notre Dame’s 18 victories vs. Valparaiso are tied for the most against any opponent (also vs. Pittsburgh) … the Crusaders won a pair of matches by 2-0 scores in the inaugural season of Irish varsity volleyball, 1980, one at Valparaiso and the other in the Indiana Division II tournament in Hammond … Notre Dame’s first win vs. its intrastate rival was a come-from-behind 2-1 decision in a neutral-site match in Calumet, Ind., in 1981 … since then, the Crusaders have managed to avoid a sweep by the Irish just three times, losing in four in 1982, ’83, and ’87 … the teams had never played a five-game match prior to this season … Notre Dame won all five North Star Conference matches from 1983-87, as well as a pair in the NSC tournament in Chicago (in ’86 and ’87) … the Irish have won 55 of 66 games, including 49 of the last 53 … Notre Dame holds a 23-8 all-time record against current members of the Mid-Continent Conference, including 10-3 under head coach Debbie Brown … last year’s match saw a pair of Irish school records, as Jessica Kinder had 28 digs, the most-ever in a three-game contest, and Emily Loomis set a mark for most kills in a match without an error, slamming 24 … the 2001 match was notable in a number of ways, as the Irish won by 39 points (30-22, 30-12, 30-17), the second-largest margin of victory for Notre Dame under the 30-point format … the game-two margin also stands as the second-largest in a game in Irish history … that match took just 1:15, making it the third-quickest tilt under rally scoring … in 1994, Valparaiso hit -.105 (13-21-76), which stands as the second-lowest hitting mark ever by an Irish opponent … in 1984, Notre Dame served up 17 aces in a three-game victory over Valpo, a sum that stands as the most-ever for the Irish in any-length match … the contest will feature the top two individual blockers in Division I from a year ago: Notre Dame’s Lauren Brewster (1st, 1.78) and Valpo’s Liz Mikos (2nd, 1.77) … the Crusaders ranked in the national top 20 in both digs (13th, 18.87) and blocks (18th, 2.97) in ’03 … Sara Silcox ranked 18th nationally in digs (4.56).
Current Irish vs. Valparaiso
Brewster 3 MS/MP, 9 GP, 31/3.44 K, .228 (13 E, 79 TA), 18/2.00 D, 1 A, 1 BS/16 BA/1.89, 40/4.44 PTS
Burrell 2 MP, 6 GP, 1 K, 2 TA, 2/0.67 D, 21/3.50 A
Cooper 2 MP, 4 GP, 8/2.00 K, .226 (1 E, 31 TA), 3/0.75 D, 1 BS/4 BA/1.25, 3/0.75 A, 11/2.75 PTS
Corbett 2 MP, 2 GP, 1 K, 1 E, 5 TA, 6 D, 1 PT
Henican 3 MS/MP, 11 GP, 9/0.81 K, .020 (8 E, 51 TA), 37/3.36 D, 2/0.18 BA, 2/0.33 SA, 4/0.36 A, 11/1.09 PTS
Herndon 1 MP, 1 GP, 6 D
Kelbley 3 MS/MP, 9 GP, 35/3.89 K, .365 (4 E, 85 TA), 14/1.55 D, 4/0.44 SA, 7 BA/0.78, 42.5/4.72 PTS
Loomis 4 MS/MP, 14 GP, 47/3.36 K, .266 (14 E, 124 TA), 1 A, 18/1.29 D, 3 BS/10 BA/0.93, 55/3.93 PTS
Nedderman 2 MP, 4 GP, 4/1.00 K, .375 (1 E, 8 TA), 2/0.50 D, 1/0.25 BA, 4.50/1.13 PTS
Stasiuk 1 MS/MP, 5 GP, 16/3.20 K, .342 (3 E, 38 TA), 15/3.00 D, 9/1.80 A, 2/0.40 SA, 2 BS/3 BA/1.00, 21.5/4.30 PTS
Tarutis 1 MS/MP, 5 GP, 1 K, 2 E, 9 TA, 47/9.40 A, 17/3.40 D, 1 BS
RECAP OF ND-VALPO MATCH: Notre Dame dropped a five-game decision for the second time in four days, falling 26-30, 30-24, 30-26, 24-30, 15-12 to Valparaiso on Sept. 7 in the Joyce Center. The Crusaders had five players with 14 or more kills and five notched 12+ digs, while the Irish were inefficient on offense, though three Notre Dame players just missed triple-doubles.
Valpo won the first two points of the fifth game to take an early advantage that it never relinquished. Notre Dame tied the score six times, but could not take the lead. The final tie came at 12-12, but three consecutive Irish attack errors handed Valparaiso its first win over Notre Dame since 1980, snapping an 18-match losing skid against the Irish. Both squads had eight kills and 11 digs in the fifth game, but Notre Dame’s six attack errors (to only two for Valparaiso) proved to be the difference.
Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) led all players with 22 kills, matching her career high. She made just three attack errors for a .365 hitting mark. Kelbley also had a career-high nine digs, as well as seven block assists and a pair of aces to finish with a match-high 27.5 points. Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) ended just a single assist away from a triple-double, as she doubled her previous collegiate high with 16 kills on .342 hitting. She also notched season highs with 15 digs, nine assists, and five blocks, while adding two service aces for 21.5 points. Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) had 18 kills for the second match in a row and scrambled for 13 digs, bettering her previous career best by four. She also had eight block assists to end up with 22 points.
Notre Dame’s offense sputtered, finishing with a .195 hitting mark, its third time below .200 in four matches. The Irish were outstanding in the opening game, slamming 23 kills on .327 hitting, but they would top .130 in just one of the remaining four frames. Rookie S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) made her second start and played most of the match, though junior S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School) also rotated in at times. Tarutis finished with 47 assists and a season-high 17 digs, while Burrell added nine assists. Junior OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) led a Notre Dame floor game that finished with 91 digs, the highest total for an Irish squad since registering 108 against Illinois State on Nov. 14, 2001. Henican ended up with 20 of Notre Dame’s digs.
Valparaiso’s defense was even more impressive, accruing 102 digs on the night, including 29 from senior L Sara Silcox. Junior OH Jessi Novak added 25 to go along with 15 kills, while freshman OH Amy Palash had 17 digs and a team-high 16 kills. A pair of Penn High School graduates were key factors in the win, as sophomore MB Jessie Fox had 14 kills on .312 hitting and senior DS Lindsey Moore added a dozen digs. Junior S Katie Bova led a consistent Valpo attack that didn’t hit better than .280 or worse than .185 in a game. At the end of the night, the Crusaders had posted a .225 attack percentage and Bova had 61 assists to go with 15 digs.
The Irish attack was nearly unstoppable early. Kelbley opened the match with kills on the first three points, and 16 of Notre Dame’s first 17 points came on kills. The Irish never built a lead of more than four points, but also never allowed Valparaiso to pull ahead in the first game. Both Kelbley and Brewster had seven kills and just a single error apiece in the frame.
Notre Dame appeared to be well in control of game two, as it immediately opened up a 7-1 lead. After trading points until it was 9-3, Valparaiso went on an 18-5 run to take the lead for good en route to avoiding a shutout for the first time in 11 matches against the Irish. The Crusaders had 24 digs (nine from Palash) in holding Notre Dame to .085 hitting (12 kills, eight errors).
The third game was the most closely contested of the night, as it featured 12 ties and four lead changes before Valpo prevailed. The Irish were up 8-6 before six straight Crusaders points put Valpo ahead for the first time. After finding itself down 20-18, VU then won five in a row to go ahead for good. A kill from Novak on the second game point put Valpo just one game from victory. The Crusaders had 18 kills in the frame, while the Irish managed only 14. Both teams had 21 digs, as Silcox notched nine and Henican had eight.
Valparaiso made an effort to close the match out in four games, as it took leads of as many as four points three times early in game four (10-6, 12-8, 13-9), but Notre Dame battled back, going on a 14-3 run to take control. Valpo saved a pair of game points before a Stasiuk kill sent the match to a decisive fifth game. Notre Dame made just one attack error in the game, and both Kelbley and Stasiuk had five kills. The Crusaders had 20 kills and registered 28 digs, but still could not win the game. The Irish also had 20 digs.
Brewster won a battle of the top two blockers in Division I from a year ago. She ended up with a match-high eight blocks, while Valparaiso junior MB Liz Mikos, who finished just .01 blocks per game behind Brewster in `03, was in on six blocks. The Irish outblocked Valpo 15-7.
IRISH-BADGERS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Wisconsin have played five times previously, with the Badgers winning all but one matchup … the most recent contest was a three-game win for #8 UW of the 18th-ranked Irish in the 1998 Inntower Invitational in Madison … the Badgers won the first match, in four games in Madison in 1984 … Notre Dame’s lone triumph came in 1987, a 3-1 victory at home … the teams met twice in 1997, with Wisconsin winning both affairs … UW prevailed in four in a matchup of two top-20 teams in the Shamrock Invitational, and the Badgers also grabbed a 3-1 win in the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament … Wisconsin has won 13 of 19 games … Notre Dame is winless in three matches against the Badgers (and five overall) in the UW Field House … 2002 graduate and outside hitter Marcie Bomhack, a native of Waukesha who played for Catholic Memorial High School and the Milwaukee Sting Volleyball Club, is the only Wisconsin native to play volleyball for the Irish, finishing her career with 1,016 kills and 704 digs.
IRISH-RAMBLERS SERIES NOTES: The Irish and Ramblers, formerly foes in both the North Star and Midwestern Collegiate Conferences, have played 16 times previously, with Notre Dame winning 13 … the Irish won 30-24, 30-19, 17-30, 30-28 on Sept. 1 in the season opener for both teams, the first meeting between them since 1994 … the schools met 15 times from 1981-94, with the Irish winning 12 of the matches, including each of the last eight … the teams have met six times on neutral courts, with the Irish winning all but one match … the schools have played five times in the postseason (North Star tournament in ’85, MCC tournament in 1990-92 and ’94), with Notre Dame prevailing each time … Loyola was victorious in the first two contests between the schools, prevailing in two games (best-of-three format) in 1981 in a neutral-site match at Chicago State University before winning a five-game decision (15-12 in the fifth) on its home court in a North Star Conference tilt in ’83 … Notre Dame got its first win over the Ramblers in five games (15-11 in the fifth) in 1985 in Chicago, which began streak in which the Irish would win 13 of the next 14 matches … Loyola’s lone victory during that time was a four-game decision in 1990 in Chicago in the first time the schools met as Midwestern Collegiate Conference foes … Loyola and Notre Dame twice played in the conference title match, with the Irish winning 2-0 in ’85 (North Star in St. Louis) and 3-1 in ’92 (MCC in Pittsburgh) … in the most recent meeting, Notre Dame won in three games in the 1994 MCC Championship in DeKalb, Ill. … Notre Dame has won 41 games and Loyola 17, with the Irish winning 14 of the last 15 and 19 of the last 21 … ND has won three of the four five-game matches between the schools, with wins in 1985 and in the ’90 and ’91 MCC tournaments after Loyola won in ’83 … the Irish are 22-0 against current Horizon League members under head coach Debbie Brown and 37-11 all-time … in the ’92 MCC final, Notre Dame had 11 solo blocks, which is tied for the most-ever by an Irish team in a match … that contest saw the Ramblers hit just .048 (50-41-186), which stands as the lowest attack percentage by a Notre Dame opponent in a four-game match in school history … two freshmen – Laura Bresnahan (Elmhurst, York H.S., Lions Elite VBC) and Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Maine South H.S., Sports Performance VBC) – are the latest Chicago-area 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.
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 343-117 (.746) mark, while holding a 460-200 (.697) 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) Nov. 20-21 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 15th IN RKPI: After beating two NCAA-bound teams in winning the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament last weekend, Notre Dame moved up three spots to 15th in the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI formula. The Irish — who passed UC Santa Barbara, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin this week — are by far the top team in the AVCA Northeast Region, with Pittsburgh coming in second at 38th.
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, while the other nine league schools managed to win only a total of two games against ND. 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.
NOTRE DAME GOES 7-4 AGAINST NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS IN 2004: A total of nine 2004 Irish opponents are in the field of 64 teams in the NCAA Championship. Nebraska (Big XII), the No. 1 overall seed, Valparaiso (Mid-Continent), Loyola Chicago (Horizon), and Sacramento State (Big Sky) gained automatic bids from winning their conference championships, while UC Irvine, Long Beach State, Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Utah garnered at-large berths. The Irish went 7-4 against those teams, with two of the losses coming against the Cornhuskers. Notre Dame also lost in five games to Valparaiso and 3-1 at Michigan.
IRISH GET NCAA REMATCH FOR JUST FOURTH TIME: Notre Dame will open the NCAA tournament by taking on Valparaiso, who beat the Irish in five games during the regular season. It will be just the fourth time — and first since 1997 — that Notre Dame has met a regular-season foe again in the NCAA Championship. Only once (1988 vs. Penn State) have the Irish avenged a regular-season defeat in the NCAAs.
Notre Dame’s Regular Season/NCAA Rematches
11-26-88 Penn State def. ND 15-6, 12-15, 15-13, 3-15, 15-2 (Whataburger Invitational, Austin, TX)
12-3-88 ND def. #20 Penn State 15-13, 15-10, 14-16, 15-10 (NCAA 1st round, Notre Dame, IN)
9-25-93 #14 ND def. #3 Nebraska 15-8, 15-7, 3-15, 15-10 (Golden Dome Invit., Notre Dame, IN)
12-2-93 #17 ND def. #8 Nebraska 15-11, 15-10, 15-8 (NCAA 2nd round, Notre Dame, IN)
8-30-97 #18 Wisconsin def. #17 ND 15-10, 11-15, 15-4, 15-11 (Shamrock Invit., Notre Dame, IN)
12-9-97 #4 Wisconsin def. ND 9-15, 15-12, 18-16, 15-11 (NCAA round of 16, Madison, WI)
9-7-04 Valparaiso def. ND 26-30, 30-24, 30-26, 24-30, 15-12 (Notre Dame, IN)
12-3-04 ND vs. Valparaiso (NCAA 1st round, Madison, WI)
NOTRE DAME SEEKS FIRST-EVER WIN IN WISCONSIN FIELD HOUSE: Notre Dame will be seeking its first-ever win in UW Field House, after going winless in its first five matches in the facility. The Irish lost in the regular season in 1984, in the round of 16 to Wisconsin in the 1997 NCAA tournament, twice in the 1998 Inntower Invitational, and in the opening round of the 2002 NCAAs against Michigan State. Last weekend, Notre Dame won twice in The Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif., after previously being 0-3 in that building.
Notre Dame in Wisconsin Field House
9-22-84 Wisconsin def. Notre Dame 15-13, 3-15, 15-9, 15-13
12-9-97 #4 Wisconsin def. Notre Dame 9-15, 15-12, 18-16, 15-11 (NCAA round of 16)
9-11-98 #8 Wisconsin def. #18 Notre Dame 15-2, 15-5, 15-6 (Inntower Invitational)
9-12-98 Indiana def. #18 Notre Dame 15-12, 15-6, 5-15, 5-15, 15-11 (Inntower Invitational)
11-30-02 #20 Michigan State def. #25 Notre Dame 25-30, 30-16, 30-20, 30-24 (NCAA 1st round)
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’s 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.
HENICAN BREAKS SEASON DIGS RECORD: Junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), in the midst of the most impressive defensive season ever for an Irish player, broke the record for digs in a season on Nov. 27 at Long Beach State, when she had 25 to bring her 2004 total to 513. The previous record was 500 by Christy Peters in 1993. Henican’s season average of 4.89 per game is on pace to shatter Peters’ program-best mark of 4.10 from that season. Henican has had 20+ digs 12 times, including in six of the last seven 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 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 one of the top all-around defenseive players in the country. In fact, Brewster is one of only two players in Division I to be averaging over 1.50 blocks (1.51) and 1.50 digs (2.18) per game. The other is Texas A&M’s Melissa Munsch (1.71 blocks, 3.06 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 1.61 per game (0.88 blocks, 0.73 digs).
LOOMIS, LATE HEROICS LEAD IRISH OVER LONG BEACH STATE IN FIVE: Senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) slammed a career-high 29 kills and junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) delivered three huge fifth-game kills after facing match point, as Notre Dame closed out the regular season with a thrilling 30-28, 22-30, 25-30, 30-22, 16-14 triumph over Long Beach State on Nov. 27 in The Pyramid. The Irish won four straight points after trailing 14-12 in the final game to clinch their first-ever win against LBSU, national champions three times in the last 15 years.
The 49ers went up 5-1 in the decisive game, and they would hold on to that advantage until a kill from setter Jillian Mazzarella gave them a pair of match points, at 14-12. Kelbley, who has missed three matches over the past few weeks due to a foot injury, took a set from Long Beach native Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) on the left side and crushed it crosscourt to keep the match going. On the next point, it was junior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) who went one-on-one with Makini Thompson and stuffed the Long Beach outside hitter to tie the score. To conclude a long point featuring a number of near-finishes — including three point-saving digs by rookie OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) — junior setter Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School) found Kelbley on the left side, and she pounded the ball off the LBSU block and out of bounds to give the Irish a match point of their own. Following a 49ers timeout, Burrell went back to Kelbley in the same spot and she again delivered, cranking her 19th kill of the match down the line and past two diving defenders to clinch Notre Dame’s first win in five all-time meetings with The Beach. The Irish had 10 kills and no errors on .357 hitting in the final game to go with three blocks.
IRISH HIT 20-WIN PLATEAU FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT YEAR, 13TH TIME IN 14 SEASONS: Notre Dame defeated a pair of NCAA-bound teams, UC Irvine and Long Beach State, on the road in the final weekend of the regular season to improve to 20-8. Winning the title in the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament assured the Irish of their sixth consecutive 20-win season and the 13th in the 14 years since Debbie Brown took over as the program’s head coach.
LOOMIS CRANKS 29 KILLS IN HELPING IRISH TO FIRST-EVER WIN AGAINST LBSU: In the final regular-season match of her career, senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) turned in one of the finest performances of her career, pounding a career-high 29 kills in helping the Irish to their first-ever win against Long Beach State. Loomis was virtually deadly all night, using outright power, as well as finesse, to bang kill after kill off the hands of Long Beach would-be diggers. She made just five errors on 58 attempts to finish with a season-high .414 hitting percentage. It was the most kills for a Notre Dame player since Christi Girton slammed 31 against Connecticut on Oct. 29, 2000. Her performance brought her career kill total to 1,299, which tied her with Jessica Fiebelkorn (1989-92) for fifth on the Irish career kills list. The senior also was a big factor in Notre Dame’s blocking, taking part in six, including a match-high three solo blocks. Two of those solos came on back-to-back points early in the fourth game, helping the Irish set the tone for a must-win game.
SUCCESSFUL HOMECOMING FOR TARUTIS, AS IRISH WIN BADEN THANKSGIVING TOURNAMENT: Freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.), a Long Beach native and former standout for Los Alamitos High School and the Golden West Volleyball Club, had a successful homecoming over the final weekend of the regular season, as she led the Irish to consecutive victories over NCAA-bound teams en route to winning the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament. Tarutis registered 103 assists in the tournament, an average of 12.88 per game, while guiding the Irish to a .292 hitting percentage. She had 41 assists — matching her season high in a three-game match — while helping Notre Dame to a sweep of UC Irvine, as the team hit .287. Tarutis missed her collegiate high by one, registering 62 assists in helping the Irish to their highest hitting mark in a five-game match in more than two years (.295) against Long Beach State. Prior to its trip there with Tarutis, Notre Dame had been winless in three all-time matches in The Pyramid. Additionally, the Irish had never beaten the 49ers, who have been national champions three times in the last 15 years.
KELBLEY HITS 1,000 CAREER KILLS; BREWSTER 18 AWAY: Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) had 19 kills against Long Beach State on Nov. 27 to become the 15th player in Notre Dame history to register 1,000 career kills. She heads into the NCAA tournament with 1,006 for her career, and Marcie Bomhack (1998-2001) is 14th on the all-time list at 1,016. Kelbley’s classmate, MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), is just 18 away from becoming the 16th player — and just the fifth middle blocker — to reach 1,000 kills. She has 982.
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 sixth nationally in blocking this season, with an average of 3.37 per game. Brewster is 25th individually with an average of 1.51. Notre Dame is more than one-half block per game better than the rest of the conference, as Syracuse 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 2.18, 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 229 in `04, including 14 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 0.24 per game that is fourth on the team. Brewster has committed just 28 errors for an ace-to-error ratio of 0.83, which ranks second on the Irish. In 2003, she turned in 27 aces, while making 42 errors for a ratio of just 0.64.
BREWSTER LEADS MAJOR IRISH PRESENCE IN BIG EAST LEADERS: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), a unanimous first-team all-league selection, leads an Irish contingent that has representatives among the top 10 in all 14 of the official statistical categories. She is the only player in the BIG EAST listed in the top 10 in three different categories in both overall and conference action. In league action, she finished first in blocks (1.66), second in hitting percentage (.326), and sixth in points (4.75). In overall play, Brewster is first in blocks (1.51), fourth in points (4.74), and sixth in hitting percentage (.315).
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.
IRISH CHAMPIONS AGAIN: Notre Dame dropped just two games in claiming the title at the Cal Poly-Best Western Invitational, Sept. 10-11, and then beat a pair of NCAA-bound teams to win the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament from Nov. 26-27. Those performances mean 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 Tallahassee, Fla., and the `02 Golden Dome Invitational at home.
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 the ISU match, 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.
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 topped a ranked team in three games on their home court.
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 consecutive 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 TIED FOR FIFTH 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 1,299 kills and ranking tied for fifth with Jessica Fiebelkorn on the all-time list. Barring a deep postseason run, it appears Loomis will finish fifth, as fourth place has two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year Jaimie Lee boasting 1,446.
HENICAN SIXTH IN CAREER DIGS: Junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who broke the Notre Dame records for digs in a season last weekend, already stands sixth on the Irish career digs list, with 1,115. 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 0.96 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 44 receiving errors this season, or one in every 2.39 games. Henican has been even more solid, committing only 32 reception errors, an average of one in every 3.28 games. Only five times in 28 matches this season has Henican made multiple reception errors.
HENICAN, STASIUK CHALLENGING SCHOOL RECORD FOR COMBINED DIGS: Junior L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.), the core of Notre Dame’s defense, have combined for 826 digs this season, 513 by the captain and 313 for the rookie. That total is the third-highest by a duo in a single season in Notre Dame history. It would seem a given that they will easily pass the second-highest total — 828 by Christy Peters (500) and Jenny Birkner (328) in 1993 — and Henican and Stasiuk are just 57 shy of the Irish record. That is 883 by Peters (409) and Jessica Fiebelkorn (474) in 1992.
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 Oct. 31 – 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.
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 hed a hefty advantage, as the Irish allowed BIG EAST foes to manage a hitting mark of only .134. The next-best performance was .174 by Syracuse.
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 460-200 (.696) record 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 MOST 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.
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.
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.
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 (despite hitting .320), 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: Irish players have been recognized six times this season in the inaugural year of und.com Primetime Performances, which recognize the top few performances by Irish student-athletes each week. Leading the way is three-time honoree MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), who currently holds the distinction of being the only Notre Dame student-athlete — in any sport — to have already been honored more than twice. 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. Senior OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) earned the accolade on Nov. 29 after a 29-kill performance on .414 hitting that led the Irish to their first-ever win against Long Beach State.
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 Oct. 24, 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 mark (.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. The BYU contest also marked the fourth 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 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 seven 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, three 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 , fell at home vs. Northern Iowa (15-13 in the fifth) on Nov. 16, and then won at Long Beach State (16-14 in the fifth after trailing 14-12) on Nov. 27 in the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament.
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 60-1 (.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.