Sept. 27, 2004
Notre Dame (5-4) vs. Michigan (10-2)
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m. â€¢ Cliff Keen Arena
– Live Internet Audio: www.und.com & www.mgoblue.com
– Television: Comcast Sports Local in southeast Michigan (tape-delayed)
– Real-Time Stats: www.und.com or www.mgoblue.com
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse
Saturday, Oct. 2, 2 p.m. â€¢ Manley Field House
IRISH SET FOR ROAD MATCHES AGAINST MICHIGAN, SYRACUSE: The University of Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (5-4) will return to action after an eight-day layoff with a pair of road matches this week. The Irish will travel to Michigan (10-2) on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. (EDT) contest that will be televised on a tape-delayed basis and will feature live audio and real-time stats via www.und.com. Notre Dame will then open BIG EAST Conference play on Saturday at 2 p.m. (EDT) by traveling to Syracuse, which boasts the best record of league teams in 2004 (13-3 heading into a match vs. Albany on Tuesday).
THE TV PLANS: Comcast Sports Local telecast with Dan Gutowsky (play-by-play) and Ashley Buckingham (analysis) to be shown on a tape-delayed basis in southeast Michigan, airing on Friday, Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) and Sunday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m.
THE RADIO PLANS: For the third consecutive season, various Notre Dame volleyball matches feature live internet audio available to subscribers of College Sports Pass via Notre Dame’s official web site, www.und.com. Second-year broadcaster Stephen Hinkel will have the call for Tuesday’s match against Michigan, marking the second time he has hit the road to provide an internet audio broadcast of Irish volleyball. It will be the third of at least seven broadcasts this season. Michigan’s official athletics web site will provide its own live internet audio via www.mgoblue.com.
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics, courtesy of College Sports Online’s GameTracker, will be made available on Tuesday, via the Notre Dame (www.und.com) and Michigan (www.mgoblue.com) athletics web sites.
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 328-113 (.744) mark. The Irish have earned 12 consecutive berths to the NCAA Championship, including a `93 quarterfinal finish and three trips to the round of 16 (1994, `95, and `97). Since joining the BIG EAST Conference in `95, Notre Dame has dominated the league, winning eight regular-season and seven tournament titles in nine years. Overall, the Irish are 98-5 (.951) in regular-season BIG EAST play and 17-2 (.895) in conference tournament action. Notre Dame is 56-0 in BIG EAST regular-season matches in the Joyce Center.
The 2004 Irish team returned nine monogram winners and four starters from last year’s squad that was 23-7 and finished 24th in the national rankings after peaking at 12th. The Irish also led the nation in blocks per game (3.72, with second-place Cornell at 3.52) and have three of their top four blockers back for the `04 campaign.
Offensively, Notre Dame returns three players who were named honorable mention All-America last season and who constitute the only trio in school history to register 350+ kills apiece in the same season. Senior MB 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 13th with 1,082 and has a chance to finish among the top five on the Notre Dame career kills list. Junior MB Lauren Brewster led the country in individual blocking in `03 (1.78 per game) and boasts a 1.68 career block average, which is the best mark in Irish history. She already has five individual BIG EAST statistical crowns to her credit (blocking in league and overall matches in `02 and `03, hitting percentage in BIG EAST play in `03), which is the most-ever by a Notre Dame player. Brewster, the only Irish returning starter playing in the same position she did a year ago, was named the Cal Poly Invitational MVP and leads the Irish in points (170/4.72), attack percentage (.286), blocks (51/1.42), and service aces (17/0.47) this season. Her classmate, OH Lauren Kelbley (KELL-blee), is one of only three juniors in Division I to earn all-region honors from the AVCA in each of her first two seasons. In `02, she was the rookie of the year for both the AVCA’s Northeast Region and the BIG EAST Conference. Her career hitting percentage of .312 currently ranks as the third-best in school history. Notre Dame’s early-season leader in kills (124/3.44), Kelbley matched her career high with 22 against Valparaiso on Sept. 22, while also setting a career high with nine digs and adding seven blocks.
For the first time in her 20 years as a head coach, Brown has three freshmen in her regular starting lineup, as S Ashley Tarutis (tuh-ROO-tiss), OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (stuh-SHEWK), and OH Ellen Heintzman (HIGHNTZ-min) all have earned starting nods. Stasiuk, who was a “Fab 50” selection playing for Maine South High School and the Chicago-area Sports Performance Volleyball Club, missed a triple-double by just a single assist on Sept. 7 against Valparaiso, and she ranks among Notre Dame’s top three in every statistical category. 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. Tarutis, a two-time All-American for Los Alamitos High School and the Golden West Volleyball Club in California, took over as Notre Dame’s top 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. Heintzman, a five-time AAU All-American for the Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Academy (KIVA), moved into the starting lineup in the fourth match of the season, and she had her best collegiate match vs. Michigan State, ending up with 15 kills on .444 hitting. She was twice a first-team all-Kentucky selection in prep action for Sacred Heart Academy, helping it to its first-ever state championship.
Junior captain L Meg Henican (HENN-ih-kin) began the season starting at outside hitter, but injuries have forced her into the libero jersey. In five matches in the spot, she is averaging 5.00 digs per game (95 digs, 19 games), including a 26-dig performance against Sacramento State that that stands as the second-highest total ever for an ND player in a three-game match. Henican, one of the team’s top all-around players, played libero for most of `03 and became just the third player in program history to register 400+ digs in a season, as she averaged 4.23 per game after becoming the starting libero last year. Her 3.34 career dig average is the second-best mark in Irish history, and she has hit the 20-dig plateau four times already this season.
Other regular contributors for the Irish include sophomore DS Danielle Herndon (HURN-din) and junior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper. Herndon started the year as Notre Dame’s top libero after filling that role early in `03 before becoming a defensive specialist for the remainder of the season. Cooper has been Notre Dame’s top front-row sub for the second straight year, seeing time mostly at middle blocker.
LAST TIME ON THE COURT: Notre Dame fell just short in pursuit of its second consecutive tournament title, beating Michigan State 30-22, 24-30, 30-21, 30-19 before falling to host South Carolina 30-28, 25-30, 30-22, 30-23 in the championship match of the Gamecock Invitational from Sept. 17-19. Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) were tabbed to the all-tournament team.
Brewster led all players in five statistical categories in helping the Irish to their first win over the Spartans since 1994 (snapping a five-match skid vs. MSU). Brewster had one of the best all-around performances of her career, leading all players in the match 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. She also was third on the Irish with nine digs. Freshman OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) turned in the best match of her young collegiate career, finishing with 15 kills on .444 hitting in just her second weekend starting at outside hitter. Notre Dame’s offense, led by Tarutis and junior S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School), was solid, ending up with a .289 attack percentage that stands as the highest for the Irish in a match longer than three games since Nov. 30, 2003 (.291 in 3-2 win against Virginia Tech) and the second-highest in any match this season. The Irish had 15 or more kills in each of the games they won and also hit over .265 in all of those games. Tarutis finished with 44 assists, her collegiate high in a non-five-game match. Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) finished with 12 kills and three service aces, while junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) led all players with 15 digs. Notre Dame’s serving game was outstanding, as the Irish recorded 11 aces and made only seven errors.
South Carolina’s blocking and Notre Dame’s continued offensive struggles were the story of the title match. The Gamecocks finished with 14 blocks, and the Irish, who had a four-match winning streak snapped, hit over .075 in just one game, finishing with a .146 attack percentage on the afternoon. Brewster led Notre Dame’s performance with 13 kills on .242 hitting to go with 12 digs and three blocks for 20.5 points. She also served up six aces, including four on a single rotation in game three. The Irish serving game was good all-around, finishing with a season-high 15 aces to tie the school record for aces in a four-game match. Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) had 12 kills on .273 hitting, while Heintzman had 11 kills.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN: The Wolverines, who enter with a 10-2 (1-1 Big Ten) record, will play their third match in five days on Tuesday. Michigan’s lone defeats came to Western Michigan in five games (16-14 in the fifth) and at #1 Minnesota (3-0) on Sunday. The Wolverines top win was a four-game decision against #22 Tennessee, while they also have wins against Valparaiso, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Manhattan, American, Eastern Michigan, Oakland, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Iowa. Michigan has been receiving votes in the AVCA poll all season, and it was listed 31st last week. The Wolverines returned six starters from last year’s squad that was 20-12 and finished fifth in the Big Ten (12-8). Michigan beat Colorado in the opening round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Caliornia and ending up listed 33rd in the AVCA poll. Mark Rosen is in his sixth year at Michigan, where he has a 95-72 (.569) record. In 13 years as a collegiate head coach, he holds a 304-121 (.715) record. Michigan ranks 19th in Division I in hitting percentage (.287) this season and 23rd in blocking (3.00). Last year, the Wolverines were 14th in blocking (3.07), while MB Megan Bowman was 21st individually (1.47). Current senior S Lisa Gamalski was 50th in assists (12.39).
IRISH-WOLVERINES SERIES NOTES: The schools will meet for the fourth time in six years and 11th time overall … Notre Dame has won seven of the previous matches, including the most recent, a 3-1 victory in the Joyce Center in 2002 … this will be Notre Dame’s first trip to Ann Arbor since 2000 … the Irish have been victorious in three of their previous five trips to Michigan … the teams have played just one five-game match, an Irish victory (15-10 in the fifth) in Ann Arbor in 1996 … ND and Michigan first met in 1982, with the Wolverines prevailing 2-0 on their home floor … the Irish gained their first win over U-M in 1987 (3-0 in Ann Arbor), beginning a six-match winning streak … Michigan then won consecutive contests in 1999 and 2000 before the Irish captured the most-recent match … the Irish have won 22 of the 34 games … Debbie Brown holds a 29-21 career record against current members of the Big Ten Conference, including 24-20 at Notre Dame … Michigan has produced seven Irish volleyball players, ranking it behind only California (21), Indiana (18), Illinois (18), and Texas (9) … in a three-game win in 1993, Notre Dame’s Jenny Birkner had 10 kills and no errors on 12 attempts for an .833 hitting percentage, the third-highest in a three-game match in Irish history … current senior Emily Loomis had 15 kills on .406 hitting to go with six digs and four blocks vs. Michigan in 2002 … junior Lauren Brewster added six kills on .357 hitting and six blocks, while her classmate, Meg Henican, had 10 digs.
SCOUTING SYRACUSE: The Orange have been the hottest BIG EAST Conference team thus far in 2004, heading into this week with a 13-3 record. Syracuse will play host to Albany on Tuesday before welcoming the Irish. The Orange opened 9-0 before dropping a three-game decision to Denver. SU then lost to Northeastern (3-2) and Pennsylvania (3-1) last weekend. The Orange, picked to finish ninth in the BIG EAST, returned four starters from last year’s squad that finished 17-16 and ninth in the BIG EAST Conference (4-8). Head coach Jing Pu has led Syracuse for 10 seasons, compiling a 196-120 (.620) record. In 15 years overall as a collegiate head coach, he is 335-172 (.661). A key to the Orange’s success this season has been its defense, as Syracuse headed into last week allowing its opponents to hit just .122 (the best mark in the league). Junior RH/MB Kelly Duan also led the BIG EAST in service aces (20/0.56).
IRISH-ORANGE SERIES NOTES: The Irish and Orange will meet for the 10th consecutive season and 13th time overall … Syracuse won the first match between the schools, but Notre Dame has won each subsequent affair, including by 30-16, 30-26, 30-21 scores last season in the Joyce Center … after losing in four games at Syracuse in 1981, Notre Dame has been victorious in each of its last four visits, dropping just one game … the lone five-game affair between the schools came in the 1990 Rhode Island Invitational in Providence, with the Irish prevailing 16-14 for their first-ever win over Syracuse … the teams had met just twice prior to Notre Dame’s joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995 … the schools also played in the 1996 BIG EAST tournament, with the Irish winning in three games … Notre Dame has won 34 of the 41 games, including 30 of the 32 in the BIG EAST era and 11 in a row heading into this season … the Irish have registered 3-0 wins in each of the last three matches … New York has produced five Irish volleyball players, making it one of just six states to do so … in the first BIG EAST contest (10/20/95) between the teams, Notre Dame’s Angie Harris served up nine aces, which still stands as the top performance for an Irish player in any length match, even though she accomplished the feat in just three games … in 1996, the Irish made just one service error, which is tied for the fewest ever for a Notre Dame team in a match … the Irish won by 37 points in 2001 at the Joyce Center, which is tied for the third-largest margin of victory for Notre Dame in the 30-point format … junior Lauren Kelbley is averaging 2.50 kills and 2.17 blocks per game against Syracuse, including a .387 attack percentage … senior Emily Loomis is averaging 3.55 kills, 1.56 digs, and 1.33 blocks to go with a .306 hitting mark … junior Lauren Brewster has 2.33 kills, 1.83 blocks, and 0.50 aces per game vs. Syracuse … junior Meg Henican had 12 digs and six assists vs. the Orange in `03.
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 328-113 (.744) mark, while holding a 445-195 (.695) overall record. Brown’s Notre Dame teams have earned 12 consecutive NCAA tournament berths, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1993 and the round of 16 in `94, `95, and `97. Her squads have won 20 or more matches 12 times. A nine-time conference coach of the year (4 BIG EAST, 4 Midwestern Collegiate, 1 Pac-10), she has coached eight Irish players to All-America honors, while 32 have gained all-BIG EAST mention since 1995. The Irish also have claimed 12 regular-season conference titles (4 Midwestern Collegiate, 8 BIG EAST) and 11 league tournament crowns (4 MCC, 7 BIG EAST). A captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic volleyball team after winning a pair of national championships and earning All-America honors twice while playing at USC, Brown graduated from Arizona State in 1982 and coached her alma mater from 1983-88, helping the Sun Devils to five NCAA tournaments.
IRISH ON TV FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE MATCH, THIRD TIME IN A YEAR: Tuesday’s match between Notre Dame and Michigan will be televised by Comcast Sports in Detroit and shown on a tape-delayed basis. It will be the second time in as many matches that the Irish are featured on television, as the championship match of the Gamecock Invitational, in which South Carolina claimed a 3-1 victory, was shown nationally by College Sports Television (CSTV) as part of its “Sunday Night Spikes” national match-of-the-week package. This marks the third time in the last 18 matches that Notre Dame has been televised, as the Irish beat then-league rival Miami in three games late last season in a match that was part of CSTV’s inaugural “Sunday Night Spikes” series.
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.
Debbie Brown FIELDS THREE FRESHMEN IN STARTING LINEUP FOR FIRST TIME EVER: When an injury to junior captain Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) forced her switch to libero prior to the Cal Poly Invitational, head coach Debbie Brown replaced her in the starting lineup with freshman OH Ellen Heintzman (Lousville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy). She joined S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) to form the first trio of freshmen ever to be regular starters for a team led by Brown, who is in her 20th season as a head coach. At different times, the Irish mentor has started three rookies in a single match in order to get them experience (most recently current juniors MB Lauren Brewster, MB/OH Lauren Kelbley, and S Kelly Burrell against Loyola on Sept. 14, 2002), but this trio is the first to be among Notre Dame’s regular starters since the arrival of Brown in 1991.
BREWSTER WINS FOURTH BIG EAST PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK AWARD: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on Sept. 13 after helping Notre Dame go unbeaten to capture the championship of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational. Brewster, who was named the tournament’s MVP, notched three double-doubles in four matches during the week, ending with 60 kills, an average of 3.75 per game, on a .336 hitting percentage. She also averaged 1.62 blocks (3 BS, 23 BA) and 2.56 digs (41 total) per game and had 78.5 points (4.91 per game). In the mid-week match against Valparaiso, she was just two blocks shy of her first career triple-double, as she ended up with 18 kills, 13 digs, and eight blocks. Saturday’s evening match, vs. tournament host Cal Poly, saw the Brentwood, Tenn., native match her career best with a .684 hitting mark, registering 13 kills on 19 errorless swings to go with six blocks. Brewster ranked among the top four in four different categories in the Cal Poly Invitational leaders, coming in first in hitting percentage, second in blocks, and fourth in service aces and kills. She was the only non-outside hitter in the top six in kill average. The Brentwood High School graduate, who was named the BIG EAST’s top player three times during October of 2003, joins outside hitters Angie Harris (’98) and Christi Girton (’01) as the only Irish players ever to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Week four times during their careers.
BREWSTER TABBED CAL POLY INVITE MVP, KELBLEY ON ALL-TOURNEY TEAM: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was tabbed the tournament MVP for helping Notre Dame to the championship of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational, while fellow junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) gained mention on the all-tournament team. Brewster finished the three-match Cal Poly Invite with 42 kills, an average of 3.82 per game, on a tournament-high .372 hitting percentage. She also was in on 18 blocks (1.64 average) and scrambled for 28 digs (2.55), while serving up four aces (0.36). She was in the tournament leaders in four categories, ending up first in hitting percentage, second in blocks, fourth in kills (the only non-OH in the top six), and fifth in aces. Kelbley led all players in the event in both kill average (44/4.00) and ace average (7/0.64), while ranking behind only two of her teammates with a .265 hitting percentage. She also added 10 blocks (0.91). It was the second in-season tournament in a row that Brewster was tabbed the MVP, as she gained the same honor in last year’s Shamrock Invitational. Kelbley gained all-tournament honors for the fourth time in her career.
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.
DIG TO WIN: Notre Dame’s floor defense is a key indicator of its success. The Irish have won 21 consecutive matches (four in 2004) in which they have finished with more digs than the opponent. The last time Notre Dame lost when outdigging the opponent was Nov. 15, 2002, when the Irish finished with a 76-73 dig advantage at Miami, but lost in five games (15-7 in the fifth). In Notre Dame’s five victories this season, it owns a +2.53 dig average (18.11-15.58), while the Irish are being outdug by 2.06 per game (16.82-14.76) in their four defeats. It was a key factor in the Irish claiming the title at the Cal Poly-Best Western Invitational. Heading into that event, Notre Dame had been outdug in seven consecutive matches (dating back to 2003), but the Irish averaged 19.00 digs per game for the tournament, finishing each match with more digs than their opponents. A highlight of that was Notre Dame registering 80 digs in a three-game win over Sacramento State for an average of 26.67 per game. Leading the way was junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who had 26 — the second-highest total ever for an Irish player in a three-game affair.
SERVE IT UP: Notre Dame’s serving game has been extremely proficient early in 2004, as the Irish are averaging 1.92 service aces per game through the first nine matches. That average would rank as the second-best mark in Irish history and is a large improvement over last season’s average of 1.44. The Irish have 69 aces and 78 service errors for an ace-to-error ratio of 0.88, which also would be the second-best in program history. Only once this season has Notre Dame had fewer service aces than its opponent (Sept. 4 vs. Nebraska), and the Irish have hoad 10 or more aces on four occasions, including a 15-ace performance against South Carolina that tied the school record for aces in a four-game match.
IRISH MATCH FOUR-GAME SCHOOL RECORD WITH 15 ACES VS. GAMECOCKS: Despite losing, Notre Dame served up 15 aces against South Carolina in the title match of the Gamecock Invitational. That sum matched the school record for aces in a four-game match. Notre Dame previously posted 15 aces on Oct, 14, 1994 at Texas and on Sept. 9, 1995 against Kentucky in Bloomington, Ind. In addition to a team-leading six aces from Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), the Irish also got three aces from junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), and two each from freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.), sophomore DS Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.), and freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.). Notre Dame committed just eight service errors and finished with 26 aces (3.25 per game) and just 15 service errors in eight games of the tournament.
BREWSTER’S SIX ACES BEST FOR IRISH PLAYER SINCE 1995: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) turned in the best serving performance of her career against South Carolina in the championship match of the Gamecock Invitational. She finished with six service aces, including four on a single rotation in game three to set her career high for the second match in a row (4 vs. Michigan State on Sept. 17). Her performance marked the best serving performance by an Irish player since Angie Harris had a school-record nine aces on Oct. 20, 1995, against Syracuse. Brewster’s total – which was further accentuated by her having only one service error – is tied for the second-highest mark ever by an Irish player in a four-game match. In the two matches of the Gamecock Invitational, she had 10 aces and only one error.
BREWSTER POSTS MATCH HIGHS IN FIVE CATEGORIES IN LEADING ND OVER MICHIGAN STATE: Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) had one of the best all-around performances of her career, leading all players in the match in five different statistical categories in helping Notre Dame to its first win against Michigan State since 1994 on Sept. 17 in the Gamecock Invitational. Brewster had match highs in kills (17), hitting percentage (.500), service aces (4), blocks (4), and points (23). She made just two attack errors and no service errors in setting a career high for service aces. Brewster also was third on the Irish with nine digs.
IRISH JUST MISS BIGGEST UPSET IN SCHOOL HISTORY: On Sept. 4, Notre Dame took a two-games-to-one lead against #2 Nebraska, but could not hold on, eventually losing 15-10 in the fifth game. The Huskers would have been the highest-ranked team ever to lose to the Irish, but their 1993 squad still holds that distinction, as Notre Dame upset #3 Nebraska in four games in the Golden Dome Invitational in the Joyce Center. Nonetheless, the five-game loss marked a significant improvement for the Irish against the nation’s very best teams. Only once in 11 previous contests against squads ranked #1 or #2 had Notre Dame managed to win a game — in a four-game loss to #2 Florida in 1997 in the Joyce Center.
IRISH IN MIDST OF LONGEST MIDSEASON ROAD TRIP IN SCHOOL HISTORY: This week continues a 10-match road swing in which Notre Dame will not play in the Joyce Center for 36 days, until an Oct. 13 match against Illinois State. It is the longest midseason road trip in the 25-year history of the program, in terms of both consecutive matches away from home and time between home tilts.
NOTRE DAME OPPONENTS EXCELLING IN 2004: Notre Dame’s opponents have been finding considerable success during the first month of the 2004 season, as eight were either ranked or receiving votes in last week’s AVCA poll and just three of 26 headed into this week with a losing record. In particular the four teams that have defeated the Irish — Nebraska twice, Valparaiso, and South Carolina — have combined for a 37-8 (.822) record thus far this season.
HENICAN JUST MISSES SCHOOL RECORD WITH 26 DIGS vs. SACRAMENTO STATE: Junior captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) registered a career-high 26 digs in a three-game win over Sacramento State on Sept. 11. It was the second-highest dig total for an Irish player in a three-game match in school history, trailing only the 28 by Jessica Kinder in last year’s win against Valparaiso on Sept. 9 in the Joyce Center. Henican was playing libero for the first time this season in the Cal Poly Invitational, and she responded by averaging 5.91 digs per game over three matches.
STASIUK ONE ASSIST SHY OF TRIPLE-DOUBLE vs. VALPO: Rookie OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) nearly registered a triple-double on Sept. 7 in the five-game match against Valparaiso. She finished with a season-high 16 kills (on .342 hitting) to go with 15 digs and nine assists in Notre Dame’s loss to the Crusaders. Stasiuk also had a pair of service aces and was in on five blocks for a total of 21.5 points. She has started every match for the Irish in `04 and ranks among the team’s top three in every statistical category.
TARUTIS TURNS IN TERRIFIC TOTALS: Freshman S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) made her first start on Sept. 4 vs. #2 Nebraska — after playing only in the back row in the first two matches of the season — and responded by nearly leading Notre Dame to its biggest victory (in terms of national rankings) in the program’s history. She helped the Irish to hitting percentages over .425 in two games, as well as a .244 mark for the match. Tarutis finished with 51 assists and 14 digs, as well as six kills on .357 hitting. Her assist total was the most for an Irish freshman in a match since Denise Boylan had 73 on Dec. 13, 1997, against Wisconsin in the round of 16 of the NCAA Championship. Tarutis’ six kills were the most for a Notre Dame freshman setter since Shannon Tuttle notched six against Bowling Green on Oct. 13, 1992.
FIVE HIT DOUBLE FIGURES IN KILLS vs. FRESNO STATE: Notre Dame’s five-game win over Fresno State on Sept. 10 in the opening match of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational saw the Irish put five players in double figures in kills for the first time in nearly two years. Junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) led the Irish with 17 kills, while freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) had 15, junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) added 14, senior MB Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) had 12, and rookie OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) registered 10 in her first career start. It was the first time five Notre Dame players had 10+ kills in a match since Sept. 14, 2002, in a five-game win against #10 Pepperdine in the final of the Golden Dome Invitational at the Joyce Center. Loomis, Brewster, and Kelbley also were part of that effort.
IRISH HOLD CAL POLY TO .044 HITTING: Notre Dame’s defense held Cal Poly to just 32 kills and 27 errors for an .044 hitting percentage on Sept. 11. The mark was the lowest for an Irish opponent since Syracuse had 32 kills and 33 errors for a -.008 attack percentage on Nov. 2 of last season. The Mustangs troubles, which were accentuated by 12 Notre Dame blocks and 47 Irish digs, hit a nadir in the third game, as Cal Poly managed just seven kills, while making 13 attack errors for a -.162 mark.
LET’S PLAY FIVE … AGAIN: For just the second time in the 25-year history of the program, Notre Dame played three consecutive five-game affairs earlier this month. The Irish lost to #2 Nebraska in the Joyce Center on Sept. 4 (15-11 in the fifth) and then, four days later, fell 15-12 in the fifth to Valparaiso. On Sept. 10, Notre Dame defeated Fresno State (15-12 in the fifth) in the opening match of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational. The only previous streak of three straight five-game matches came from Nov. 16-24, 1991.
HOME, SWEET HOME: Notre Dame’s Joyce Center has become one of the most difficult places in the nation for road teams to win, especially since the arrival of head coach Debbie Brown in 1991. Over the last 13 years, Notre Dame has posted a 160-26 (.860) home record. The Irish have pieced together a variety of impressive winning streaks on their home floor, winning 14 or more in a row on five different occasions, highlighted by 27 consecutive home wins from 1993-95 and a program-best 36-match winning streak from 2000-02. Notre Dame currently has won 72 consecutive regular-season conference matches (56-0 vs. the BIG EAST) in the Joyce Center, with its last defeat coming in 1990. The Irish, who have topped 13 ranked teams – including four top-10 squads – at home, also hold a 153-7 (.956) record against unranked teams in the Joyce Center, including a 52-match winning streak (1998-2002).
THREE RECENT NATIONAL CHAMPIONS, A DOZEN ’03 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS HIGHLIGHT 2004 SCHEDULE: A dozen teams earning berths to last year’s NCAA Championship and a trio of teams that have combined to win six of the last 11 national titles highlight the 2004 schedule. Notre Dame was scheduled to take on three of the last five teams to win national championships. After consecutive home dates against Nebraska (national champions in 1995 and 2000) earlier this month, the Irish were supposed to face two-time defending NCAA champion USC, where Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown was a standout outside hitter, in the Gamecock Invitational, but the Women of Troy pulled out of the tournament due to weather concerns. Three-time national champ (1989, ’93, ’98) Long Beach State will play host to the Irish on Nov. 27. Twelve of Notre Dame’s 17 non-conference matches will be against NCAA participants from a year ago, including half of the 16 road matches.
PRESEASON BIG EAST FAVORITES: For the 10th consecutive season, Notre Dame is the favorite in the BIG EAST Conference. The Irish, who have captured eight regular-season and seven tournament crowns in their nine years in the league, garnered nine first-place votes and were chosen as the favorite in the preseason volleyball poll of conference head coaches. Pittsburgh, which beat the Irish in last year’s BIG EAST final after the teams shared the regular-season crown, gained two first-place votes and was picked second. The teams will meet in the Joyce Center on Nov. 12 in a match slated to take place before the football pep rally for the matchup between the schools on the gridiron the following day. For the first time since the debut of the preseason all-BIG EAST team in 1998, one school placed three players on it. Notre Dame senior OH/MB/OPP Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) and juniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and MB/OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) were tabbed after the younger two were first-team all-league honorees in `03 and Loomis was on the second team after being a first-team selection in `02.
IRISH ONE OF JUST TWO DIVISION I TEAMS RETURNING THREE ALL-REGION PLAYERS: Back for Notre Dame in 2004 are three players – senior OH/MB/OPP Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and junior MB/OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) – who were tabbed all-Northeast Region and honorable mention All-America by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) last season. The Irish are one of only a pair of Division I squads (also two-time defending NCAA champion USC) to have three players back who earned all-region accolades from the AVCA in 2003.
BREWSTER, IRISH LOOK TO REPEAT AS NCAA BLOCKING CHAMPS: In 2003, Notre Dame won its first two NCAA statistical championships, as the Irish were the top blocking squad in Division I with an average of 3.72 per game (second-place Cornell averaged only 3.52), while then-sophomore MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) led the nation in individual blocking (1.78 per game). The core of Notre Dame’s blocking unit returns for the ’04 season, with Brewster, junior MB/OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), and senior OH/MB/OPP Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) back in the fold. Gone is OPP Katie Neff, who was third on the Irish in blocking in both 2002 and ’03. That quartet holds the distinction of being the only foursome in Notre Dame history to post 100 blocks apiece in the same season, a feat it accomplished in both of the last two campaigns.
CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has experienced unprecedented success in the nine years since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995. The Irish have compiled a 98-5 (.951) regular-season mark, highlighted by eight titles and winning streaks of 45 and 35 consecutive matches. Notre Dame is 56-0 in BIG EAST regular-season matches in the Joyce Center, and the Irish have won seven BIG EAST tournament championships, posting a 17-2 mark in the event and reaching the final every year. Notre Dame also has dominated the conference awards, winning player-of-the-year honors six times and the coach-of-the-year award on four occasions. In seven instances, Irish players have been named the league tournament’s most outstanding player. Also, Notre Dame student-athletes have garnered 32 all-conference accolades, including 20 first-team honors, which account for more than one-third of the first-team selections during the span.
SEVEN-MATCH SCHEDULE SET FOR www.und.com INTERNET AUDIO: Notre Dame’s official athletic website, www.und.com, will feature six internet audio broadcasts of Irish matches this season, available to subscribers of College Sports Pass. Former Bethel College volleyball coach Dr. Lorne Oke returns to call the action, and he will be joined again by Stephen Hinkel, in his second season of Irish volleyball. The schedule continues on Tuesday vs. Michigan (7 p.m./6 p.m. in South Bend) and then features matches on Oct. 13 vs. Illinois State (7 p.m.), Nov. 5 vs. Connecticut (7 p.m.), Nov. 12 vs. Pittsburgh (4 p.m.), and Nov. 16 vs. Northern Iowa (7 p.m.). For more information about College Sports Pass, see www.und.com.
KEEPING UP WITH ND VOLLEYBALL: For the fastest results of Notre Dame volleyball matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #5 and #1. The hotline provides schedules and result information for all Irish varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the match recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletics website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with results of each Notre Dame volleyball match. Once again, www.und.com will be the best place for in-depth coverage of Irish volleyball. Live scoring of all home matches, as well as live internet broadcasts of six contests supplement the regular match previews and recaps. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting assistant sports information director Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.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.