Sept. 13, 2004
Junior middle blocker Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on Monday after helping Notre Dame go unbeaten to capture the championship of the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational last weekend. Brewster, who was named the tournament’s MVP, gained the honor for the fourth time in less than a year.
Brewster notched three double-doubles in four matches last 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 Tuesday’s five-game 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. Brewster had 14 kills, 13 digs, seven blocks, and three service aces in the 3-2 win over Fresno State on Friday and followed that up with 15 kills on .323 hitting to go with 11 digs and five blocks vs. Sacramento State. 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.
It was the best digging week of Brewster’s career, as her previous high in the category had been nine, but she bettered that number on three consecutive occasions.
Brewster, named first-team all-BIG EAST and AVCA honorable mention All-America in 2003, ranked among the top four in four different categories in the Cal Poly Invitational leaders, coming in first in hitting percentage (.372), second in blocks (1.64), and fourth in service aces (0.36) and kills (3.82). She was the only non-outside hitter in the top six in kill average.
On the season, Brewster is averaging 1.57 blocks per game, the second-best mark in the BIG EAST Conference. She has won the league’s blocking crown in each of the last two seasons, and, in 2003, Brewster led NCAA Division I in individual blocking (1.78 per game). She is a major reason the Irish are leading the BIG EAST in team blocking (3.16) after being tops in the nation a year ago.
In addition to being the team leader in blocking, Brewster is second on the Irish in three categories: attack percentage (.264), kills (93/3.32), and points (126.5/4.52). Her point average ranks sixth in the BIG EAST.
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 also was the league’s top rookie once in 2002.
Villanova freshman Stephanie Olsen was tabbed rookie of the week by the conference on Monday.
Brewster and Notre Dame have a difficult weekend on the horizon, as the Irish head to Columbia, S.C., for the Gamecock Invitational. Notre Dame will take on Michigan State on Friday at 5 p.m. (EDT) before facing #2 Southern California Saturday at 3 p.m. and the tournament host, South Carolina, at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The match with the Gamecocks will be televised by College Sports Television (CSTV) at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. in South Bend).