Oct. 25, 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 to a pair of victories last week, 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 last 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).
Her performance last Tuesday in Salt Lake City was further accentuated by the fact that she did it against a strong Utah defense that came into the match ranked eighth in the nation in blocking and holding opponents to just .129 hitting. It took her only 30 swings to notch 18 kills in the contest, and she added seven digs and a match-high 20 points in helping Notre Dame sweep a ranked opponent on its home floor for just the second time in school history. The match also marked Utah’s first home loss in more than a year.
The following night saw Brewster lead the Irish in kills again, finishing with 14 in a 3-2 loss at Brigham Young. She notched her sixth double-double of the season and the 12th of her career, ending up with 11 digs, while adding three blocks and an ace for a total of 17 points.
On Sunday, Brewster slammed a match-high 12 kills on .435 hitting in helping the Irish to a three-game sweep of St. John’s in front of 2,086 fans in Notre Dame’s BIG EAST home opener. She also took part in six of the 10 Irish blocks to finish with a match-best 15.5 points, while adding four digs.
On the season, Brewster is averaging 1.41 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 rank 12th in Division I in blocking – and first in the BIG EAST – (3.15) after being tops in the nation a year ago.
Brewster, named first-team all-BIG EAST and AVCA honorable mention All-America in 2003, is Notre Dame’s team leader in attack percentage (.323), points (310.5/4.70), and blocks, while she ranks second in kills (236/3.58), third in service aces (20/0.30) and service ace-to-error ratio (20 SA, 24 SE, 0.83), and fourth in digs (137/2.08). The 2002 Brentwood High School graduate currently has had 11 or more kills in 15 consecutive matches, which is the fourth-longest streak of double-digit-kill performances in school history.
Brewster, who was named the BIG EAST’s top player on Sept. 13 in addition to three times during October of 2003, joins outside hitter Angie Harris (’98) as the only Irish players ever to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Week five times during their careers. Brewster also was the league’s top rookie once in 2002.
For the second year in a row, the former “Fab 40” standout for Impact Volleyball Club has established herself as one of the frontrunners for BIG EAST Player of the Year. She is 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, and is the only player that ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in four different categories: blocks (2nd), points (4th), hitting percentage (6th), and kills (10th). In conference matches, Brewster is tops in the league in hitting (.387) and ranks third in blocks (1.62), and seventh in points (4.92).
Syracuse freshman middle blocker Jen Malcolm was tabbed rookie of the week by the conference on Monday.
Brewster and Notre Dame, who have won 10 of their last 13 matches and are receiving votes and listed 31st in this week’s USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll, will return to action this weekend with a BIG EAST road swing. The Irish, who are 11-6 overall and in a three-way tie atop the league standings with a 4-0 mark, will be at Georgetown on Saturday for a 2 p.m. (EDT) match and at Villanova on Sunday for a 1 p.m. (EST) tilt.