Oct. 10, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame volleyball team (13-2, 5-0) won its sixth consecutive match Friday evening with a sweep (30-22, 30-14, 30-25) of Seton Hall (14-7, 0-4). The Irish, who turned in their best offensive match in nearly two years, will be back in action on Sunday at 2 p.m. (EST) against Rutgers in the Joyce Center.
Senior S Kristen Kinder (Fresno, Calif./Bullard H.S.) set Notre Dame to 55 kills and just 11 errors on 101 attack attempts for a .436 hitting percentage. It was the best hitting match for the Irish since Nov. 4, 2001 at Pittsburgh, when Notre Dame hit .495. Kinder had assists on 40 of the kills, while also registering a season-high five of her own on six attempts.
Sophomore MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) continued her torrid hitting, posting a team-best 13 kills and no errors on 19 swings for a career-high .684 attack percentage. It is the second consecutive match she set a career high in hitting, after finishing with a .593 mark last Sunday at Connecticut. Over the last two matches, she has 30 kills and just one error on 46 attempts for a .630 hitting percentage. Brewster, who led all players with 17.5 points, is hitting .442 in conference matches (64 kills, 11 errors, 120 attempts).
Also hitting well in the middle was sophomore MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), who had 11 kills on .529 hitting. Junior OPP/OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) had 12 kills, extending her school-record streak of consecutive matches with 10+ kills to 21. Senior OPP Katie Neff (St. Louis, Mo./Cor Jesu Academy) delivered eight kills on .312 hitting.
Notre Dame, which ranked second nationally in block average heading into the game, had 12.5 blocks to up its season average to 3.47 per game (198 blocks, 57 games). Stanford, the national leader, was averaging 3.55 heading into its match at California on Friday. The Irish were led by Brewster, who was in on seven of the blocks. She leads the BIG EAST and entered the weekend sixth in Division I with an average of 1.61. Neff was in on five blocks, while Loomis took part in four.
The Irish floor game was led by sophomore L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who had 12 digs. She has led Notre Dame in digs 10 times this season and has had a dozen or more in nine of the last 10 matches.
Seton Hall started out fast, getting five early kills en route to taking an 8-3 lead in the opening game. The Irish bounced back to tie the match 11-11, and went on a 14-6 run to end the game after it was tied 16-16. Notre Dame hit .441 in the frame, paced by six kills from Kelbley.
Notre Dame took control early in the second game, winning seven of the first 10 points en route to matching its largest margin of victory in a game this season, 16.
After a slow start to open the match, the Irish put together an incredible streak of 62 points in a row without committing a hitting error. After an attack error to fall behind 8-3 in the first game, Notre Dame did not make an error until Kristen Kinder was called for a net violation on a tip attempt with the Irish leading 14-7 in game two, collecting 26 kills along the way.
In the second game, the Irish had 19 kills and two errors on 30 swings for a .567 hitting percentage. It was the best game hitting percentage since October 5, 2002, when Notre Dame hit .571 (14 kills, 2 errors, 21 attempts) in game one of a three-game sweep. Brewster led the charge with six kills on eight attempts.
Game three was close early, with the Pirates leading 11-10 before Notre Dame went on a 7-2 run to take advantage, eventually securing a five-point win to secure the match. Loomis had seven kills in the game.
The Irish improved to 9-0 all-time against Seton Hall, having won all 27 games played in the series.
Notre Dame is the only team with a 5-0 BIG EAST record and one of just three unbeaten squads. Miami and Pittsburgh are both 4-0. The Hurricanes and Panthers are two of the final three conference opponents for the Irish. Notre Dame and Miami will play on November 9 at 6 p.m. (EST) in the Joyce Center, a match televised nationally by College Sports Television. The Irish and Pittsburgh will play on November 16 at 2 p.m. (EDT) in Pittsburgh in the regular-season finale.