Sept. 6, 2003
AUSTIN, Texas – The 21st-ranked University of Notre Dame volleyball team (4-1) claimed the championship of the Longhorn Classic with a victory over host Texas (2-3) in straight games (30-20, 36-34, 30-24) on Saturday evening. Irish junior OPP/OH Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) and sophomore MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) were both named to the all-tournament team, with Kelbley also earning the tournament’s MVP award.
Loomis led all hitters in the match with 15 kills, while making just two errors for a .394 attack percentage. Kelbley had eight kills on 17 attempts, while making just one error, for a .412 hitting percentage. Both players also were outstanding on Friday vs. Houston in the opening match of the Longhorn Classic. In that contest, Kelbley registered a career high 22 kills on .526 hitting, while Loomis had 13 with a .375 attack percentage.
Senior OPP Katie Neff (St. Louis, Mo./Cor Jesu Academy) and sophomore MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) delivered 10 kills each against the Longhorns.
Defensively, Notre Dame blocked well for the second match in a row, finishing with 13 blocks. Brewster and Kelbley were each in on six of those, while Loomis and Neff took part in five each.
Sophomore S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier Preparatory School) paced the floor game with a career-high 11 digs, while senior OH Jessica Kinder (Fresno, Calif./Bullard H.S.) added 10.
The Irish started out playing well, jumping out to a 13-5 lead and never looking back in the first game on the way to a 10-point victory. Loomis led the way with five kills and no errors on seven attack attempts, while Brewster also had five kills. Burrell and senior S Kristen Kinder (Fresno, Calif./Bullard H.S.) led the offense to a .385 hitting mark in the opening frame.
Game two was much tighter, with the teams trading points throughout it, finding themselves tied on 24 different occasions. No team held more than a three-point advantage throughout the game. After saving four game points, the Irish finally converted on their third try at ending the game, with Loomis and Henican slamming kills to break a 34-34 tie.
After having never scored more than 35 points in a game prior to this season, the Irish have accomplished that feat twice in just over a week. Last Saturday, Notre Dame outlasted Eastern Washington 37-35 in the opening game of a 3-1 victory, setting an Irish record for points in a game.
The Irish jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the final game and continued on to clinch their first straight-game victory in 11 matches, dating back to a 3-0 win at Syracuse on Nov. 9, 2002.
After opening the season with five consecutive road matches, the Irish will come home for a seven-match homestand, beginning Tuesday at 7 p.m. (EST) vs. Valparaiso.