Junior Adrianna Stasiuk had 11 kills and 10 digs in the Irish 3-1 victory over the Vandals

Notre Dame Is The Preseason Favorite To Win The BIG EAST Conference

Aug. 9, 2006

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Notre Dame’s volleyball team, coming off a season in which it advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament and won 30 games for the first time since 1994, have been selected by the league’s head coaches to win the 2006 BIG EAST Conference volleyball regular season crown for the 11th time in 12 seasons the league office announced this afternoon, August 9.

Notre Dame, which received eight first-place votes, is looking to defend its 2005 Co-BIG EAST Conference regular season title. Despite the loss of five seniors to graduation, including American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American Second Team member Lauren Brewster and AVCA honorable mention Lauren Kelbley, Notre Dame still returns plenty of talent. This season, head coach Debbie Brown, the 2005 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, welcomes back three starters from her team that won the BIG EAST Championship and posted a record of 30-4.

Among the returning starters for the Irish are juniors Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) and Ashley Tarutis (Los Angeles, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.), who were both also named to the 2006 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team.

Stasiuk is coming off a season where she was an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention, All-BIG EAST Second Team and was selected as the 2005 BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player. Tarutis resume is also outstanding, as she was named All-BIG EAST Second Team while leading the conference and ranking 32nd in assists per game at 12.69 in 2005. She also set the all-time record for assists in a single season at Notre Dame with 1,573.

Since joining the BIG EAST in 1995, Notre Dame has consistently been among the top programs nationally. The Irish are one of only eight team to have been to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 14 seasons and have compiled an impressive 120-7 record in the regular season against BIG EAST competition. Further, Notre Dame has been crowned the BIG EAST tournament champion nine times while posting a record of 22-2 in tournament play.

Louisville, the regular-season co-champions and tournament runner-up in 2005, finished second as they received six first-place votes and compiled 180 points in the poll. Louisville returns three starters from last team that went 31-3 including the 2006 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year, Anastasia Yartseva-Stewart. Notre Dame will travel to Louisville to take on the Cardinals. on Oct. 29.

Cincinnati came in third with one first place vote and 162 points overall. The Bearcats went 21-12 a year ago including a mark of 9-5 in conference play. The Irish will be at Cincinnati on Oct. 28. St. John’s (which ND will play on home on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.) and Pittsburgh (home, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.) were picked fourth and fifth, respectively. Both teams went 9-5 in conference play a year ago to tie for fourth place in the regular season.

Notre Dame will begin BIG EAST Conference action by playing traveling to Rutgers (picked to finish 10th) on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 12 p.m. (EST/CDT). The Fighting Irish will start the home portion of the BIG EAST schedule on Friday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. (EST/CDT) against Marquette (picked to finish 6th). The top eight teams, based on regular-season standings, will qualify for the BIG EAST Championship, which takes place in the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati from Nov. 17-19. The title match – which has featured Notre Dame in each of the last 11 years – will be televised by College Sports Television (CSTV).

This year’s Notre Dame squad returns three starters and eight Monogram winners from last year’s team that was 30-4, won the BIG EAST regular-season and tournament championships, and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAAs, and ending up listed 12th in the AVCA poll.

Tickets for all 2006 Irish home matches are available via the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356 and can be purchased online at und.com.

Once again, Notre Dame’s official athletic website will be the ideal place to follow Irish volleyball when fans are unable to be at the Joyce Center. Live scoring through CSTV’s GameTracker for all home contests, as well as live audio broadcasts of selected matches will be available at und.com, in addition to previews and reviews of all matches and other press releases.

2006 BIG EAST Conference Volleyball Preseason Poll

2005 Records
School Pts. BIG EAST Finish Overall
1. Notre Dame (8) 188 13-1 T-1st 30-4
2. Louisville (6) 180 13-1 T-1st 31-3
3. Cincinnati (1) 162 9-5 T-4th 20-12
4. St. John’s 143 9-5 T-4th 23-9
5. Pittsburgh 142 9-5 T-4th 17-13
6. Marquette 134 8-6 T-7th 17-13
7. Villanova 117 8-6 T-7th 21-11
8. Syracuse 104 11-3 3rd 25-10
9. Connecticut 92 7-7 9th 15-13
10. Rutgers 84 6-8 10th 11-16
11. Georgetown 70 2-12 13th 6-22
12. West Virginia 53 4-10 T-11th 16-13
13. USF 50 1-13 T-14th 4-22
14. Seton Hall 37 4-10 T-11th 14-16
15. DePaul 19 1-13 T-14th 4-23

Notes: First-place votes in parentheses.

2006 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Awards
Player of the Year
Anastasia Yartseva-Stewart, Sr., OH, Louisville

Diana Andreyko, Jr., OH, Pittsburgh*
Jenny Custer, Jr., OH/S, Cincinnati
Hui Ping Huang, So., MB, St. John’s
Jamie Mueller, Sr., OH, Marquette
Jessie Nevitt, R-So., MB, Cincinnati*
Noel Olsen, Sr., S, Cincinnati
Kacey Sellers, Jr., OH, Villanova
Adrianna Stasiuk, Jr., OH, Notre Dame
Ashley Tarutis, Jr., S. Notre Dame
Kimberly Todd, Jr., OH, Marquette*
Lora Yankauskas, Sr., OH/RS, Rutgers
Anastasia Yartseva-Stewart, Sr., OH, Louisville

Notes: * – indicates unanimous selection

— ND —