Dec. 16, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame volleyball coach Debbie Brown recently announced the signing of three incoming freshmen for the 2004 season. OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart H.S.), OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.), and S Ashley Tarutis (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) have signed national letters of intent to enroll at Notre Dame next year and join the Irish volleyball team. All three were ranked among the top 90 high school seniors in the country by PrepVolleyball.com.
“We’re really excited about what these three student-athletes will bring to our program,” said Brown. “They bring a lot of competitive spirit, as well as good athleticism and quickness. Plus, they all really love to play the game.”
Heintzman, a 5-11 outside hitter, led Sacred Heart High School in Louisville to its first-ever Kentucky state championship this fall. Her Valkyries finished 37-5 and were ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, knocking off eight-time defending state champion Assumption High School en route to the state crown. Heintzman, the MVP of the state tournament, moved from middle blocker to the left side prior to her junior season and immediately earned first-team all-state honors.
“Ellen is a very strong all-around player,” said Brown. “The players from KIVA, her club team, are known for their competitive nature because of the way they fight and play really hard. She typifies that. Ellen has a great arm and can hit a lot of different shots. She used to play in the middle, but then made the move to the outside, but she is also very good on the right side. She will fit in perfectly with our team because of her ability to play several positions.”
In addition to competing for the Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Academy club, Heintzman also was a tennis standout in high school, reaching the third round of the Kentucky state doubles tournament as a sophomore and the quarterfinals a year ago. She was the top-rated player from Kentucky in the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces rankings and 54th overall.
Stasiuk, a 5-11 opposite, helped Maine South High School to a third-place finish in this fall’s Illinois state tournament. A four-year starter and three-time team MVP, she set a school record with 1,293 career kills. Stasiuk was an all-conference selection in each of her final three seasons and earned first-team all-state honors from the Chicago Tribune this fall. She also earned all-area honors from Pioneer Press three times and was its player of the year in ’03.
“Adrianna is a very dynamic athlete,” said Brown. “She is incredibly quick and jumps well. She has a great arm and excellent passing skills. Adrianna is someone who will be fun to watch. She has a good jump serve and will bring depth at outside hitter for us. She is a versatile player, who also has played middle and on the right side.”
Stasiuk had a great deal of success with the Sports Performance Volleyball Club, one of the top teams in the nation that also produced former Irish standouts Jenny Birkner (’96) and Denise Boylan (’00). Stasiuk, a three-time AAU All-American, was the national MVP in 2001 and has won national titles in each of the last four years with Sports Performance (2000-14 club, 2001-AAU, 2002-AAU, 2003-USVB 18 open). She also was the AAU Beach Central Zone Champion this year and won the bronze medal at the National Beach Championship. Stasiuk was ranked 42nd by PrepVolleyball.com.
Tarutis, a 5-8 setter, also led her high school, Los Alamitos, to its first-ever state championship earlier this month. Among her many accolades, Tarutis earned mention on the junior Olympic All-America team and the California Division 1 all-tournament team. In addition, she was the 2003 prep national tournament MVP and a three-time all-CIF Southern Section honoree.
“Ashley’s court personality, the way she leads her team, is outstanding,” said Brown. “In club volleyball last year, she played up a level, on an 18-year-old team. She may have been the lone junior on her team, but she was clearly its leader. Ashley is an excellent setter. She also has a great jump float serve and is a good defensive player. She has a strong all-around game.”
A product of the Golden West Volleyball Club, Tarutis also has been tabbed for first-team all-area honors by a number of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and Long Beach Press Telegram She also helped her team to a CIF Southern Section crown in each of the last two seasons and was a first-team all-Sunset League honoree three times. Tarutis was 88th in the PrepVolleyball.com rankings, including third among setters from California.