Sept. 3, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior middle blocker Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./ Brentwood H.S.), a 2004 All-American and the '05 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year, had 18 kills and 12 blocks - including four kills and two blocks in the final game - to lead the University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team (2-0) to a 30-21, 31-29, 28-30, 22-30, 15-10 upset of 11th-ranked Texas Saturday in the Joyce Center in The Inn at Saint Mary's Shamrock Invitational. The match will be shown on College Sports Television on Sunday at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., Monday at 11 a.m., and Tuesday at 2:30 a.m. (all times central). The Irish will look to claim the tournament title for the fifth consecutive time on Sunday when they play host to Arizona State at 2 p.m. (EST/CDT). Live internet audio will be available via und.com.
After winning the opening two games, Notre Dame watched the Longhorns pull out a close third game and then easily send the match to a decisive game. It was tight early, and UT edged ahead 8-6 before senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) incited a run of eight consecutive points by the Irish that would prove to be the difference. Brewster broke the game's fifth tie to make it 9-8, and she and Cooper then combined for back-to-back blocks against junior OH Dariam Acevedo following a Texas timeout. Another Brewster kill and two Longhorn errors put the Irish within a point of victory, all on a run keyed by the strong serving of senior OH/MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), who notched a match-high two aces and boasts 0.68 per game on the young season. Brewster finally ended the match on Notre Dame's third match point with a crosscourt rollshot. She had four of the five Irish kills in the game and was in on two of the three blocks that helped hold UT to -.033 hitting (5 kills, 6 errors, 30 attempts).
The victory came from a Notre Dame team that played with two starters - sophomores OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) and OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) - sidelined due to injury.
The Irish have now upset a top-15 squad in each of the last four seasons, having topped #10 Pepperdine in 2002, #10 Arizona in '03, and #14 Utah a season ago. Texas was the highest-ranked team to fall victim to the Irish since the '03 Wildcats, as well as the highest-ranked team to leave the Joyce Center with a defeat since the '02 Waves. Saturday marked the fourth time in Irish history that an unranked Notre Dame squad upset at top-11 team.
Notre Dame's block, which has been among the top five in Division I in each of the last four seasons, was a big factor in determining the match. The Irish finished with 20 blocks and held Texas to a .177 hitting percentage. Brewster took part in 60% of her team's blocks, falling just one shy of her career highs in both solo blocks (had 3) and total blocks. It marked the 15th time the All-American has had 10 or more blocks in a match during her career. It also was the 18th career double-double for Brewster (who is averaging 2.25 blocks per game this season), and she led all players with 25.5 points. Cooper matched her career high with 10 blocks (a total she also had vs. Illinois State in 2004), while senior OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) set a career-best mark with six blocks (also notching a pair of block solos for the first time as a collegian). Kelbley was in on three blocks.
Freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.), the 2003 California state player of the year and a Fab 50 selection by Volleyball magazine last year, turned in a big-time performance in her first collegiate start, finishing with 15 kills and 10 digs to go with a solo block. She also was the second-favorite weapon of Irish sophomore Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.), who only set Brewster (49 attempts) more times than Croal (37).
Kelbley added 10 kills, while Cooper pounded nine on a team-high .364 attack percentage, and Henican had seven. Tarutis' offense hit .166, and she finished with 51 assists. In three career matches playing the entire time, she now has wins vs. Michigan and #11 Texas and a five-game defeat against #2 Nebraska.
Trouble at the service line for Texas was another key factor, as the Longhorns made 18 service errors in the match and registered just two aces. Notre Dame's serve-receiving unit - keyed by Henican, junior L Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.), Croal, and freshman DS Madison Clark (Sturgis, Mich./Sturgis H.S.) - has now surrendered just three aces thus far this season, an average of only 0.38 per game.
Herndon matched her career high in digs, finishing with 20 and snapping a streak of 11 consecutive matches in which Henican had held team honors in the category. Henican, with 13 digs, did extend her streak of consecutive matches with 10 or more digs to 30, and it now extends over exactly one calendar year. Tarutis checked in with 10 digs for her 14th career double-double.
Texas finished with advantages in every statistical category other than serving and blocking. The Longhorns had 15 more kills (75-60) and a dozen more assists (68-56) than Notre Dame and also held a slim advantage in hitting percentage (.177-.166) and a nine-dig edge (77-68) in that area.
UT was led by junior MB Brandy Magee, who had 19 kills on match-high .516 hitting to go with eight digs and eight blocks for 24.5 points. Freshman MB/OH Lauren Paolini also had 19 kills, as well as 13 digs and five blocks. Acevedo registered 16 kills and 19 digs, while sophomore setter Michelle Moriarty piled up 66 assists and sophomore libero Alyson Jennings had 20 digs.
Notre Dame has defeated Texas in both of the last two matchups between the schools after previously having dropped seven of eight. The Irish won in three games in 2003 in Austin.
Notre Dame came out firing at the start of the match, dominating the opening game. ND never trailed and went ahead by as many as 10 en route to taking the opening game. Croal, Kelbley, and Brewster had four kills apiece in the frame, and the Irish hit over .400 for much of the frame, while UT ended at just .081 (11 kills, 8 errors, 37 attempts).
The second game was tight, featuring 10 ties and four lead changes before Notre Dame prevailed. An Irish service error at 28-28 gave UT a game point, but the Longhorns returned the favor to make it 29-29. An error by Texas was followed by a solo block by Brewster on Acevedo on game point to give the Irish a 2-0 advantage heading into the locker room. Croal had five kills in the game, which also featured seven ND blocks.
Game three was similar, again featuring four lead changes, as well as nine ties. The Irish went up 26-25 and looked poised to end the match in three, but UT rallied and then broke a 27-27 tie with kills from Magee and Paolini. After a Kelbley kill, Paolini ended the match with another kill. The `Horns had 23 kills on .390 hitting in the game, including six each from Paolini and Acevedo. Moriarty notched 21 assists.
The momentum carried over the fourth game, which Texas dominated. The Longhorns went up 7-2 early and never looked back, holding Notre Dame to 11 kills and .050 hitting.
Notre Dame improved to 26-4 all-time in the Shamrock Invitational, and the Irish will seek their eighth tournament championship on Sunday. It will be a matchup with the alma mater of current ND head coach Debbie Brown, who also served as the Sun Devils' head coach for six years prior to taking her current post. Notre Dame has never defeated Arizona State in three all-time matches, though Brown was coaching the Devils in two of those. ASU stands 1-3 on the season after losing in three games to Texas on Friday.
Notre Dame (2-0) 30-31-28-22-15 #11 Texas (1-1) 21-29-30-30-10