Sept. 11, 2004
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team (4-3) did not drop a game in winning a pair of matches Saturday in Mott Gym to claim the Cal Poly-Best Western Royal Oak Invitational championship. The Irish turned in their top performance of the young season in sweeping defending Big Sky Conference champion Sacramento State 30-16, 30-24, 30-28 in the morning before downing the tournament host, Cal Poly, 30-23, 30-24, 30-14 in the evening. Junior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was named the tournament MVP, while fellow junior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
Brewster finished the three-match Cal Poly Invite with 42 kills, an average of 3.82 per game, on a .372 hitting percentage. She also was in on 18 blocks (1.64 average) and scrambled for 28 digs (2.55), while serving up four aces (0.36). Kelbley had 44 kills (4.00) on .264 hitting to go with 10 blocks (0.91) and seven service aces (0.64).
The Irish offense was outstanding against the Hornets, registering 59 kills - an average of nearly 20 per game - on .311 hitting. Rookie setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) orchestrated Notre Dame's attack, finishing with 37 assists.
Notre Dame's defense was even more impressive, as Sacramento State hit just .116 for the match and did not post a game attack percentage better than .170. The Irish, who came into the weekend with a dig average of 16.29, finished with 80 digs, an average of just under 27 per game. Junior captain L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) paced the unit with a career-high 26 digs as the Irish libero. Henican's total was the second-most in a three-game match in school history. Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) also set a collegiate high in digs, with 17, while Tarutis had 10 to register her fourth double-double in five matches. Brewster also had a double-double, ending up with 11 digs. The Irish had 10 blocks, with Brewster's five leading the way.
Three Irish players turned in excellent hitting numbers. Kelbley had 15 kills on .364 hitting, while Brewster also had 15 kills on a .323 attack percentage. Freshman OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) added 14 kills on .458 hitting.
The Irish defense was the story in the nightcap, as Cal Poly hit just .044 and didn't hit the .150 mark in any game. In game three, the Mustangs managed just seven kills while committing 13 errors for a -.162 hitting mark.
Notre Dame finished with 47 digs and a dozen blocks, with Henican and Brewster again leading the charge. The libero finished with 17 digs, while Brewster was in on six blocks. Tarutis added nine digs and Stasiuk matched her season high by taking part in five blocks.
Brewster's hitting was lethal against the Mustangs, as she finished with 13 kills and no errors on 19 swings for a .684 percentage that matched her career best. Kelbley added 12 kills and also tied her career high with four service aces. Stasiuk had eight kills, while senior MB Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) added seven and freshman OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) notched six.
The Irish will return to action next weekend at the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C. Notre Dame will face Michigan State on Friday at 5 p.m. (EDT) before challenging two-time defending NCAA champion and current #1 USC on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Irish and the tournament host, South Carolina, will hook up on Sunday at 2 p.m. in a match that will be televised by College Sports Television as part of its "Sunday Night Spikes" series.