Oct. 9, 2005
STORRS, Conn. - Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) orchestrated a strong offensive effort, as the 10th-ranked University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team (14-1, 5-0 BIG EAST) won 30-20, 30-23, 30-23 against Connecticut (9-8, 2-3) Sunday afternoon in Gampel Pavilion. The Irish hit over .315 in every game and .355 for the match en route to their seventh consecutive victory.
Tarutis led an Irish attack that finished with 53 kills (17.67 per game) and made just 10 errors (no more than four in any game) for its second-highest hitting mark of the season. It was the best attack percentage in a BIG EAST match for Notre Dame since Oct. 24, 2004, when the Irish hit .356 against St. John's. The sophomore had 42 assists, the second-highest total of her career in a three-game affair, behind only the 46 she passed out in the upset of #6 Florida on Sept. 11. Tarutis also had three kills on four attempts (.500).
Her favorite target was senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), who had 16 kills on 29 attempts for a season-high .483 hitting mark. Senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) matched her season high for the second day in a row, ending up with 11 kills on 23 swings for a .348 attack percentage. Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) earned her fourth consecutive double-double after not having any prior to that point this season. She had 10 kills on .292 hitting to go with a team-high 11 digs.
Senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) had seven kills, while freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) added six on 12 errorless swings for a .500 hitting mark.
The Irish serve receiving unit again was strong, allowing just a single ace - on a ball that hit the net and trickled over - in three games. Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) led the way by taking 26 serves perfectly. She has now taken 234 consecutive serves without committing a reception error, a streak that dates back over seven matches to the third game on Sept. 25 against Seton Hall. Stasiuk took 21 serves perfectly, not committing a reception error for the third match in a row. The Irish have now surrendered just four aces over the last five matches, an average of 0.24 per game. For the season, ND has allowed just 40 aces in 54 games, an average of 0.74 per game. The Irish record for aces allowed per game is 0.94, done in 2003 in large part due to the efforts of Henican and Jessica Kinder (2000-03). Henican had 10 digs, as well, her 10th consecutive match with double figures in digs.
Cooper also led another strong serving performance for the Irish, who had seven aces and eight errors. The ND senior matched her career high with three service aces, and she did not make a service error. She also was in on five of Notre Dame's 10 blocks, as was Brewster.
Connecticut was led by Sade Chambers, who had 16 kills, and libero Julie Pickard, who finished with 11 digs.
Notre Dame has won 12 in a row against the Huskies and is now 15-1 in the all-time series. The Irish are 6-0 this season in matches on the opponent's home court.
The Irish are one of two teams still unbeaten in BIG EAST Conference action, along with #6 Louisville.
Notre Dame will return to action on Saturday, taking on DePaul at 2 p.m. (CDT) in the DePaul Athletic Center.
#10 Notre Dame (14-1, 5-0) 30-30-30 Connecticut (9-8, 2-3) 20-23-23